Weinke to be Niners' 4th starting QB of season

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Chris Weinke will be the 49ers' fourth starting quarterback this season when he replaces the injured Shaun Hill at Cleveland on Sunday.

Weinke, the former Heisman Trophy winner and Carolina Panthers quarterback, signed with the 49ers (5-10) just two weeks ago. He will follow Alex Smith, Trent Dilfer and Hill, who won his first two NFL starts in the last two weeks, as the starting quarterback for San Francisco this season.

Hill, the sixth-year pro who hadn't thrown an NFL pass until this month, will miss San Francisco's season finale with back spasms caused by three small fractures incurred from a hard hit in last week's victory over Tampa Bay. Dilfer is out for the season with a concussion, and Smith is on injured reserve with a separated shoulder.

Weinke took one snap last week when Hill was sidelined for one play after taking another hard hit. He started 19 games in his career with the Panthers, but was out of football this season until spending the last two weeks cramming with the 49ers' playbook.

The 49ers also signed former UCLA quarterback Drew Olson from the practice squad to back up Weinke against the Browns, waiving LeRon McCoy to make room on the roster.

Receiver Arnaz Battle and running back Michael Robinson -- both successful college quarterbacks -- will be the No. 3 quarterback, though Robinson is questionable for the game with a shoulder injury.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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