There’s still no guarantee Kassim Osgood will be on the field Sept. 7 for the season-opening game vs. the Cowboys in Dallas.
But after Thursday night’s final exhibition game, the writing seems to be on the wall that the special teams standout will be a 49er for a second straight year.
Osgood, who seemingly was without a job going into training camp with a much deeper and more talented crew of wideouts fighting for jobs, was given a game ball by head coach Jim Harbaugh after the victory over the Texans Thursday night.
The three-time Pro Bowl special teams player and backup wide receiver blocked a punt for a safety against the Texans and has played hard and well throughout camp and the preseason games.
“It’s good to go out with a bang,” Osgood told Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle after Thursday night’s victory. “I’m trying to make any play I can to be on that 53-man roster. It’s a good deal to get a game ball.”
For most of training camp, the numbers seemed stacked against Osgood. Wide receivers Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree and Stevie Johnson were locks to make the roster, and second-year pro Quinton Patton and rookie Bruce Ellington have also played very well. The curveball thrown at Osgood was veteran free agent Brandon Lloyd, who was signed by the 49ers this spring after a year away from the NFL and looked excellent early in camp. But when Lloyd’s playing time diminished because of an injury, Osgood’s continued excellent play and track record appear to have won him a roster spot.
When Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com published his projected 53-man roster Friday morning after the Houston game, he placed Osgood among the six wideouts on the team, adding: “For now, Osgood and his special teams play seemingly put an end to Brandon Lloyd’s comeback.”
That should be good news for 49ers special teams, which were much improved in 2013 in part because of the addition of Osgood, who excels at covering kickoffs and punts.
Osgood obviously was excited by his performance and the way the 49ers played in their last warm-up before the regular-season opener, posting on Twitter: “It was a fun game!!”
It will be even more fun Saturday if he gets the thumbs up from Harbaugh about making the team.