Spencer is surprise winner of starting job

Spencer is surprise winner of starting job

Cornerback Shawntae Spencer, a primary starter his first three seasons with the 49ers, has surprisingly made it all the way back to the starting lineup.

Spencer was announced as the 49ers’ starting right cornerback Monday, leapfrogging veteran Dre’ Bly and promising third-year player Tarell Brown in the process.

Brown opened training camp as the 49ers’ starting cornerback after veteran Walt Harris sustained a season-ending knee injury in May. When Brown sustained a toe injury on the first day of training camp during coach Mike Singletary’s “nutcracker” drill, Bly replaced him with the first unit. Bly, who was signed a one-year contract after Harris’ injury, started all four exhibition games.

On Saturday, 49ers coach Mike Singletary said he had made up his mind which player would start opposite Nate Clements, but he waited to inform the players of the decision. The 49ers had meetings on Monday, during which time the news was relayed.

Spencer, a second-round pick in the 2004 draft, started 39 games in his first three NFL seasons. But when the 49ers acquired Harris as a free agent, Spencer was relegated to a backup role. Spencer sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in a Week 2 game last season in Seattle.

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The 49ers waived outside linebacker Diyral Briggs on Monday to make room for offensive tackle Tony Pashos on the team’s 53-man roster. If Briggs clears waivers, he will be placed on the 49ers’ practice squad.

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