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Darnell Dockett released by San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers have thought twice about their union with Darnell Dockett.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday that Dockett has been released, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. The team later confirmed the roster move.

The move comes six months after Dockett left the Cardinals to sign a two-year, $7.5 million contract that included $2 million guaranteed.

ProFootballTalk, which first reported Dockett's release, stated the move saves San Francisco $3.25 million in cash and salary-cap space. Dockett is a 10-year veteran with 40.5 career sacks. He was expected to serve as a situational pass rusher in Eric Mangini's defense.

The reasons behind Dockett's surprise exit are unclear, though the veteran defensive tackle had been slowed by a rib injury. Dockett might have rubbed some in the organization the wrong way when he tweeted that his rib was broken, a diagnosis that Tomsula refuted.

"Yeah, it's cartilage," Tomsula said Wednesday, via "The crack is in the cartilage, which is treated like a contusion. It's not the bone. If it was the bone, we would be talking about something different (and more serious)."

Dockett immediately becomes a free agent, so let the speculation begin about a possible return to the Cardinals. Arizona -- or another team -- might choose to wait until after Week 1 to sign him. Dockett's vested veteran status means he would get his base salary fully guaranteed if he's signed before the start of the season.

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