SANTA CLARA -- The Ravens had to swoop in to sign Shareece Wright to a contract because the ex-49ers cornerback was about to join -- and this should come as no surprise -- the Seattle Seahawks.
The Ravens had one of their cornerbacks, Jimmy Smith, who was high-school teammates with Wright, place a call and make a pitch to get him to go to Baltimore instead of Seattle.
"They told me they were trying to pick him up and (asked me) to give him a call because he was leaning towards going to the Seahawks," Smith told Baltimore reporters. “... He’s a West Coast guy. He was not coming out to the east unless I was there.”
The 49ers and Seahawks long have been picking up the other’s discarded players. Seattle’s 53-man roster currently includes three one-time 49ers: defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs, linebacker Nick Moody and fullback/defensive lineman Will Tukuafu. Another, quarterback/receiver B.J. Daniels, was released this week.
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The 49ers released Wright last week after the unhappy cornerback, inactive for the first four games, asked to be traded or released. Wright said he was doing everything he could to help his new team, including offering tips about the 49ers.
"It’s a lot of that,” he said. “It’s a lot of trying to get some rest at the same time, trying to adjust my time clock and trying to learn this defense. I’m here until 8 o’clock every night trying to figure it all out. It’s good. It’s informative – I’m helping them, they’re helping me. I’m just trying to help us win.”
Defensive coordinator Eric Mangini noted that Wright is a smart, veteran player and that the 49ers would have to take some precautions Sunday. But he also said that’s often a mixed bag of information when a player moves from one team to another and then faces the former squad.
“Some of the feedback is valuable and some of the feeback is so specific to their (position) group that you might get some insight but it is really segmented,” Mangini said. “... You get part of the picture, but you don’t necessarily get all of it.”
Wright told reporters in Baltimore that the 49ers initially told him he would have a prominent role on defense. In training camp, however, he fell behind a trio of young cornerbacks -- Kenneth Acker, Dontae Johnson and Keith Reaser -- and asked to be traded or released.
Wright said he figured the 49ers changed their plan because, shortly after he was signed, they lost several key players to retirement and because of that may have been in more of a rebuilding mode than they figured they'd be in when the offseason began.
“Honestly, to me, I just feel like they wanted to go a different direction,” he said. “I feel like when I signed there, they had plans for me, and a lot of things happened on the defense. They lost a lot of guys. I feel like losing all those guys, they kind of went a different direction. I don’t know if there was a rebuild-type of mode. And (with) me being on a one-year deal, I kind of didn’t have a future with them."
Wright also said there had been discussions with Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome about acquiring him in a trade with the 49ers.
"When I was asking for my release out of San Francisco for the past couple weeks, we were trying to get a trade done with Ozzie, and we weren’t able to get that done," Wright said. "I was finally released, and things happened, and it was a great opportunity to come here and be on this defense and play really soon. That’s all I wanted to do was get on the field. I saw an opportunity, and we made it happen.”
With so many injuries to the Ravens secondary, there is a good chance that Wright will see action against the 49ers just eight days after they let him go.