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Deebo returns to 49ers practice, new long snapper arrives

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Deebo Samuel is back.

Well, at least the second-year wide receiver is eligible to return the 49ers’ practice field after the club opened the practice window for him. The 49ers on Wednesday begin on-field preparations to face the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football at Levi’s Stadium.

Prior to taking the practice field, the 49ers announced some roster moves, including the signing of long snapper Taybor Pepper. The 49ers waived veteran long-snapper Kyle Nelson, who had five bad snaps in Sunday's game.

Nelson had been the team's primary long-snapper since 2014.

The club signed tight end Daniel Helm off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' practice squad and placed linebacker Mark Nzeocha on injured reserve with a quadriceps injury.

The 49ers made two signings to the practice squad, adding offensive lineman Cody Conway and tight end Charlie Taumoepeau. The 49ers released offensive lineman William Sweet from the practice squad.

Tight end Jordan Reed and defensive end Dee Ford are expected to go on injured reserve this week. Reed is expected to miss six to eight weeks with a knee sprain. Ford has missed the past two games with a back condition.

Helm spent most of last season on the 49ers' practice squad and was promoted to the 53-man roster in December. He did not appear in a game. The 49ers waived Helm in August after signing veteran wide receivers Tavon Austin and J.J. Nelson.

Samuel, whom is expected to be the club’s No. 1 receiver when he gets back to top form, sustained a broken left foot during a players-organized workout in Nashville in June.


He had surgery and was placed on the non-football injury list when he reported to training camp this summer.

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Upon the 49ers’ movement from their 80-man roster to 53 players for the start of the season, Samuel was activated off the NFI list. Then, he went on injured reserve, making him ineligible for the first three games of the season.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said on Monday the team’s plan is to watch Samuel in practices on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before making any decision whether to have him in uniform to face the Eagles.

When Samuel returns to action, he will join a 49ers group of wide receivers that includes Kendrick Bourne, rookie Brandon Aiyuk and slot receiver Trent Taylor. Aiyuk, like Samuel, is capable of running routes at every depth, as well as taking handoffs on jet sweeps.

As a rookie last season, Samuel caught 57 passes for 802 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 159 yards and three touchdowns on 14 attempts.

Samuel added another 10 catches for 127 yards in the postseason. He gained 53 yards on three carries to set the Super Bowl record for most rushing yards from a wide receiver.