SANTA CLARA –- 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula said the decision to waive defensive lineman Lawrence Okoye during the first round of cuts to 75 players was made to give him the best opportunity to land with another team this season.
“Just to be frank, Lawrence hasn’t played a lot of football,” Tomsula said. “So for somebody to give him an opportunity in fairness to him, they’re going to want to (see him before the cut to 53 players).
“So, when you have a guy in that situation, was my thought, that it gives him a better opportunity ... What he’s done in three years or two-and-a-half years is remarkable.”
Okoye represented Great Britain in the finals of the Olympics discus competition in 2012. The next year, he signed with the 49ers in an effort to build a career in the NFL. He spent his first season with the 49ers on injured reserve. Okoye was on the practice squad last year.
The 49ers feel good about the depth and talent on their defensive line -- a group that includes Glenn Dorsey, Ian Williams, Quinton Dial, Darnell Dockett, Tank Carradine, Tony Jerod-Eddie and Mike Purcell, along with first-round draft pick Arik Armstead. There is clearly no room on the 49ers' 53-man roster for Okoye.
When asked if Okoye remains under consideration for one of the 10 spots on the practice squad, Tomsula said, “I will answer that vaguely, everybody that’s been released is under that umbrella.”
No team claimed Okoye off waivers during the 24-hour period following his release. He is free to sign with any team as a free agent. He remains eligible to return to the 49ers' practice squad next week after rosters are reduced to the regular-season limit of 53 players.
---Wide receiver Torrey Smith (knee contusion), defensive lineman Darnell Dockett (rib contusion), cornerback Tramaine Brock (hamstring) and tight end Vance McDonald (ankle) are getting treatment for minor injuries, 49ers coach Jim Tomsula said. Running back Kendall Hunter has been practicing, but he continues to work with the strength and conditioning staff during individual period.