Tolzien survives 49ers cuts, earns No. 3 QB job

Associated Press Modified: September 1, 2012 at 9:17 pm •  Published: September 1, 2012
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Scott Tolzien had no idea where he stood in the competition to win the San Francisco 49ers third and final quarterback spot after Thursday's final preseason game against San Diego.

If it were based on the final game, that nod would have gone to Josh Johnson. Going into his fifth season, Johnson was nearly flawless against the Chargers, completing 9 of 14 passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns. Tolzien, meanwhile, was 3 of 8 for 42 yards with an interception.

Fortunately for Tolzien, the decision encompassed more than just the preseason finale and included his time serving as the team's No. 3 quarterback last season.

After spending much of Friday morning doing laundry and catching up with friends and family, Tolzien finally got a call from his agent, Joe Panos, who informed him the team was bringing him back for a second season.

"It was awesome news and I'm pumped to be here," Tolzien said. "The work was put in at that point and there was nothing you can do, but just wait."

Johnson, who played for coach Jim Harbaugh at the University of San Diego, appeared in 26 games with five starts over four years with Tampa Bay before signing with the 49ers on March 22.

He and Tolzien traded text messages Friday night after the 49ers made their decision.

"I wish Josh the best. He's a good quarterback," Tolzien said. "That was so evident Thursday night during the game. Josh has got some good years ahead of him and that's not me trying to sugar-coat anything. I really think a lot of him as a quarterback and as a person. Hopefully he gets a great opportunity and I feel confident he'll make the most of it."

Harbaugh said little about what went into his decision to keep Tolzien.

"I can't tell you how close it was," Harbaugh said. "It was a dead heat, both those players made a great argument for both of them to help our team win on any given Sunday. It was close in the beginning, it remained close all the way through and it was a tough decision."