SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -The San Francisco 49ers signed running back DeShaun Foster, quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan and linebacker Dontarrious Thomas on Monday, adding free-agent depth at three key positions.
Foster spent his first five NFL season with the Carolina Panthers, rushing for 3,336 yards and 10 touchdowns in 63 games. The former second-round pick from UCLA will back up Frank Gore in San Francisco, but he provides coach Mike Nolan with a veteran alternative in the event of injury.
``I was down there for six years,'' Foster said of his time in Carolina. ``They drafted me, and it was a great organization. It was kind of disappointing, but it is the nature of the game. I am excited to get a fresh start in San Fran. ... I see this team as an up-and-coming team. I feel that you need two backs in this league, and whatever role I play, that's what I'm going to do.''
O'Sullivan, a graduate of nearby UC Davis, has been with six NFL teams over six seasons. He has appeared in just six games, including five last season with the Detroit Lions under offensive coordinator Mike Martz, who moved his high-octane passing offense to San Francisco this season.
Thomas has been with the Minnesota Vikings for his first four NFL seasons, making 145 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks while frustrating his coaches with his inability to reach his high potential. He'll likely be a backup in San Francisco's 3-4 defense.
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