The 49ers activated safety Jaquiski Tartt from the PUP list after a lingering case of turf toe from last season sidelined him in training camp, the team announced Wednesday morning.
Tartt missed much of the 2020 season after surgery to address the Week 9 injury. The move indicates Tartt might be on track to suit up in Week 1, though his history of injury could give the 49ers pause. The team had until Aug. 31 to activate players from the PUP list or they won’t be eligible to play for six weeks.
Even with Tartt back, Kyle Shanahan signaled a cautious approach:
“We’re going to see how he looks today. … Hopefully, he can go these three days, show us that he’s healthy and can play at a high level. And hopefully, he’ll get some time in the game.”
While on the PUP list, Tartt was also placed on the Covid-19 reserve list with two other players. Shanahan said Tartt started to feel better when the team held joint practices with the Chargers in Los Angeles last week, but still isn’t sure if Week 1 is a possibility for the 29-year-old:
“We’re hoping so. … We’re giving him a chance to do it. I know he feels good right now, which is very encouraging … so I’m just pumped he wants to practice today.”
Tartt is entering his seventh season for the 49ers. He started seven games last season with one interception, one tackle for loss and four pass deflections before his season ended with turf toe.
Shanahan wouldn’t say who would start at the strong safety position. Talanoa Hufanga has made great strides in camp. Last week the rookie ran a practice with the starters and defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans thought the rookie earned that responsibility based on his play:
“He continues to progress. … He’s on the right track. He just has to keep honing in on his techniques and fundamentals to just keep getting better every day. That’s the goal for all our rookies.”
Hufanga got the start with the first team because Tavon Wilson was out with a vet day. Even if he were available, it’s uncertain who would have practiced with the ones.
Last season with the Colts, the 31-year-old Wilson played in 15 games with one pass deflection, one fumble recovery and two tackles for loss.
Tartt’s return is a sign the 49ers are tuning up for the regular season. Offensive tackle Trent Williams is expected to be at practice this week, and pass rusher Nick Bosa will get some reps Wednesday afternoon.
Starters should play Sunday when the Las Vegas Raiders come back to the bay for the first time since leaving Oakland. Though the Raiders aren’t in Oakland, Shanahan knows well the dislike between the two teams’ fan bases:
“There’s a big rivalry there. … Especially when they came back to Oakland. You can tell just being around here with fans… it’s a little more exciting for a preseason game when you get a team to come back that does have a tradition like that.”