Ray-Ray McCloud

49ers activate McCloud for Week 18 vs. Rams, place Dwelley on IR

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SANTA CLARA — The 49ers on Saturday activated wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud from injured reserve, marking the return of a valuable contributor on special teams.

McCloud is the 49ers’ return specialist, and San Francisco struggled on punt returns in his absence over the past five games. He returned to practice this week after being cleared to resume work after sustaining fractured ribs.

McCloud is expected to play Sunday in the 49ers’ regular-season finale against the Los Angeles Rams at Levi's Stadium.

However, another 49ers wide receiver, Jauan Jennings, was ruled out while he remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Jennings is ruled out for the third consecutive game after sustaining a concussion on Dec. 17 against the Arizona Cardinals. He saw limited practice this week but was not cleared for full football contact.

The 49ers placed tight end Ross Dwelley on injured reserve to create space on the team’s 53-man roster for McCloud.

Dwelley sustained a high ankle sprain in the 49ers’ Dec. 3 game against the Philadelphia Eagles. If the 49ers win two playoff games, Dwelley would be eligible to return to practice the day after the NFC Championship Game and could be activated for the Super Bowl.

The 49ers elevated running back Jeremy McNichols and safety Tayler Hawkins from the practice squad to suit up against the Rams.

McNichols will be the team’s third running back for the game behind Elijah Mitchell and Jordan Mason. Pro Bowl running back Christian McCaffrey is out with a calf injury. McCaffrey said he "100 percent" could have played Sunday if the game were important for the 49ers' postseason seeding.

The 49ers (12-4) already have wrapped up the NFC's No. 1 playoff seed for the postseason. Their first postseason game will take place at Levi’s Stadium on either Jan. 20 or 21.

Hawkins has spent the past two seasons on the 49ers’ practice squad and is set to make his NFL regular-season debut on Sunday. He originally entered the NFL in 2022 after signing with San Francisco as an undrafted free agent from San Diego State.

Also, the 49ers announced Pro Bowl fullback Kyle Juszczyk is questionable for Sunday’s game due to an illness.

The 49ers have announced the following players also will be inactive for Sunday’s game: quarterback Brock Purdy (coach’s decision), defensive tackle Arik Armstead (foot, knee), cornerback Ambry Thomas (hand), and safeties Ji’Ayir Brown (knee) and Tashaun Gipson (quadricep).

San Francisco also ruled out wide receiver Danny Gray, who has one more week for his practice window as he remains on injured reserve. Gray was placed on injured reserve prior to the start of the regular season due to a shoulder injury.

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