SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers secondary, already rocked by the defection of Plan B free agent Ronnie Lott to the Los Angeles Raiders, suffered another setback Monday when it was announced starting cornerback Darryl Pollard would be lost for the season.
Pollard, who has started 35 of 37 games over the last two seasons, suffered what was thought to be a severely sprained ankle in the club's exhibition finale against Seattle last Friday night. However, X-rays revealed the veteran had instead suffered a fractured fibia which will require surgery.
The 49ers placed Pollard on injured reserve Monday among a flurry of moves designated to get the club to the league-imposed 47-man roster limit. Because Pollard was placed on IR during the preseason, he will not be allowed to return to action this year.
The loss means second-year men Kevin Lewis and Eric Davis will battle for the starting spot.
Among the team's other moves was the waivering of veteran running back Terrence Flagler, who was picked two weeks ago in a provisional trade with the Phoenix Cardinals, and the only two punters on the 49ers active roster -- Paul McJulian and Ralf Mosiejenko.
Flagler became expendable with the emergence this preseason of veteran Spencer Tillman, who raced for a 91-yard touchdown in Friday's victory over Seattle. Flagler, the 49ers top pick in 1987, had gained only 19 yards on 17 carries during the preseason.
Neither McJulian nor Mojsiejenko impressed the San Francisco staff enough to land at least a temporary spot on the squad. Barry Helton, last year's starter who averaged a dismal 36.8 yards per kick, will be out for at least the first six weeks because of a thigh injury meaning the club will probably sign a punter from among those cut by other teams on Monday.
San Francisco also gambled Monday by cutting offensive guard Tom Neville and center Dean Caliguire. The club is hoping both clear waivers and can be re-signed. Spots for both players may come when the team places injured running back Ricky Watters, cornerback Merton Hanks and tackle Harry Boatswain on the recallable injured reserve list some time this week.
The other cuts were linebackers Martin Harrison, a 10-round pick last season, LeRoy Etienne and Antonio Goss; defensive end Alonzo Mitz and running back Adam Walker.
Offensive tackle Scott Bowles and running Sheldon Canley were both placed on preseason injured reserve and will be lost for the season.