The San Francisco 49ers sat quite a few players in their preseason finale, and one notable absence was wide receiver DeAndre Smelter. The 49ers did not list Smelter among their pre-game inactives, but he ended up not getting any snaps. He was back in practice this week, but it would appear he did not make enough progress to play in Thursday’s game.
This means that Smelter did not play a single preseason snap this year. He dealt with a hamstring issue late in the offseason workout program, and it would appear to have flared up again this past month. Following a year of not playing due to a college ACL tear, Smelter has not seen game action since the 2014 college season.
Earlier in the preseason, there were some media suggestions that Smelter might open the season on injured reserve. It seemed unlikely at the time, and Chip Kelly said they had not thought about that. Of course, with more inaction since then, I would think it is at least on their radar. The return designation is no longer a thing, and teams can bring one player back from IR without designating him ahead of time. It might make the most sense for the 49ers to place him on injured reserve, see what their current crop of wide receivers can do, and then go from there as the season progresses.