SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — Center Ben Garland, who stepped in late in the season when San Francisco starter Weston Richburg was lost with a torn patellar tendon, has signed a one-year deal to remain with the 49ers.

With three games left in the regular season, Richburg got his legs tangled up and went down with the season ending injury. Garland stepped in and the offensive line never missed a beat as the team won the NFC Championship and played in the Super Bowl.

“Ben stepped in at a critical point in our season last year and did a great job,” said 49ers General Manager John Lynch. “He is a versatile interior lineman who battles every play and gives you everything he has. Off the field, Ben is one of the most active NFL players in the community and we are privileged to have him representing the 49ers and the Bay Area.”

Garland originally joined the 49ers after signing with the team as a free agent on April 23, 2019. Last season, he appeared in nine games, including starting the final three regular season games and the team’s three postseason contests at center.

He entered the NFL after signing with the Denver Broncos as an undrafted rookie free agent on April 30, 2010 out of the United States Air Force Academy. That year, the Broncos placed him on the Reserve/Military List to serve his two-year military commitment.

Garland returned to the Broncos in 2012, spent two years on the team’s practice squad and appeared in eight games with the team in 2014 along the defensive line. On September 9, 2015, he signed with the Atlanta Falcons and spent the majority of the season on the practice squad prior to being promoted to the active roster on December 15, 2015.

In 2018, Garland was the recipient of the NFL Salute to Service Award, honoring his efforts of support to the former and present members of the military. Last season, he was the recipient of the 49ers Perry/Yonamine Unity Award which is present to the player who exhibits an exceptional commitment to promoting unity within the team and in their community.

A 31-year-old native of Grand Junction, CO, Garland appeared in 39 games (34 starts) at Air Force and registered 115 tackles, 11.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and two blocked kicks on special teams. As a senior in 2009, he appeared in 13 games and finished with 45 tackles, 4.5 sacks, two passes defensed and one forced fumble.