Garrett Celek

49ers To Activate TE Garrett Celek

With George Kittle doubtful to face the Seahawks, the 49ers will add a reinforcement. They are activating veteran Garrett Celek from the PUP list, Matt Barrows of The Athletic tweets.

Celek has spent months recovering from a back injury and returned to practice last week. While the 49ers’ previous stance was to give Celek multiple weeks of practice before activating him, they are evidently satisfied by his progress.

This points to Kittle missing tonight’s game. To make room for Celek’s return, the 49ers waived cornerback Dontae Johnson. Celek joins Kittle, Levine Toilolo and Ross Dwelley as San Francisco’s active-roster tight ends. Kittle is battling ankle and knee injuries.

The 49ers’ longest-tenured skill-position player, Celek underwent back surgery in June. He has been with the team since 2012 and is still tethered to an extension he signed in 2016. The 31-year-old tight end only caught five passes last season, that limited work coming after his 2016-17 slates produced a combined 50 receptions for 686 yards and seven touchdowns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Rumors: 49ers, Cooks, Gordon

The 49ers (and certain fantasy owners) may well have to make other plans at tight end this week. George Kittle drew a doubtful designation for San Francisco’s pivotal Week 10 game against Seattle. The All-Pro candidate is battling knee and ankle injuries, and although he played eight games with torn rib cartilage last season, Kittle is likelier than not to miss the nationally televised game. Levine Toilolo and second-year UDFA Ross Dwelley reside as the other tight ends on the 49ers’ roster.

Veteran Garrett Celek could be activated from the PUP list, however. Celek has been dealing with a back injury for months but returned to practice this week, per ESPN.com’s Nick Wagoner (on Twitter). While the 49ers are not against activating Celek for Monday, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes (subscription required) the team would prefer he go through multiple practice weeks before debuting this season. Dwelley and Toilolo have combined to catch nine passes for 38 yards this season.

Here is the more from San Francisco and the latest from the NFC West:

  • In more promising 49ers injury news, the 49ers may get both of their tackles back this week. With Joe Staley expected to return this week, Mike McGlinchey may join him. The second-year right tackle worked in three limited practices this week. He has been out since Week 5 due to arthroscopic knee surgery. Staley also participated in three limited practices this week. Despite both of San Francisco’s tackles being out for much of the season, the 49ers’ run game ranks second in the NFL.
  • The team’s Chase McLaughlin acquisition will likely lead to game work. Robbie Gould joins Kittle in being given a doubtful status. Gould, who has not missed a game since his 49ers tenure began in 2017, is dealing with a quad injury.
  • In advance of the Rams‘ road assignment against the Steelers, Brandin Cooks has spent time in Pittsburgh because of concussion trouble. Cooks has made multiple trips to Pittsburgh to meet with doctors over the past two weeks, Omar Ruiz of USA Today tweets. The Rams wide receiver remains in concussion protocol and is out for Sunday’s game. Cooks has suffered two concussions this season, one in 2018 and one in Super Bowl LII. The 26-year-old receiver is not considering retirement and still wants to return this season (Instagram link).
  • Josh Gordon‘s Seahawks debut is likely set for Monday night. Despite being on the Patriots’ IR list to start last week, Gordon was not listed on the Seahawks’ injury report. Pete Carroll said there’s a “good chance” the recent waiver pickup plays against the 49ers, per Brady Henderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The former All-Pro played in six Patriots games, catching 20 passes for 287 yards and a touchdown.

49ers Promote Elijah Lee

The 49ers promoted linebacker Elijah Lee on Tuesday, per a club announcement. He’ll help fill the void following Kwon Alexander‘s season-ending pectoral tear. 

Meanwhile, the Niners also opened the 21-day practice window for tight end Garrett Celek. Celek started the year on the PUP list after back surgery, but he’s ready to pitch in for the second half of the season. Celek appeared in 15 games last year, hauling in five receptions for 90 yards and two touchdowns. He’s scheduled for free agency after the season – and his four-year, $14MM deal – is through.

Lee has 69 tackles, two forced fumbles, and one sack across 30 games for the 49ers over the last two years. He’ll look to add to those totals on Monday night when the Niners take on the Seahawks in SF.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Falcons, Garoppolo, 49ers, Vikings

Falcons first-round offensive lineman Kaleb McGary is set to resume on-field activities after undergoing a cardiac ablation procedure at the beginning of the preseason. After the lineman missed his team’s first three preseason games, coach Dan Quinn made it clear that they’ll bring the rookie along slowly.

