John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
The 49ers released Parys Haralson despite this blocked punt (seen here in Game 2) and tremendous overall production.
NFL backups, as in most sports, rarely get the respect they deserve.
This appears to be the case with regards to the 49ers’ Scott Tolzien and Parys Haralson.
Per Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News, Tolzien was one of five players released by the 49ers on Monday. It was a surprising move considering the 49ers were fielding calls for Colt McCoy as recently as Sunday morning, according to Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area.
A noteworthy aspect of this development was Tolzien being let go despite his intimate knowledge of the playbook. He had been with the 49ers since 2011 and was known as a cerebral, high football-IQ player.
Rookie B.J. Daniels immediately understood this side of the former Wisconsin quarterback, via Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News.
“Scott was a technician of the game,” said Daniels. “I admired how Scott took notes and how he transferred that knowledge to the practice field.”
The team ultimately cut Tolzien and named the more athletic and read-option friendly McCoy as the No. 2 quarterback behind Colin Kaepernick.
It really was an unfortunate set of circumstances for Tolzien—an injury, of all things, prevented him from fighting for his job one final time.
Haralson’s release, meanwhile, was by far the most shocking roster move.
The longest-tenured 49er—outside of Frank Gore, Andy Lee and Brian Jennings—had served with the team since 2006. He returned to prime form this preseason following a lost 2012 campaign to a torn triceps.
Haralson was especially dominant in the first two games. He logged five tackles (four solo), one sack, two tackles for loss and one QB hit against Denver, followed by a two-tackle and one sack, tackle-for-loss and QB-hit performance at the Vikings’ expense one week later.
Equally notable was the leadership, passion and overall positive vibes he imparted on the rest of the team. Haralson had no qualms about manning a backup role at outside linebacker behind Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith, and simply did his job.
Compounding this roster cut was Haralson’s standing as one of the most respected players on the team.
Eric Branch of SFGate.com described his far-reaching popularity, including defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s thoughts on No. 98.
“He’s a great teammate, as we all know…Coaches like him. There isn’t anybody in the building that doesn’t like him because that’s just who he is as a person.”
Seeing Haralson move on to the New Orleans Saints is a regrettable loss for the 49ers.
Now it’s up to impressive rookie Corey Lemonier, veteran Dan Skuta and 2012 seventh-round pick Cam Johnson to pick up the pieces.