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49ers to release Bruce Ellington Thursday, per Matt Maiocco

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The 49ers are prepared to move on from their fourth-year veteran receiver and returner.

The San Francisco 49ers do not have to cut their roster to 53 players until early September, but they appear ready to make an early roster cut. NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco is reporting the team is planning on cutting wide receiver Bruce Ellington on Thursday.

Over the course of three seasons, Ellington has struggled to turn his impressive skills into productive football. Injuries have been a big problem for him, including a torn hamstring costing him all of 2016.

According to Niners Wire’s Jerod Brown, who has been on hand the past week, Ellington has been playing primarily with the fourth string offense. Brown said Kendrick Bourne, Victor Bolden, and DeAndre Carter have all out-shined him through the first week of camp.

The 49ers entered today with 13 wide receivers. Five of the roster spots seemed all but secured between Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin, Jeremy Kerley, Trent Taylor, and Aldrick Robinson. That would leave one spot on the 53-man roster, maybe a second if you’re not totally sold on Robinson or Kerley. Given the veteran presence in that group, and Taylor’s potential as a return man, it makes sense for that sixth wide receiver to be a younger development option. Bruce Ellington did not fit the bill.