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SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

Coverage of the San Francisco 49ers

Kassim Osgood Facing Numbers Game with 49ers

With so many strong receivers, it may be hard for special teams standout to earn a spot on 2014 roster

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    Special teams standout Kassim Osgood (No. 14) had a fine season for the 49ers in 2013. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

    Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin are in, of course. That’s two.

    So are veteran Stevie Johnson and draft pick Bruce Ellington.  That would be four.

    Then there are second-year man Quinton Patton and veteran free agent Brandon Lloyd. That would make six.

    And six wide receivers is pretty much the limit for an NFL team to carry.

    So as the 49ers prepare for their third exhibition game Sunday against the Chargers en route to the regular-season opener Sept. 7 in Dallas, where does that leave Kassim Osgood?

    Right now, it would seem that Osgood – one of the best special teams players in the NFL – is in danger of not making the 49ers' 53-man roster.

    Osgood, who had an outstanding season for San Francisco in 2013, re-signed with the Niners in March for one year.

    His addition made a big difference on special teams last season. He’s terrific on covering punts and kickoffs. In 2013, the former Pro Bowl special teamer had 12 special teams tackles, recovered a muffed punt for a touchdown and blocked a punt.

    But Osgood’s listed position is wide receiver – though he just had one catch last season for 17 yards.

    Can the 49ers afford to keep him on the 53-man roster? Or, can they afford not to, knowing what an impact he made last season?

    In his most recent projection of the team’s opening-day roster, Bill Williamson of ESPN.com listed Boldin, Crabtree, Johnnson, Lloyd, Ellington and Patton as making the team – but not Osgood. Also on the outs would be receivers David Reed, Devon Wylie, L’Damian Washington and Lance Lewis.

    “The 49ers are so much deeper here this season than last,” wrote Williamson. “That means they will likely have to keep six receivers. Lloyd might look good and Patton has too much potential to give up on. That means it could be tough for Kassim Osgood to make it, even though he is a special teams cog.”

    Still, with two games to go this month, the 49ers aren’t making any decisions yet. And head coach Jim Harbaugh is content to let things play out.

    Recently, Harbaugh talked about the consistent, strong work put in on special teams by players such as Osgood and cornerback Darryl Morris.

    “They’re all fighting for those jobs, they like their jobs,” he said. “And then vice versa, young football player, rookie football player, somebody trying to make the team – David Reed – they’ve got to go take another man’s job away from them, and that’s powerful motivation. And then you have the player that really likes that job, and these guys do, they really like their jobs and they want to keep them. …. It’s iron sharpening iron, it’s constantly pushing each other higher.”

    That might be good for the 49ers, but not so good for Osgood.

    Last season, Osgood didn’t make the 53-man cut, but was re-signed soon after. But last year’s wide receiver corps was significantly weaker and thinner.

    With two weeks left in the preseason, it appears Osgood’s path to opening day is significantly rockier.