SANTA CLARA — Owen Marecic joined the San Francisco 49ers on Tuesday, signing a one-year contract two weeks after being released by the Cleveland Browns.
If San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh had his way, Marecic would have been with the 49ers on draft day in 2011.
Marecic won't be rushed into the starting lineup. Bruce Miller remains the 49ers starter at fullback. Harbaugh will find a way to use Marecic, perhaps in ways he used him when they both were at Stanford.
The 49ers are looking for ways to tweak their offense. Marecic, who also played linebacker in college, enjoys physical contact with his opponents.
Miller looks at the addition as another competitive challenge.
“Competition is always great,” said Miller, who was called for holding in the end zone Sunday's loss to Seattle, resulting in a safety. “You're always going to compete at that spot. I've watched him on film. He's a good football player. I'm just going to worry about me.”
Marecic worked out for the 49ers soon after his release from the Browns. He's been in Portland, Ore., near where he grew up, continuing his own workouts.
“There's nothing specific,” Marecic said of his possible role with the 49ers. “I'm going to work hard every day to do whatever role I can fill. They told me I would be on offense, as the backup fullback, and contribute on special teams.”
Marecic was the inaugural winner of the Paul Hornung Award, presented to college football's most versatile player.
“It feels good to have the opportunity,” Marecic said. “I look forward to finding a way to contribute.”
Miller, who played defense before switching to fullback, said Sunday's 29-3 loss to Seattle showed he still had a long way to go.
“I have to be better,” he said. “Turnovers, drive killers, penalties, that forced us into a lot of third down and long situations. We have to be more focused on what we're doing.”