Report: 49ers re-signing suspended long snapper Nelson

Six games remain on PED suspension, deal keeps him from hitting free agency

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) is congratulated by teammate Kyle Nelson (86) after defeating the Detroit Lions during their NFL game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018. The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Detroit Lions 30-27. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)
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SANTA CLARA — Long snapper Kyle Nelson’s 10-game suspension last year for performance-enhancing substances figured to end his 49ers tenure. It apparently won’t.

Nelson, with six games remaining on that suspension, is re-signing with the 49ers on a four-year deal, ESPN reported.

There will be a new punter on the receiving end of those snaps, as Bradley Pinion agreed to a four-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, according to multiple reports. Pinion served as the 49ers since 2015 upon replacing Andy Lee.

Nelson’s deal extends a mostly solid tenure that effectively began in 2014. Neither the 49ers nor Nelson’s agent immediately confirmed his signing.

Colin Holba replaced Nelson for the final four games last season and remains under contract.

Kyle Nelson (86) watches from the sidelines during the San Francisco 49ers training camp in Santa Clara, California, Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

Nelson, 32, blamed his suspension — the longest in 49ers history — on tainted supplements.

“I have been taking the same supplements for my entire time with the 49ers, while undergoing often simultaneous testing by the NFL with no issues,” Nelson said in a statement last year. “I do not deviate from my nutrition routine, and I would never knowingly take a banned substance.

“I am currently having the supplements tested, and I hope to uncover the cause of the positive test,” Nelson continued. “When the product is identified I fully intend to seek legal action against the manufacturer to protect against this happening to other players in the future.”

Nelson is a repeat offender, having also violated the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy as a 2011 rookie, according to NBC Sports Bay Area.

When Nelson drew his suspension, 49ers general manager John Lynch stated: “We are certainly disappointed to be losing Kyle for 10 games. Hopefully this serves as a reminder to all of our players that they need to take the proper steps to know exactly what they are putting in their bodies.”

Nelson was slated to become an unrestricted free agent, as was guard Mike Person, who the 49ers re-signed last week. Among their pending free agents are defensive back Jimmie Ward, punter Bradley Pinion and linebacker Mark Nzeocha.

Nelson’s return obviously impacts their kicking game, and the 49ers retained Robbie Gould’s rights by designating him with the franchise tag last month.

The only outside free agent thus far agreeing to terms with the 49ers is linebacker Kwon Alexander, whose deal can’t become official until 1 p.m. Wednesday.

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