Daniel Kilgore’s message to 49ers coaches and management: I’m ready to go.
The team’s one-time starting center is into his third week of practice since coming back from an ankle injury, and he is nearing the deadline for the 49ers to move him from the physically-unable-to-perform list to the active roster. They have to do so by Monday, and Kilgore made it clear he wants to play this season.
Kilgore hasn’t played since Oct. 19, 2014, when he broke his ankle against Denver.
“I’d like to have something to build off of for the offseason, see where I am,” he said Wednesday. “It’s been over a year now. And I’ve been doing all this training. So I’d like to do something. I don’t want to do all this training for nothing.”
Second-year player Marcus Martin has started all 11 games and has received the bulk of the practice repetitions since Kilgore returned to practice two weeks ago. Kilgore estimated he might take two or three snaps with quarterback Blaine Gabbert behind him per session.
He didn’t know if that workload would ramp up this week, but said he’s ready if it does. He said he was sore after his first week of practice, but that went away last week.
“I think I’m ready to go,” Kilgore said. “But it’s based on their call, their judgment. So if they think I’m good enough to go, I’m good enough to go.”
Martin mostly has struggled this season. Pro Football Focus gave him a minus-3.3 grade for last week’s game against the Cardinals, and he’s the scouting service’s bottom-ranked center this season.
Thin ice for Ellington – Bruce Ellington remains the 49ers’ punt-return specialist, coach Thomas McGaughey said Wednesday, but the coach isn’t happy with Ellington’s turnover Sunday or the nonchalant way he’s been handling some kicks. Ellington often catches the ball above his head instead of cradling it like most returners.
“That’s not what we coach,” said McGaughey, the special-teams coach. “That’s not what we teach him to do. We’ve had that discussion and it’s going to get corrected.”
The Cardinals were able to convert Ellington’s first-quarter fumble into a field goal. He also fumbled a kick return out of bounds a week earlier against Seattle. The team’s early-season punt return man, Jarryd Hayne, is on the practice squad after he muffed three returns.
McGaughey said Ellington can’t afford any more mistakes.
“You look at the kid (Chris Harper) at New England last week, he doesn’t have a job,” McGaughey said prior to the Patriots’ Wednesday re-signing of Harper, who they had cut Monday. “If Bruce was standing right here next to me, I’d say the same thing. It’s no different. You’ve got to take care of the ball. Everybody’s got a job to do. Do your job.”
Et cetera – Ahmad Brooks was back at practice Wednesday after missing Sunday’s game due to concussion symptoms stemming from the 49ers’ Nov. 22 loss against Seattle.
▪ Running back Carlos Hyde (foot) did not practice. If he doesn’t play Sunday against the Bears, it will be the fifth consecutive game he’s missed.
▪ Wide receiver Anquan Boldin is the 49ers’ nominee for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which recognizes players’ off-the-field endeavors. He was a finalist last year.