Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

49ers officially sign WR Mohamed Sanu, place Richie James on injured reserve

Sep 18, 2020 at 12:12 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers officially announced the signing of wide receiver Mohamed Sanu Friday, while placing wide receiver Richie James on injured reserve due to a hamstring injury.

Sanu, 31, is in his ninth NFL season after being selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft out of Rutgers. Sanu spent four seasons with the Bengals before moving on to the Atlanta Falcons in 2016, where he remained until being traded to the New England Patriots in 2019. Sanu became a free agent after being released by the Patriots on September 3.

The addition of Sanu (6-2, 215) boosts a depleted 49ers receiving corps that in addition to James is dealing with injuries to Deebo Samuel (foot), Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring), Tavon Austin (knee), and Jalen Hurd (torn ACL). Sanu, who has 403 career catches for 4,507 yards and 26 touchdowns, spent his first season with the Falcons when current 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was with the team as an offensive coordinator.

Even though Shanahan's offense isn't exactly what it was when he coached Sanu, there remains a level of familiarity that should help Sanu step in and contribute quickly.

"Right now, our offense is different than it was there," Shanahan told reporters Wednesday, per "Our personnel is different than what it was there. You never fit someone in the exact same way when it's a different team, different people, different scheme. You fit him in the best way that he can to help our team. We've had some pretty unfortunate luck here with the injuries with receivers. We know we're going to get a number of them back eventually this year, but no, bringing in Mo and having someone like him available right now is just, we feel very fortunate of it because he can come in and do whatever we ask him to do.

"He's very smart. He knows all the positions. The thing about Mo that I enjoy the most is how tough he is, how competitive he is, the game's not too big for him. If he showed up on Sunday and we needed him, I know he'll go in there and fight and compete. That's why it's good to have a guy like that ready if need be."

Sanu will wear No. 14 for the 49ers and was practicing with the team Friday, as tweeted by beat reporter David Lombardi of The Athletic. Sanu had to pass a series of COVID-19 tests before being cleared to practice with the team.

News of Sanu joining the 49ers first surfaced earlier in the week when it was announced via Twitter by his agent, Mike McCartney. Tom Pelissero of NFL Media reports Sanu's deal will be worth around $1.125 million for one year, with a $137,500 signing bonus, half of which will be distributed now and half after five weeks. James, who sustained his injury during Sunday's season opener against the Arizona Cardinals, is eligible to return from injured reserve after Week 4.

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