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San Francisco 49ers release veteran LB Ahmad Brooks

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  • By Around The NFL staff NFL.com
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Ahmad Brooks' long run in San Francisco has ended.

The 49ers released Brooks on Friday, the team announced. The move comes after the team failed to find a team willing to trade for the veteran linebacker over the last couple of weeks, a source informed of the situation told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport on Friday.

"We would like to thank Ahmad for his nine years of service and contributions to the 49ers," team general manager John Lynch said in a statement. "In that time, he played a significant role on some formidable defensive units that helped this team achieve great success. We feel good about the depth and competition along our defensive front and believe that by making this decision now it will give Ahmad a head start on exploring his options with other teams. We wish him and his family nothing but the best."

The 49ers' plan to release Brooks was first reported by Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee.

Brooks, 33, has been a mainstay in San Francisco for nearly a decade, and only Joe Staley has played longer on the 49ers among current roster players. As Barrows pointed out, third-year linebacker Eli Harold has been battling Brooks for a starting spot on the roster.

"Ahmad can still do things," coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters shortly after the release. "I think everyone knows that and he's going to help somebody this year. But it really comes down to the final 53. And I'm starting to get a better feel for what that is now. And it's taken me some time, it's taken John [Lynch] and me some time, because we got to know what our group was like and it's really been nothing against Ahmad.

"It's how are we going to get 53 guys on this team -- the right type of 53 guys. You think of guys that might not be as good in Week 1, but you think they'll be ready in Week 3. What gives you the best chance to win in Week 1 and Week 8 and Week 16. You've got to play all that into account."

The anticipated move to cut Brooks also will give the 49ers more room under the salary cap. Brooks, who's entering the final year of a six-year, $40.4 million deal, was set to count $6.1 million against the cap this season, according to Spotrac.

A two-time All-Pro second-team selection, Brooks started in 15 games for the 49ers last season, recording 53 tackles and six sacks. Over his NFL career, Brooks has 53.5 sacks and 290 tackles. His 51.5 sacks in San Francisco ranks third all-time in 49ers history.

Although Brooks appears to be in the twilight of his career, he likely won't be a free agent for long.

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