Bellyaching isn't tolerated in the 49ers' locker room. That message, which first was issued a year ago when Jim Harbaugh cut malcontent wide receiver Braylon Edwards, was sent again Monday when the team announced running back Brandon Jacobs has been suspended for the final three games of the season.
Jacobs has griped since October about his lack of playing time, but the complaints reached a crescendo over the last few days via social media.
Jacobs incited the cyber wrath of 49ers fans after posting pictures on the photo-sharing site Instagram in the uniform of his former team, the Giants.
Replied Jacobs: "I am on this team rotting away so why would I wanna put any pics up of anything that say niners. This is by far the worst year I ever had, I'll tell you like I told plenty others."
Also on Instagram, Jacobs wrote, presumably of the 49ers: "They won't let me out, I tried."
Jacobs won two Super Bowls during his seven seasons with the Giants, but he and the team parted ways in the spring after they couldn't agree to a reduction of his salary.
The 49ers signed Jacobs to a one-year deal, and he got off to a good start, running four times for 31 yards (7.8-yard average) in the preseason opener, but he injured his knee in the second preseason game. Despite recovering by October, he had only a bit role for the 49ers, rushing five times for seven yards.
Jacobs' status took another hit Sunday when backup running backs LaMichael James and Anthony Dixon played well against the Dolphins. Jacobs was inactive for the game and spent it cheering from the sideline.
Jacobs, 30, can appeal the suspension. He will not get paid for the final three weeks of the season if it stands.
Harbaugh would not comment about Jacobs earlier in the day.
"I'll go with the Fifth Amendment," Harbaugh said when asked whether Jacobs still was part of the team.
During a radio interview Monday afternoon, general manager Trent Baalke said he had an "amicable" discussion with Jacobs.
"It comes down to the team and making the best decisions we can for the team," Baalke said on San Francisco's 95.7 The Game. "We'll leave it at that."
Later Monday, Jacobs was back on Twitter: "Thank you all for all your support, I am doing wonderful it's not a big deal things happen, I am strong enough to get through this, again thank all of you for your support. #IWILLBEBACK."
There's a reason the 49ers didn't cut Jacobs, as they did Edwards last season.
The Giants are short on running backs after losing Andre Brown for the season earlier this year and seeing starter Ahmad Bradshaw get injured Sunday. Jacobs chatted with his former teammates before and after the 49ers-Giants game Oct. 14, including in the Giants' locker room after the game.
The 49ers could meet the Giants again in the playoffs and wouldn't want Jacobs, who now knows the San Francisco offense well and likely would be out for revenge against Harbaugh and the 49ers, on the opposing sideline.
Two other potential playoff opponents, the Packers and Seahawks, also could use help at running back.
The 49ers have several young backups behind starter Frank Gore, but they're inexperienced. Dixon, James and undrafted rookie Jewel Hampton have 121 NFL carries and no starts among them.
Jacobs has 1,083 carries over his career.
His suspension opens a spot on the 49ers' roster. They could look for a special-teams player to replace Demarcus Dobbs, sidelined because of a knee injury. Or they might try to find a defensive end to replace Dobbs, who plays behind Justin Smith. The team worked out former Vikings and Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards last week.
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