49ers add former Browns special-teamer/safety Raymond Ventrone
The 30-year-old Ventrone played in 73 career games split between the New England Patriots and Cleveland Browns. He has combined a 50 tackles and 39-special teams stops over an eight-year NFL career.
Ventrone originally entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Patriots in 2005. He spent his rookie season on the Patriots’ practice squad and the 2007 offseason on the New York Jets’ practice squad.
However, Ventrone rejoined the Patriots later that year to make his NFL debut, and appearing in just two games on the season. Over the next two seasons, Ventrone appeared in 29 games while making 22 tackles. He remained on the Patriots’ offseason roster during 2009 before being released in early September.
Ventrone signed with the Browns on September 16, 2009, and spent the past four seasons with the team, including a career-best season in 2010 when he registered 19 tackles and one forced fumble and went on to the Pro Bowl as a third alternate on the AFC squad. Last season, Ventrone appeared in 12 games while notching seven special teams tackles, while rushing 35 yards on one carry. Ventrone became an unrestricted free agent in March.
The 5-foot-10, 200-pound Ventrone is a former Villanova University product, who appeared in 35 games while registering 251 tackles, 2.0 sacks, five forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and 11 passes defensed over his four-year collegiate career.
He becomes the eighth safety on the 49ers’ offseason roster after serving the past four seasons as a backup at the same position and special teams contributor for the Browns. He’ll be reunited with former Browns special teams coordinator Brad Seely (2009-10) and former Browns kicker Phil Dawson in San Francisco. Ventrone is also familiar with current 49ers offensive consultant Eric Mangini, who was first the Patriots’ defensive coordinator, as well as the Jets and Browns’ head coach, during Ventrone’s stints with the three teams.
Meanwhile, Jason Schepler had signed with the 49ers in May after coming undrafted out of Northern Illinois. Even though the 6-foot-2, 274-pound Schepler played tight end in college, he was looking to transition to fullback with the 49ers this offseason.
Although it appears as if the 49ers were initially prioritizing on a fullback, perhaps Eric Mangini and Brad Seely convinced head coach Jim Harbaugh they could use another special teams player instead.