49ers sign Niles Paul to fill in for injured tight end Garrett Celek


SANTA CLARA – Tight end Niles Paul, who spent his first three seasons in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, signed with the 49ers on the opening day of training camp Friday.

The signings of Paul, a seven-year veteran, and center Dillon Day, who spent four seasons on NFL practice squads, the 49ers filled out their 90-man camp roster. The 49ers cut veteran defensive lineman Cedric Thornton in a corresponding roster move, the club announced.

Paul and Day fill positions of need for the 49ers to replace injured tight end Garrett Celek and center Weston Richburg during training camp. Celek will not be available until midway through the regular season after undergoing offseason back surgery.

Paul played his first five seasons with Washington, where Shanahan served as offensive coordinator under his father and head coach, Mike Shanahan. Paul is a blocking specialist whose best receiving season came in 2014 with 39 catches for 507 yards.

Paul joins a group of tight ends that already includes George Kittle, Kaden Smith, Ross Dwelley, Levine Toilolo.

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The club hopes Richburg will be available for the start of the regular season. Day most likely joins the 49ers for depth in training camp. Day, 27, has spent time with Denver, Indianapolis and Green Bay but has yet to appear in an NFL regular-season game.