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New long snapper, tight end support and Deebo Samuel’s return among 49ers’ mid-week roster moves

© Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Nelson’s time with the San Francisco 49ers is over. The team’s second-longest tenured player (signed a few months after Jimmie Ward was drafted) had a career-altering nightmare on Sunday, failing time and time again to snap the ball accurately. Head coach Kyle Shanahan intimated on Monday that Nelson could be replaced, pointing to Tuesday workouts.

“He understands it’s a business,” Shanahan said. “He understands how the league works and we’re going to bring in some guys tomorrow, work them out. We’ll see how they look and then we’ll decide what’s the best for us going forward.”

His replacement is Taybor Pepper, who played in all 16 games last year for the Miami Dolphins and has 20 career games played.

San Francisco also brought back Daniel Helm, who was mainly a practice squad player last season, but spent some brief time on the active roster. Below are the moves made by the team on Wednesday, including the activation of Deebo Samuel, the injured reserve placement of Mark Nzeocha, and two practice squad additions:

The San Francisco 49ers today announced they have signed TE Daniel Helm from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad to a one-year deal and signed LS Taybor Pepper to a one-year deal. In order to make room on the roster, the team placed LB Mark Nzeocha on the Injured Reserve List and waived LS Kyle Nelson. The team also opened the practice window for WR Deebo Samuel, who was placed on the Injured Reserve List on September 12, 2020.

In addition, the team signed OL Cody Conway and TE Charlie Taumoepeau (DOW-moy-pay-ow) to the team’s practice squad. The team also released OL William Sweet from the practice squad.

Helm (6-4, 225) originally entered the NFL after signing with the Chargers as an undrafted rookie free agent on May 10, 2019. He was waived by the Chargers on August 1, 2019 and claimed by the 49ers August 2, 2019. Helm was then waived by the 49ers on August 31, 2019, signed to the practice squad the following day and was promoted to the active roster on December 12, 2019. He spent part of training camp with the team in 2020, was waived on August 15, 2020, and claimed off waivers by the Kansas City Chiefs the following day. Helm was waived by the Chiefs on September 5, 2020, and later signed to the Buccaneers practice squad on September 23, 2020.

A 25-year-old native of Chatham, IL, Helm attended Duke University where he appeared in 38 games (24 starts) for the Blue Devils and registered 69 receptions for 767 yards and six touchdowns in three seasons (2016-18) after transferring to the school from the University of Tennessee. As a senior in 2018, he appeared in all 13 games (11 starts) and finished with 26 receptions for 271 yards and two touchdowns, earning Third-Team All-ACC honors.

Helm will wear number 88.

Pepper (6-4, 245) originally entered the NFL after signing with the Green Bay Packers to a Reserve/Future contract on January 27, 2017. He went on to appear in four games for Green Bay in 2017 prior to being placed on the Injured Reserve List on November 3, 2017. He later signed a Reserve/Future contract with the New York Giants on December 31, 2018 and was waived by the Giants on August 31, 2019. Pepper signed with the Miami Dolphins on September 2, 2019, where he went on to appear in all 16 games for the Dolphins. He was waived by Miami on May 27, 2020.

A 26-year-old native of Saline, MI, Pepper attended Michigan State University where he played in all 54 games at long snapper and registered 10 tackles on special teams. His 54 games played for the Spartans were tied for the most among any player in school history.

Pepper will wear number 46.

Nzeocha (6-3, 235) and Nelson (6-2, 240) each appeared in the team’s first three games of the season.

Conway (6-6, 307) originally entered the NFL after signing with the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted rookie free agent on May 10, 2019. He was waived/injured by the Titans on August 16, 2019, and later signed to the Green Bay Packers practice squad on November 26, 2019. After signing a Reserve/Future contract with the Packers on January 21, 2020, he was waived by the team on September 6.

A 24-year-old native of Plainfield, IL, Conway attended Syracuse University for four years (2015-18) and appeared in 40 games (33 starts) at left tackle for the Orange. As a senior in 2018, he earned Honorable Mention All-ACC honors after starting all 13 games.

Taumoepeau (6-2, 245) originally entered the NFL after signing with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted rookie free agent on April 27, 2020. He was waived by the Cowboys on September 2, and later signed to the Indianapolis Colts practice squad on September 8. He was released by the Colts on September 22.

A 24-year-old native of Federal Way, WA, Taumoepeau attended Portland State University for four years (2016-19) where he appeared in 41 games and registered 117 receptions for 1,876 yards and 11 touchdowns. A First-Team All-Big Sky selection (2018) and Second-Team All-American (2018), he appeared in 10 games and finished with 36 receptions for 474 yards and two touchdowns as a senior in 2019.

Sweet (6-6, 313) originally signed to the team’s practice squad on September 6, 2020.


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