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LaMichael James Remains in 49ers Plans

Posted Oct 14, 2013

Jim Harbaugh remains pleased with LaMichael James' development and believes the second-year running back will impact the 49ers in the 2013 season.

Second-year running back LaMichael James was healthy enough to play on Sunday. The 49ers, however, listed him inactive.

Despite his absence in the lineup, James remains in the team’s plans.

“There’s going to come a time like last year where he’s fully in the mix and that time will come again,” Jim Harbaugh said on Monday, a day after San Francisco’s 32-20 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

James, who was hampered by a knee injury in the team’s preseason finale, is fifth on the 49ers with seven rushing attempts in 2013. James has picked up 31 yards on those carries with the longest run being an 11-yard gain.

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James has played in just two games this season. Harbaugh said it has more to do with the team deciding between having three or four active running backs on gameday. The 49ers have kept Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and Anthony Dixon active for every game. The trio has combined to score all eight of San Francisco’s rushing touchdowns.

James is the only running back on the roster to not find the end zone in 2013.

It’s not a concern to Harbaugh, who has spoken privately with James about his future with the team.

“His development has been fine,” the 49ers coach said of James. “He’ll be back playing. I know the talk about insurance and etcetera. It’s no slight to LaMichael. LaMichael’s a very good player. He’s a very valuable member of our team.”

Harbaugh also said James remains an option in the return game. James has returned one kick-off in 2013 for a 29-yard gain.

James enjoyed a breakout role as a kick return man and third-down running back in the final weeks of his rookie season. James totaled 190 rushing yards on 38 carries in the regular season and postseason combined.

Harbaugh doesn’t see any reason why James can’t impact the 49ers in a similar fashion.

“He’s a valued guy around here and has a big role for our football team,” Harbaugh added.

 

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