SANTA CLARA — The San Francisco 49ers’ already-depleted cornerback corps got a little thinner today with the announcement that seven-year veteran Eric Wright has decided to retire from football.
Wright, a 28-year-old native of San Francisco, joined the team last season, appearing in seven regular season games and two postseason contests for the 49ers after signing in August 2013.
In a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, Wright said a lack of passion for the game — not a health or contract issue — as his reason for retiring:
“Playing was the fulfillment of a childhood dream, but as I prepared for the coming season, I realized that I no longer had the same passion I once had for the game.”
Wright,who grew up in the Bayview-Hunters Point area of San Francisco, went on to thank the organization for the opportunity to play for his hometown team.
“The San Francisco 49ers have given me an amazing opportunity to play for the team I grew up rooting for, and I owe the York family, my coaches, and my teammates tremendous amounts of gratitude.”
Wright would have faced stiff competition for a starting role as the nickel back against first-round draft pick Jimmy Ward and Perrish Cox, who beat him out for the position during last years’ postseason.
Rookie cornerbacks Dontae Johnson and Kenneth Ackers have seen generous field time during OTAs and minicamps, as has newcomer Chris Cook. But with Chris Culliver still rehabbing from a season ending knee injury, Tramaine Brock remains as the only sound starter for the 49ers.
One interesting name that has appeared in conjunction with the 49ers is Pro Bowl cornerback Brandon Flowers, who was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs last week.
NFL.com reported that Flowers has been contacted by as many as 10 teams since being cut, although the 49ers were not specifically named on the list.
Before Wright’s retirement was made official, Coach Jim Harbaugh was asked whether or not he felt Wright’s departure would hurt his team.
“We feel good about the guys we have … We won’t speculate on what we’re going to do. We’ll have an open spot and we’ll do what’s best for our team.”
Harbaugh was also asked more specifically about whether or not the team would have an interest specifically in Flowers.
“Again, longstanding policy, we don’t talk about anybody who’s not one of our players. The personnel department looks at all available players. You can understand that’s their job.”
With Jimmy Ward continuing to rehab a foot injury, players like Perrish Cox and Daryl Morris look to see the majority of snaps at the nickel position through the remainder of the mandatory minicamp.