Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports



San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Bruce Ellington was officially released by the team on Thursday morning. He had been with the team since being selected in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

The move was not unexpected. Ellington was buried on the depth chart at a position that possessed a lot of young competition. In addition to that, the 49ers added rookie receiver Tim Patrick and veteran Louis Murphy on Monday following an injury to undrafted rookie B.J. Johnson, who will spend the season on injured reserve after being waived and then going unclaimed.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan met with the media following Thursday's practice and explained the reason for Ellington's release.

"Bruce had done a good job with us," Shanahan said. "We had a bunch of guys who were very similar in their skill set. Kind of the same type of players and we had to get some different skill sets in. I thought, give Bruce a chance to go somewhere else. He handled everything great. He's been a great person here in the short time we've been with him.

"He came back and battled from some tough injuries and gave himself a chance to go for a week, but you know we're a little too loaded at that spot. So, we wanted to get some different guys in here with some different skill sets and mix up the group a little bit."

Shanahan was asked what he meant by "different skill sets."

"You want fast guys. You want quick guys. You want tall guys," Shanahan answered. "You want guys with great hands. Guys who are quick. Guys who can just flat-out run. Different types of abilities to use on certain plays. I thought we were a little front-loaded with some more inside receivers with the slot-type position. We had a little bit of a backup there. Trying to get some other guys to play a little bit more on the outside."

Ellington, who missed the entire 2016 season with a torn hamstring, has had issues staying healthy over his NFL career.