“The first part is, like today, participating in the walkthrough,” Quinn told Will McFadden of the team’s website. “And then he’ll get a good bit of the field work with Marty [Lauzon] and the athletic performance staff. And then once that’s good, we’ll be out a couple of weeks, make sure the conditioning is right. And then back into individual [drills], and then you get back into team [drills]. So we really stay strict to the policy we put into place for the guys to return to it. We just don’t back off of it, especially if you’ve been out for, in his case, two weeks.

“It’s a good sign that he had such a good report. But, like all players, we’re going to do the right thing and make sure nothing comes up.”

McFadden notes that the rookie was working with the second team during the early parts of preseason, but he was expected to emerge as the Falcons’ starting right tackle.

Some more notes from around the NFC:

  • Jimmy Garoppolo is coming off a torn ACL that shelved him for the 2018 campaign, but the 49ers organization is optimistic about his return. “I think what’s important, all the time, is you look at the totality of a camp and I think he’s had a really good camp, I really do,” general manager John Lynch said, via Jennifer Lee Chan of NBCSportsBayArea.com. “I think the best thing for all of us is that is, I get hesitant and reluctant to say it, but is his recovery from his knee has been flawless.” The quarterback struggled during his preseason debut this evening, completing one of his six passes and tossing an interception.
  • 49ers tight end Garrett Celek is currently on the PUP, and Matt Maiocco of NBCSportsBayArea.com writes that the 31-year-old will be sidelined “well into the regular season” as he recovers from back surgery. Celek appeared in 15 games last season, hauling in five receptions for 90 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Vikings coach Mike Zimmer explained some of his logic as he settles on a 53-man roster. “I don’t know that we’re real deep in the secondary,” Zimmer said (via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Twitter). “So that might lend itself (to an extra LB). May keep an extra defensive lineman, less in the secondary and maybe keep one less running back. It all will work out.” When it comes to special teams, Tomasson believes the organization will ultimately opt for kicker Dan Bailey and punter Kaare Vedvik.

West Rumors: Miller, Celek, 49ers, RBs

Von Miller turned 30 this offseason and will soon start his ninth NFL season, but it doesn’t look like the Broncos will need to consider making plans for a near-future Miller retirement. Denver’s all-time sack leader said (via USA Today’s Lila Bromberg) he wants to play long enough to make a run at Bruce Smith‘s NFL record. That will be quite difficult, with Miller (98 sacks) having averaged 12.25 sacks per season (a figure weighed down by his 2013 suspension-shortened slate) and Smith having recorded 200 during his 19-year career. Miller would need to average 10.2 sacks over the next 10 seasons to get there. However, Miller sits second among active NFLers in sacks — trailing only Terrell Suggs (132). While the odds are against him eclipsing the Smith standard that has stood for 16 years, it is notable the likely Hall of Fame-bound pass rusher plans on playing for several more seasons. Three seasons remain on Miller’s six-year, $114.1MM contract.

Here’s the latest from the West divisions, shifting to the NFC West:

  • The back surgery 49ers tight end Garrett Celek underwent this month features an approximate two-month recovery timetable, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area notes, adding that it no longer appears certain the 31-year-old skill-position cog will be able to continue his career. Celek ended last season in concussion protocol, where he remains for procedural purposes, and the extension he signed in 2016 has just one more season remaining on it. The 49ers prepared for this possibility by signing Levine Toilolo, drafting Kaden Smith in the sixth round and adding Wyoming product Tyree Mayfield as a UDFA.
  • Tevin Coleman‘s history with Kyle Shanahan, and the time Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida missed this offsason, makes him the best bet to be San Francisco’s top back, Maiocco writes. McKinnon is expected to return for the start of training camp, but it has been a while since the former Vikings running back — who received $18MM guaranteed in 2018 — has played. The 49ers will likely make one of these players a healthy scratch on game days, with Maiocco adding the presences of Kyle Juszczyk and top special-teamer Raheem Mostert will force Shanahan to deactivate one of his top three backs. This situation bears monitoring during the preseason, as it would seem a trade could benefit the 49ers.
  • Robert Nkemdiche‘s recent arrest may spell the end of his underwhelming Cardinals stay.
  • More clarity emerged on the Todd Gurley front, but the two-time All-Pro Rams running back’s situation figures to remain murky until we near the regular season.

