Jackrabbit Jenkins has opportunity to contribute to 49ers' stretch run

Opportunity knocks for Jenkins during 49ers' stretch run originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SANTA CLARA -- Veteran cornerback Janoris “Jackrabbit” Jenkins hopped into action from the 49ers’ practice squad two weeks ago when called upon in the team’s division-clinching victory.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said Jenkins is not in the mix to move into the starting lineup heading into the postseason, but he can still get into uniform and make a contribution.

“There's an opportunity for him,” Shanahan said. “I think we're set with our starters out there, but there's an opportunity for him to get into that rotation and get in the group and be the next man up.”

Jenkins, 34, is an 11-year NFL player with 138 regular-season starts. The 49ers signed him to the practice squad on Nov. 28.

Charvarius Ward and Deommodore Lenoir remain entrenched as the 49ers’ starting cornerbacks, per Shanahan.

Jenkins was needed on Dec. 15, when the 49ers played the Seattle Seahawks. He was elevated from the practice squad to make his season debut with backup cornerback Sam Womack out with a concussion.

When Ward was sidelined during the game with a concussion, Jenkins sprung into action to finish the game. He was on the field for 14 defensive snaps and 14 plays on special teams in the 49ers’ 21-13 victory over the Seahawks.

Seattle quarterback Geno Smith targeted Jenkins twice in pass coverage. He gave up a 9-yard catch to D.K. Metcalf and a 13-yarder to tight end Will Dissly.

“We've been impressed with how he's been here since he's gotten in, and we're very glad to have him,” Shanahan said of Jenkins. “We have no idea how it's going to play out, but he definitely is an option here over the next few weeks.”

Jenkins has not suited up for a game since the night in Seattle. Womack and Ambry Thomas have filled the backup roles while Jenkins remains on standby.

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“With Jackrabbit, he is a veteran who’s played a lot of ball and he’s learning in our system,” 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans said. “He’s doing a really good job of picking things up and he’s practicing really well these past couple of weeks.

“And if we need him to be up, he’s ready to roll.”

Jenkins could be elevated from the practice squad for Sunday’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders with Thomas listed as questionable due to an ankle injury and an illness.

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