placeholder image

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

The door is open for 49ers kick returners

Chris Beno
Aug 17, 2023 at 9:00 AM--

Videos are auto-populated by an affiliate. This site has no control over the videos that appear above.
With a wrist injury sidelining WR Ray-Ray McCloud III for a while (although, there is hope that he could be ready around the start of the season), the door is open for his replacement in the kick-off and punt return positions on special teams. While no one wants to see any player get injured, it does provide an opportunity for players who may have been on the outside looking in who are fighting for a spot on the 53-man roster. Here's a quick list of players who could fill that void on special teams:

Rookie WR Ronnie Bell filled in for McCloud on a few kick returns Sunday in the 49ers' pre-season loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. According to ESPN, Bell had three returns for 53 yards, averaging 19 yards per attempt. His longest return was for 24 yards. Bell, however, shined as a WR in that game, leading the 49ers pass catches with 56 yards receiving on three catches. Given his production early on as a pass catcher, Bell is an interesting player to watch in not only the battle for special teams but for the #3 WR position.

Rookie CB D'Shawn Jamison out of the University of Texas is another player who shined on special teams this Sunday against the Raiders. Jamison had two kick-off returns for 37 yards, averaging 18.5 yards per attempt. Jamison looked explosive out there with his speed and vision. The 49ers have a lot of players fighting for a spot in the secondary, with the nickel corner position seemingly being the only one up for grabs. A role on special teams might be Jamison's best shot at cracking the 53-man roster.

Second-year WR Danny Gray is another option for a kick-returner. Gray is arguably the fastest player on the team, running a 4.33-second 40-yard dash at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine. Gray was originally brought in to complement then-rookie QB Trey Lance's big arm but has struggled to see the field early in his career. Gray was held out of the preseason opener against the Raiders due to soreness. It will be interesting to see if the 49ers give him a shot at kick or punt returns, given his ability as a gunner on special teams, where he has proven to be among the best. Gray is another player to keep an eye on for the #3 WR position as well. I'm sure the 49ers would prefer to see him grow as a receiver as opposed to staying as a role player.

With all of the off-season storylines following the 49ers, this is a great position battle to keep an eye given the fact that the door is open for a young player to make some moves.
  • Chris Beno
  • Written by:
    Coming from Elk Grove, California I grew up a Bay Area sports fan. I've been cheering for the 49ers for as long as I can remember. In 2005 I joined the Army when I was 18 and got stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. I just kind of hung around here. I've always enjoyed writing and have typically focus on writing music. I am truly blessed to get to cover the 49ers, and have my articles published on the 49ers Webzone. I appreciate all of the Faithful that take the time to read the articles that myself and other contributors put out there. The 49ers have without a doubt the best fanbase, and best content creators around.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

Facebook Comments

More San Francisco 49ers News

placeholder image

49ers Notebook: Nine years later, 49ers get Thanksgiving revenge over Seahawks; Shanahan, Purdy discuss key throws vs. Seahawks; What happened to Christian McCaffrey's helmet?

By Kirk Larrabee
Nov 24

It took nine years, but the San Francisco 49ers finally got some payback on Thursday night for the Seattle Seahawks feasting on turkey after a win at Levi's Stadium in 2014. The Seahawks' 19-3 win over the 49ers on Thanksgiving in 2014 was the last time either team played on Thanksgiving before Thursday night, and after that game then-Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and cornerback Richard Sherman dug into the postgame turkey at the 50-yard line of Levi's Stadium at a time when the rivalry between the two teams was at a peak. The 49ers flipped the script on Thursday, notching a 31-13 win over the Seahawks at Lumen Field in Seattle that was followed by a slew of 49ers getting their fill of Thanksgiving turkey, courtesy of NBC. "That was a moment I'll remember

placeholder image

No Huddle Podcast: 49ers Thanksgiving Revenge And Philly Week

By Site Staff
Nov 27

(Episode 289) - Brian Renick is joined by Jason Aponte, the host of the Sprint Right Option podcast and also a Niners Nation contributor. The guys react to the Seahawks' win, the biggest takeaways on offense and defense, the NFC playoff picture, and Philly week! The audio for the show is embedded above. Don't forget to subscribe! You can listen to the latest "No Huddle Podcast" episode above, from our dedicated podcast page, on

placeholder image

49ers bring in familiar face for workout amidst roster injuries

By David Bonilla
Nov 27

The San Francisco 49ers are turning to a familiar face for a workout following injuries to two safeties, Talanoa Hufanga and George Odum. Hufanga suffered a torn ACL in Week 11, while Odum sustained a torn biceps on Thanksgiving. According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, veteran defensive back Anthony Averett will work out for the 49ers on Monday. Averett briefly joined San Francisco's roster during training camp in August but was released with an injury settlement on August 17. Veteran DB Anthony Averett is working out today for the

placeholder image

"It was a lot of boo hoos last year": Haason Reddick shares thoughts on 49ers-Eagles rematch

By David Bonilla
Nov 27

Whenever the San Francisco 49ers reflect on their NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles, they believe they didn't have a fair shot. Despite confidence in their game plan for last season's matchup, the game took an unexpected turn when quarterback Brock Purdy suffered a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his throwing arm early on. After the NFC title game loss, the 49ers expressed their confidence in the locker room, firmly believing that, at worst, the game would have been a much closer contest than the 31-7 defeat. RELATED: 49ers begin week as favorites against


Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone