March 06, 2017

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) The San Francisco 49ers told receiver Torrey Smith that they plan to release him before the start of the league year Thursday, just two years after giving him a big free-agent contract.

A person with direct knowledge of the decision on Monday confirmed the move on condition of anonymity because the 49ers hadn't formally announced a decision to part ways with Smith.

Smith later thanked the 49ers on his Instagram account for his time in San Francisco.

''It didn't go the way we wanted it to but I'm thankful for the relationships I was able to build,'' he wrote. ''I had a great time in the locker room with my teammates and equipment staff. I'd like to apologize to the fans because you didn't get to see me at my best. Regardless of what other may think, I believe the 49ers organization is first class and is heading in the right direction.''

The Niners won just seven games in Smith's two seasons in San Francisco after he signed a five-year, $40 million contract with $22 million guaranteed. They fired coach Jim Tomsula after Smith's first season and coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke after the team went 2-14 in 2016 to match the worst record in franchise history.

The team hired general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan as part of a rebuilding project this offseason. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick opted out of his contract last week to become a free agent, leaving the team with no quarterback on the roster and only one wide receiver, Jeremy Kerley, with more than 20 career catches.

The 28-year-old Smith caught 53 passes for 930 yards and seven touchdowns in two seasons with the 49ers as he never became the deep threat that he was with the Ravens when he helped Baltimore beat San Francisco in the Super Bowl following the 2012 season.

Smith had just 20 catches for 267 yards last season before missing the final three games with a concussion.

In six seasons, Smith has 266 catches for 4,521 yards and 37 touchdowns.

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AP Sports Writer Josh Dubow contributed to this report

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