The 49ers are moving forward without Elijah Mitchell for the next several weeks, reportedly adding veteran Marlon Mack to their running backs corps.
Mack, formerly of the Colts and (briefly) the Texans, is expected to be signed to the 49ers’ practice squad, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The 49ers have not yet announced the move.
Mack was released from Houston’s practice squad last week after signing with the team in the offseason and missing the initial 53-man roster.
A Colts fourth-round pick in 2017, Mack spent the first five seasons of his career with Indianapolis, often working in a running back platoon, including his rookie year with friend and former 49er Frank Gore. His highest-achieving seasons were 2018 and 2019, when he rushed for 908 yards and 1,091 yards, respectively.
But he’s played in only seven games (one start) since the beginning of 2020, when he suffered an Achilles tear in the Colts’ opener.
Now he joins the 49ers’ running back mix that includes likely starter Jeff Wilson Jr. and rookies Tyrion Davis-Price (third round, LSU) and Jordan Mason (undrafted, Georgia Tech). Star receiver Deebo Samuel also lined up in the backfield in the Week 1 loss to Chicago, as he did frequently last season, and fullback Kyle Juszczyk saw some action as a third-down running back.
Kyle Shanahan is also likely to continue featuring Trey Lance as a runner on some plays, but each playcall for a quarterback run includes the risk of injury for the young passer.
Mitchell officially hit the injured reserve Tuesday with the knee injury he suffered Sunday. He’ll be out for a minimum of four weeks. The 49ers added safety Tashaun Gipson to the active roster from the practice squad to take Mitchell’s roster spot. Gipson was activated for Sunday’s game and started the game, playing 57 snaps with Jimmie Ward (hamstring) on injured reserve.
The 49ers held workouts with several veteran running backs, including Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, before the reported signing of Mack, Field Yates of ESPN reported Tuesday.
Mack is the third ex-Colt to join the 49ers since March, after they signed safety George Odum (2018-2021 in Indy) and defensive lineman Hassan Ridgeway (2016-2018) in free agency.
The 49ers also signed center and San Francisco native Keith Ismael to their practice squad and released offensive lineman Keaton Sutherland and receiver Connor Wedington.
Ismael was waived last week by Washington, which drafted him in the fifth round of the 2020 draft. He appeared in 18 games, starting five, in two seasons with Washington. Throughout his two-year NFL career with the Commanders (2020-21), he has appeared in 18 games (five starts).
Sutherland signed a reserve/future contract with the Niners this offseason before being released and signed to the practice squad last month.
Wedington, a Stanford product, has been off and on the practice squad over the last year.