San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said on Sunday the team has been talking with free agent cornberback Eric Wright about signing him to a contract. The 49ers defense is in need of finding a replacement at cornerback after Chris Culliver suffered a season-ending knee injury last week.
The 49ers traded for Wright last month; however, he failed his physical with San Francisco, which voided the transaction with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Since then, Wright was released and he has not signed on with another team. After Culliver went down with a knee injury at Thursday’s practice, Wright now has another chance to join the Niners.
On Sunday, Harbaugh said, “I believe so,” when asked if the 49ers were having any contract talks with Wright. As much as the Niners want/need Wright, he still must pass a physical first in order to sign with the team.
According to a tweet from Kevin Lynch of SFGate.com, Wright still cannot pass a physical:
According to a source, cornerback Eric Wright is not healthy enough to sign. #49ers will meet with doctors next week about his status.
— Kevin Lynch (@klynch49) August 4, 2013
One reason for Wright’s failed physical is he has not played in an NFL game since November 18, Week 11 of last season. He suffered an Achilles injury on October 25 against the Minnesota Vikings, in Week 8, which limited his playing time over next three games. His season ended on November 27, after he was suspended for four games because of a violation of the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
Brining in Wright will help with replacing Culliver in the secondary. But there will still be added pressure on cornerbacks Tarell Brown, Carlos Rogers, Nnamdi Asomugha and Tramaine Brock to step up in Culliver’s absence.
What Wright cannot replace is Culliver’s presence this season on special teams. Last season, Culliver was one of the best gunner’s in the NFL on punts. In his rookie year in 2011, he was utilized as a cover man on the kickoff team, where he made five special teams tackles.