Elijah Mitchell‘s run of injuries continued with an MCL sprain. This is viewed as a rather severe MCL issue, with Kyle Shanahan expecting his starter to be out for around two months. As such, Mitchell landed on the 49ers’ IR list Tuesday.
The 49ers brought in several backs for auditions Tuesday. Old friend Tevin Coleman, Devonta Freeman, ex-Jet La’Mical Perine and ex-Lion Godwin Igwebuike came in for workouts, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Marlon Mack visited with the team, and this appears to be the direction it will go. The 49ers are signing Mack to their practice squad, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
This will be Mack’s first move out of the AFC South; the former fourth-round pick has spent his career with the Colts and Texans. Houston, however, did not keep the former 1,000-yard rusher on its 53-man roster out of training camp. The Texans cut Mack, in moving their roster to 53, and then released him from their practice squad.
Mack, 26, saw a September 2020 Achilles tear throw his career off track. The Colts turned to 2020 second-rounder Jonathan Taylor, and although they re-signed Mack in 2021, the latter did not see much action last season. The Colts discussed possible trades ahead of last year’s deadline, and the 49ers were one of the teams to express interest. But Mack played out his second Colts contract, residing behind Taylor and Nyheim Hines on the depth chart.
Mack signed his second straight one-year, $2MM deal this offseason, joining the Texans, but will come to San Francisco for P-squad money. Mack, who rushed for 55 yards against the 49ers in this year’s Texans preseason finale, totaled 2,099 rushing yards from 2018-19.
Freeman and Coleman, of course, teamed up as part of potent Falcons backfields during the 2010s. They split up in 2019, with Coleman signing with the 49ers. Freeman also played for Shanahan in Atlanta, being the team’s starting back during both of Shanahan’s OC seasons. Coleman signed a two-year 49ers deal in 2019 and played with ex-49ers assistant Mike LaFleur in New York last season. Perine’s Jets stint also overlapped with LaFleur’s.
For now, Mack is the 49ers’ choice. The sixth-year veteran joins a team rostering Jeff Wilson, third-round pick Tyrion Davis-Price and rookie Jordan Mason at running back. Wilson is expected to be the 49ers’ starter during Mitchell’s absence, and the 49ers played Mason — a UDFA out of Georgia Tech — over Davis-Price in their opener.