The 49ers have designated linebacker Dekoda Watson to return from injured reserve, according to Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
Watson was placed on injured reserve in September after initially being carried through to the 49ers’ initial 53-man roster. NFL rules stipulate that any player who returns from IR must have been on his club’s original 53-man roster, and also mandates a minimum eight-week absence. Watson returned to practice today, opening a three-week window during which San Francisco must decide whether to activate the veteran ‘backer or leave him on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.
Watson, 30, has bounced around the league since being selected in the seventh round of the 2010 draft, spending time with the Buccaneers, Jaguars, Cowboys, Patriots, and Broncos before joining the 49ers on a three-year, $10MM contract prior to the 2017 campaign. Last season, Watson played only 88 snaps on defense but was a key asset on special teams, where he saw 72% playtime and managed four tackles.
If he does return this year, it’s difficult to see Watson getting much action on defense, where Reuben Foster and Fred Warner play the majority of snaps for San Francisco. But he could join Malcolm Smith, Mark Nzeocha, and Elijah Lee as reserves while contributing on special teams, where the 49ers currently rank as a bottom-three unit in DVOA.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.