Veteran running back Alfonso Smith, who spent the offseason with the 49ers and was among the team's final cuts, will return to the roster, Smith's agent said via Twitter.
The 49ers have had just two tailbacks on the roster since LaMichael James was released in September. They have not had a need for three to this point, but the team started to steer back toward a more run-oriented game plan Sunday in New Orleans. Another factor: receiver Bruce Ellington has been the team's de facto No. 3 running back, and he is sidelined temporarily with a sprained ankle.
Smith, 27, also is a special teams standout. Some of the players expected to be added to the roster this week, Aldon Smith and perhaps Glenn Dorsey, do not play on the coverage or return units. Alfonso Smith spent the first four seasons of his career with the Cardinals where he rushed 48 times for 156 yards with two touchdowns.
It is not yet known how the 49ers will clear roster space for the incoming players.
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Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.