Bay Area Notes: Joseph, Joyner, McGlinchey

Given Jon Gruden‘s moves involving several other Reggie McKenzie-era high draft picks, and the Raiders‘ decisions this spring, it would appear Karl Joseph is not in the team’s long-term plans. The Raiders, who benched Joseph to start last season, did not pick up his fifth-year option and proceeded to sign Lamarcus Joyner before drafting Johnathan Abram in the first round. Nevertheless, Joseph is not planning (at least publicly) for a 2020 free agency foray.

Obviously I want to be here, I’ve expressed that already with Coach Gruden and (Mike) Mayock,” Joseph said, via Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. “I want to be a Raider for life, but at the end of the day, I have to take care of my business on the field. I’m not focused on the contract. That stuff will take care of itself.”

Among McKenzie’s first-round picks, only Joseph and 2017 first-rounder Gareon Conley remain Raiders. Despite starting in just eight games last season, the 2016 first-round pick graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 23 overall safety (in just 509 snaps) and worked alongside Abram in Oakland’s starting lineup at minicamp. Erik Harris is working as a backup, per Bair.

Here is the latest out of northern California:

  • As for Joyner, the Raiders are following through on their spring talk of playing him as a slot corner. The player the Rams used as a safety starter the past two years worked exclusively as a slot defender during the minicamp and OTA sessions available to the media, Bair notes. The Raiders gave Joyner a four-year, $42MM contract. If they intend to confine him to slot duty, this would make him the league’s highest-paid pure slot corner — a distinction Kenny Moore was believed to hold when he signed a Colts extension this week. Joyner worked as a corner for the Rams from 2014-16 and would join Trent Brown as recent Raiders signees asked to change positions.
  • Mike McGlinchey sustained a knee injury that required a recent procedure. The 49ers‘ right tackle starter did not participate in minicamp, instead receiving platelet-rich plasma injections on a knee he recently injured, Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. McGlinchey, who started 16 games for the 49ers last season, is expected to be ready for training camp.
  • Garrett Celek has more significant issues to surmount. In addition to remaining in concussion protocol, the veteran 49ers tight end will need back surgery, Kyle Shanahan said. The seventh-year tight end may well miss the start of training camp, per Chan. This would point to Celek’s back problem being rather minor. As for his concussion concern: Celek, who saw a head injury end his 2018 season, remains in the protocol because the next time he can take a concussion test will be training camp. But he’s certainly not out of the woods on the injury front.

Bay Area Rumors: Breida, 49ers, Raiders

Many 49ers are not healthy as the team goes through its OTAs. In addition to the likes of Jerick McKinnon, Weston Richburg, Jason Verrett and Kwon Alexander, the team lost one of its running backs because of a weightlifting injury. The 49ers will not have Matt Breida available until at least training camp. The running back, who battled maladies last season before ending the year on IR, suffered a partially torn pectoral muscle while lifting recently, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. San Francisco is already without McKinnon and backup Raheem Mostert, who is battling for a roster spot now that the team employs Tevin Coleman. While torn pectorals of any kind are obviously a concern, Kyle Shanahan said Breida will not require surgery. But the 49ers’ optimal backfield still has a ways to go before coming together.

Here is the latest from the NFL’s Bay Area teams, in their final offseason sharing a region.

  • While Breida is expected to return before the start of the regular season, Garrett Celek‘s timeline is more concerning. The eighth-year 49ers tight end suffered a concussion in Week 16 last season and has yet to be cleared from concussion protocol, according to Shanahan. Celek is also dealing with a back injury. The soon-to-be 31-year-old tight end resides as the 49ers’ second-longest-tenured player, having been with the team since 2012. The 49ers did draft Kaden Smith in the sixth round but, beyond Celek, do not have much at tight end behind George Kittle.
  • Jimmie Ward‘s injury likely will not keep him out for the rumored three-month span, with Maiocco believing that to be on the cautious side of the safety’s timeline. Should they get Ward back by training camp, the 49ers are not likely to sign a veteran safety — like Eric Berry or Tre Boston — to replace Ward, Maiocco adds. Although Ward is back on only a one-year deal, the 49ers believe he is their best defensive back when healthy. On a team that employs Richard Sherman, that’s certainly a notable distinction.
  • The Jon GrudenMike Mayock regime reshuffled their front office and scouting staff recently. The roles of recently hired staffers Dwayne Joseph, DuJuan Daniels and Walter Juliff are now known. Daniels, who joined the Raiders after a Patriots tenure, is now Mayock’s assistant director of player personnel. Joseph, who came over from the Eagles, will become the Raiders’ director of pro personnel. A former Cowboys exec, Juliff is now a senior advisor to the GM, NBC Sports Bay Area’s Scott Bair tweets. Recently with the Senior Bowl and the Bills, Jack Gilmore is now in place as Raiders scouting coordinator. The Raiders also hired recent Eagles scouting coordinator John Hill as a pro scout. Lastly, Oakland promoted Trey Scott and Teddy Atlas (not that one) to assistant player personnel director and assistant director of college scouting, respectively. Scott was one of the few staffers to help with the Raiders’ draft, after Mayock dismissed the scouts prior to draft weekend.

