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SANTA CLARA – Coach Jim Harbaugh on Wednesday gave critics the license to question the 49ers’ decision to keep LaMichael James on the team’s 53-man roster over promising rookie running back Glenn Winston.
The 49ers on Monday granted James his release. James cleared waivers on Tuesday and is now free to sign with any team.
Meanwhile, the 49ers were unable to bring back Winston to their practice squad because the Cleveland Browns claimed him off waivers for their 53-man roster.
“We felt like at that time, LaMichael was a player we still wanted look at and still wanted to develop,” Harbaugh said. “Second-guess that one.”
The decision the 49ers made on Monday, Harbaugh said, strengthens the team’s special teams because of the addition of veteran Kassim Osgood.
“We just felt like that was the best interest of our team, what gave us the strongest roster, the best roster,” Harbaugh said. “Added Kassim Osgood back, we felt what made us stronger on special teams, gave us a flag-carrier on the teams. And we felt like there’s things we can do that can take his (James’) reps that he would have.”
The 49ers do not have any plan to add a third running back to their roster behind Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde, Harbaugh said.