NFL

49ers release three-time Pro Bowl safety Antoine Bethea

The San Francisco 49ers released safety Antoine Bethea on Tuesday, two days before the official start of free agency. Bethea spent the past three seasons with the 49ers and led the team in tackles last season with a career-high 110.

"Antoine is a true professional in every sense and I have a great deal of respect for the way he has gone about his business throughout his career," San Francisco general manager John Lynch said, via the team's website. "We would like to thank him for the positive impact he has had on this team both as a player and as a leader, on and off the field. We wish Antoine, and his family, great success in the future."

The 32-year-old safety was named to the Pro Bowl three times, including his first year with the 49ers. Bethea, who was due $5.75 million in 2017, spent his first eight years in the league with the Colts after being drafted in the sixth round in 2006.

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