49ers Sign Garrett Celek To Extension

FEBRUARY 23: The 49ers have finalized a four-year extension for Celek, locking him up through the 2019 season, the team confirmed today in a press release. Per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter), the four-year pact is worth $14MM, with nearly $5MM in guaranteed money.Garrett Celek (vertical)

“Since Garrett entered the league as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2012, he has displayed the skill, work ethic and desire to compete at a high level in the National Football League,” 49ers GM Trent Baalke said in a statement. “His commitment and determination to succeed are reflected in the way he conducts himself as a professional on and off the field. As an organization, we would like to congratulate Garrett and look forward to his continued development as a member of this organization.”

FEBRUARY 17: The 49ers and tight end Garrett Celek are close to finalizing a long-term deal, a source tells Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Celek was slated to hit free agency in early March.

[RELATED: Anquan Boldin’s Contract Has Voided]

Celek, 27, played in 11 games last year (eight starts) and hauled in 19 catches for 186 yards and three touchdowns. Celek played 39% of the 49ers’ offensive snaps and 19% of their special teams plays before suffering a high-ankle sprain late in the season. That injury caused him to miss the final five games of the year but he’ll be 100% when training camp gets underway.

Celek is the younger brother of Eagles tight end Brent Celek. Interestingly, Chip Kelly is now going from coaching one member of the Celek family to another.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers Place Garrett Celek On IR, Re-Sign Skov

Garrett Celek‘s season, and possibly his time with the 49ers, has come to an early end, with the team announcing today that it has placed him on injured reserve, ending his season. Taking Celek’s place on the 53-man roster is Shayne Skov, who was cut just three days ago and has now re-signed a new two-year contract with the Niners.

Celek, 27, established new career-highs across the board this season before he was sidelined by an ankle injury. The former undrafted free agent caught 19 balls for 186 yards and three touchdowns after not being a major part of the 49ers’ offense during his first three years with the team.

Having now played four seasons, Celek will be eligible for unrestricted free agency this winter, and could draw some interest from clubs besides the Niners after his solid showing in 2015.

As for Skov, he typically doesn’t see the field much for San Francisco, contributing almost exclusively on special teams. Barring injuries, he’ll likely continue in that role for the last few weeks of the 2015 season.

Injury Updates: Gronk, Pouncey, Carrington

In the wake of the Patriots‘ first loss last night, initial reports indicated that Rob Gronkowski‘s knee injury may not be as serious as it initially looked, and recent reports have continued to suggest as much. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link), the New England tight end is unlikely to miss more than one game, and perhaps won’t even miss any time. Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports tweets that the club’s initial diagnosis is a “relatively minor non-ACL sprain.”

Still, the results of Gronkowski’s MRI aren’t in yet, so the Patriots won’t breathe easy until they get confirmation of their initial diagnosis. For now though, it looks like the club may have avoided a worst-case scenario for the star tight end, since his reaction to the hit on his knee had most of us expecting a season-ending injury.

Let’s round up a few more injury updates from across the NFL….

  • Another AFC East injury not as serious as initially feared? Mike Pouncey‘s foot ailment, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). Rapoport tweets that the Dolphins center has a minor foot sprain, and that it’s not believed to be a Lisfranc injury. Still, the Dolphins are expected to search for help at center, per Salguero, who tweets that Samson Satele “should probably pick up the phone.”
  • The Bills didn’t get good news on defensive end Alex Carrington, who tore his quad tendon and is undergoing season-ending surgery today, according to Rapoport (Twitter link). It’s the latest blow to a Buffalo defensive line that was already missing Kyle Williams – who is out for the year – and Mario Williams on Sunday.
  • Rapoport also provides an update on Ben Roethlisberger, tweeting that, while the Steelers quarterback placed himself in the concussion protocol, he may not have suffered a concussion on Sunday, and could be cleared for Week 13.
  • 49ers tight end Garrett Celek is out indefinitely due to a high ankle sprain, writes Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. Celek, who has caught 19 balls for the team this year, went down with the injury in the first quarter of Sunday’s game against the Cardinals.