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With Wishnowsky on COVID list, 49ers try out two punters

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With the availability of punter Mitch Wishnowsky in question for the 49ers' crucial Week 17 game against the Houston Texans, the Niners on Tuesday auditioned two free agents to be ready to take his place.

The 49ers worked out free-agent punters Colby Wadman and lefty Jimmy Smith. 

Wishnowsky on Monday was placed on the NFL's reserve/COVID-19 list, becoming the first 49ers player to land on the list this season. Coach Kyle Shanahan said he was hopeful that Wishnowsky could get cleared in order to play Sunday against the Texans at Levi's Stadium.

"Those protocols to get back have eased up a little bit," Shanahan said on Monday. "I'm not sure exactly how, but I still believe he has got to get two negative tests, I believe.

"And it depends on where his symptoms are, so we'll hold out hope that he'll be able to punt for us on Sunday and kickoff and if not, we'll have someone else in here.”

Wadman, who played at UC Davis, appeared in 28 games over the 2018 and '19 seasons with the Denver Broncos. Wadman averaged 44.5 yards on 143 punts for the Broncos with a net average of 38.7 yards.

Smith, a rookie from the University of Cincinnati, went to training camp with the Tennessee Titans. He had just two punts during the preseason, averaging 47.5 yards with a net average of 42 yards. He averaged 43.6 yards during his four-year college career.

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Wishnowsky, whom the 49ers selected in the fourth round of the 2019 draft, also holds on field goal and extra points and shares kickoff duties with kicker Robbie Gould. He is averaging 45.5 yards on 51 punts this season with a strong net average of 41.7 yards. He's had five touchbacks and 19 punts inside the opponent's 20-yard line.


Wishnowsky was selected as the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September.

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