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49ers work out 4 running backs with Elijah Mitchell sidelined

Duke Johnson is the most accomplished running back of the four.

New England Patriots v Houston Texans Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

49ers running back Elijah Mitchell remains sidelined with an adductor injury. There are no updates about when he’ll return, but the team is working out four running backs, per ESPN’s Field Yates. That’s a sign that Mitchell could remain out for longer than expected.

This could also be a sign that the 49ers want more out of Ronald Awatt and Khalan Laborn. Here are the running backs:

  • Duke Johnson
  • Brian Hill
  • Jeremy McNichols
  • Jason Huntley

Duke Johnson is an eight-year veteran who was drafted in the third round by the Cleveland Browns. He’s appeared in every season since 2015. Last year, Johnson’s was with the Buffalo Bills, where he played in one game. In 2021, Johnson started four games with the Miami Dolphins.

Known as a receiving back, Duke spent two years with the Houston Texans and his previous four with the Cleveland Browns. He has over 2,870 receiving yards compared to 2,265 rushing yards.

The rest of the running backs aren’t nearly as accomplished. Hill hasn’t played in the NFL since 2020, when he was with the Atlanta Falcons. Hill has rushed for 982 yards, averaging 4.7 yards per carry.

McNichols was drafted out of Boise State in the fifth-round of the 2017 NFL Draft, but didn’t play as a rookie. He appeared in one game with the Colts in 2018, but had 90 carries in 2020 and 2021 with the Tennessee Titans.

Finally, Huntley, a fifth-rounder out of New Mexico State in 2020. He has 18 career attempts with the Philadelphia Eagles with an average of 3.9 yards per carry.