SANTA CLARA — Veteran cornerback Janoris “Jackrabbit” Jenkins stormed out of the 49ers’ practice squad two weeks ago and was called up to his team’s division-deciding victory.
Coach Kyle Shanahan said Jenkins isn’t likely to join the starting lineup heading into the postseason, but he could still contribute in the uniform.
“He has a chance,” Shanahan said. “I think we have a starter, but there’s a chance he’ll be in that rotation and in the group and be the next guy.”
Jenkins, 34, has played 11 years in the NFL and has made 138 regular-season starts. The 49ers signed him to their practice team on November 28th.
According to Shanahan, Charvarius Ward and Deomodore Lenoir are established cornerbacks for the 49ers.
Jenkins was needed on December 15 when the 49ers played the Seattle Seahawks. He was promoted from the practice team and backup cornerback Sam Womack made his season debut with a concussion.
When Ward was sent off with a concussion during the match, Jenkins took action to end the match. He was on the field for 14 defensive snaps and 14 specials to play for his team in his 49ers’ 21-13 victory over the Seahawks.
Seattle quarterback Genno Smith targeted Jenkins twice for pass coverage. He gave up a 9-yard catch to DK Metcalf and a 13-yard catch to tight end Will Disley.
Shanahan said of Jenkins, “I’ve been impressed with how he’s been here since he joined the company. I’m very happy to have him. There is no doubt that it will be an option in
Jenkins hasn’t been fit for the game since the night in Seattle. Womack and Ambry Thomas act as backups, while Jenkins remains on standby.
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49ers defensive coordinator Demeko Lyons said, “When it comes to Jackrabbit, he’s a veteran who’s played a lot of balls and is learning with our system.” And I’ve been practicing very well over the last few weeks.
“And he’s ready to roll if we need to wake him up.”
Jenkins could be promoted from the practice squad for Sunday’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders, while Thomas is listed as suspect due to an ankle injury and illness.
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