San Francisco 49ers

LaMichael James goes unclaimed on waivers

Running back LaMichael James, who was granted his release by the 49ers on Monday, went unclaimed on waivers Tuesday. That makes James, a second-round draft pick for the 49ers in 2012, a free agent.

James had been the team’s No. 3 option at tailback and No. 2 option at punt returner. The 49ers have just two tailbacks on the 53-man roster and have made no indication whether they will add another. Running back Kendall Gaskins is on their practice squad, and they can add him to the 53-man roster at any point this week.

The team also could move Marcus Lattimore from the non-football injury list to the active roster after Week 6.

James played well when filling in for injured Kendall Hunter late in 2012 but had been seldom-used since then and had suffered an injury in each of his three offseasons with the 49ers. He was clearly behind No. 2 running back Carlos Hyde, who had an impressive debut in Dallas in averaging 7.1 yards a carry. Another rookie, Bruce Ellington, handled punt returns.

Hyde is listed as the backup kick returner on the team’s revised depth chart; Perrish Cox is the backup punt returner.

Any team that had claimed James would have had to have picked up the remaining two years of his rookie contract, which averaged $717,000 per season.

Wrote James on Twitter: “Football is a sport I love but it definitely doesn't define me as a person I have so many things in life to be thankful for.”

Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers .

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