The 49ers averted several injury scares during the preseason, but the team wasn’t so lucky with outside linebacker Parys Haralson. Last year’s starter was placed on injured reserve Monday with an arm injury.
If the 49ers had waited until this afternoon, they could have possibly gotten Haralson back for the second half of the season under new NFL rules. However, the 49ers elected not to do that.
Haralson, a fifth-year starter, lost his job to the emerging Aldon Smith this year. However, Haralson was likely to get plenty of playing time spelling Smith and Ahmad Brooks. Haralson was also on several special teams units.
Without him, the 49ers signed Clark Haggans, the former Steeler and Cardinal to a one-year deal. But the 35-year-old Haggans might have to serve a three-game suspension at some point stemming from a 2011 DUI conviction.
Haggans was released by the Arizona Cardinals on Friday, and now he becomes the 49ers’ oldest non-specialist. Haggans will have a conference call Wednesday with the NFL to discuss his status.
Should Haggans be forced to miss time, the 49ers have other options. On the cutdown to 53 players, they released seventh-round rookie Cam Johnson and veteran Eric Bakhtiari. Johnson spent most of the offseason program and training camp nursing a knee injury. He did return in the 49ers’ final preseason game.
Meanwhile, Bakhtiari ended the preseason as the 49ers’ leading tackler with 15 stops and 2½ sacks.
The 49ers could try to get along with just two outside linebackers if Haggans has to serve his suspension. Inside linebacker Larry Grant started for the Rams at outside linebacker in 2010. On passing downs, Demarcus Dobbs could fill in as a pass-rush defensive end.