Back on August 6, I posted Keeping the faith: Checking in on Marcus Lattimore which detailed his struggles to make it with the San Francisco 49ers.
Over the next few weeks, we followed reports on whether Marcus would make the Niners' 53 man roster before the final cuts.
Unfortunately, Marcus was placed on the PUP/NFI list on August 24 - which by rule made him ineligible for at least six regular season games. As of this Sunday, the Niners (3-2) have played five games.
Right on schedule, word has begun to come out of Santa Clara that the 49ers have a timetable for his return:
Lattimore, a 2013 fourth-round pick, is currently on the non-football injury list. The 49ers plan to have Lattimore start practicing Oct. 28, following their bye week. He will then have a three-week window to participate in practice. Harbaugh said the plan is to then activate Lattimore to the 53-man roster.
At our SB Nation sister blog, Niners Nation, David Fucillo wrote:
When asked about Lattimore, Coach Harbaugh initially said they had a couple options. They could bring him back to practice next week, but then have the by week after the Denver Broncos game, and then a week after that. When a player is brought back to the practice field, he gets three weeks of practice before he has to be activated to the 53-man roster, or deactivated for the year. The 49ers players will get some time off during the bye week, and since that counts toward the three weeks of practice, it makes sense to hold off bringing him back.
A lot will depend, of course, on how Latti performs on the practice field, but the coaching staff seems to think he is ready:
"I watch him when he’s working out on the turf field," running backs coach Tom Rathman said. "The explosion that he has, the ability to jump – I think everything’s on track as far as us making sure we know what we’re going to get."
With just two tailbacks currently active with S.F. (Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde), if Lattimore is ready you have to think they will find room on their 53 man roster, if not their 46 dress list.
In terms of roster moves, though, Marcus' gain could be Chris Culliver's loss. I'd hate to see Chris lose a space, but the NFL is a brutal business. There's no guarantee Lattimore will stick with the 49ers, either, if he isn't successful on his return - assuming he can make the field. There are a lot of questions still to be answered.
But then all we've ever wanted for Marcus is a chance. And it looks like he's close to getting it.