Jason Schepler hopes his absence from the San Francisco 49ers is just temporary.
The former Sycamore High and Northern Illinois tight end was released by the Niners on Monday, but Schepler told the Daily Chronicle that 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh said there would be a good opportunity for him to be back with the team when training camp opens.
After catching three passes for 65 yards and a touchdown for the Huskies in 2012, where he was a key blocker in a rushing attack which ranked 12th in the Football Bowl Subdivision (238.2 yards per game), Schepler signed with the 49ers in May and attended organized team aActivities.
Following NIU's season, Schepler bulked up to 290 pounds for the possibility that a team could sign him as an offensive lineman. He plans to work on getting down to around 270, and thought that could have played a factor in his release.
Schepler worked out at both tight end and fullback with San Francisco.
"I put on all that weight for offensive line, now I need to take that off," he said.
The 49ers signed safety Raymond Ventrone to replace Schepler. During OTAs, players worked out without pads. Coaching staffs can have trouble getting a gauge on a player like Schepler, who excels in run blocking, when there aren't any pads involved.
"They told me before I left that they just want to look at me when I get the pads on. I'm a physical player," he said. "... It's hard to evaluate run blocking when you don't have pads on."
Schepler still got the opportunity to get a taste of the NFL, and for the defending NFC champs on top of it.
If all goes well, he'll get another chance in July, whether it's for the Niners or another team.
"It was awesome. As far as the atmosphere, it's like an electric atmosphere out there. Everybody wants to be there that's on that team, they're all excited," Schepler said. "... The veterans are nice, they come and introduce themselves to you. Nobody had a big ego out there."