The San Francisco 49ers will be without a key piece of their defense for the next month.
Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, who left Sunday’s victory the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second half, has a sprained foot that’s expected to keep him out until late October, Kyle Shanahan said Monday.
Witherspoon was an important member of the rejuvenated defense during San Francisco’s 3-0 start. He allowed three catches on 14 targets and registered a pick-six that sealed the victory Week 1 in Tampa Bay. Quarterbacks had a minuscule 9.8 passer rating when throwing in his direction through three games.
The 49ers in Witherspoon’s place are expected to play Emmanuel Moseley, 23, who’s in his second season after going undrafted out of Tennessee.
Moseley wasn’t the first choice to replace Witherspoon in Sunday’s win. Veteran Jason Verrett subbed for Witherspoon in the fourth quarter, but was replaced by Moseley after just one series. Verrett was called for a long pass interference penalty before allowing a 39-yard touchdown to receiver Diontae Johnson.
The 49ers will have practices this week during their bye week before their next game on Monday night, October 7, against the Cleveland Browns. Shanahan said Moseley and Verrett will compete during practice to play right cornerback in Witherspoon’s absence.