In a somewhat surprise move, former Pitt standout Scott McKillop was cut by the 49ers this week. McKillop was a fifth-round pick in 2009 and had proven to be a solid player. In the few times I saw him play in San Francisco, I thought he would stick. He suffered a significant ACL injury last year, which cost him the entire season, so he did get a bit behind.
SB Nation Bay Area says he hasn't been the same so far since the injury.
McKillop was actually reported to have been cut earlier this month, though that was retracted:
McKillop seemingly got cut twice in the past three weeks, although the first time (on Aug. 11) apparently was a techinical glitch on NFL.com which posted he had been released on its transaction wire.
But the surprise isn't that he was cut - it was that he was cut so early. There's a good reason for that, though.
Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh says it was about getting McKillop a shot with another team while camps are still open:
"I think for Scott the decision made now so there could be a chance to get on with another football team. The way it was shaking out, he wouldn't have a spot here on our team."
Classy move by Harbaugh. On the surface, with more than 20 cuts still to go, it seems strange that he'd be cut so early. But for McKillop, being let go now is far better than being one of the final cuts.
McKillop had recently played well in the 49ers' most recent game against the Houston Texans this past weekend, leading the team in tackles. He's too young to not get another shot and I expect he'll get another look fairly soon.