The San Francisco 49ers have more talent at the inside linebacker spot than they did a year ago. All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman is returning from a torn Achilles that he suffered in October. The injury came nearly 13 months after he returned to the football field from ACL and MCL tears. Bowman is looking to make an impact in 2017 and is not looking to step aside and allow someone else to take his place.

During the 49ers' offseason program, Bowman has been a full participant in practices. "From what I've seen just watching him, I would have never known that [he was coming off the injury] just by watching him," 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said on Tuesday. "He looks like the guy I've seen on tape over the years."

This week, Bowman has been competing for snaps with rookie Reuben Foster and free agency acquisition Malcolm Smith. Bowman understands the situation. There are only two starting inside linebacker spots and the 49ers have three guys competing.

Shanahan said that, despite how he has looked in practices, they can't predict how healthy Bowman will be this season. Adding Smith and Foster has vastly improved the defense and added some competition.

"We got a lot better pretty fast," Shanahan said. "When you ask me about how it's going to play out, I'm not sure and it's a good problem to have. It's something that you would actually like to have at every position. In my opinion, there's going to be a very good player that's not out there all the time and that's not a bad thing. That makes the two guys that are out there go a lot harder and play better. It makes your special teams better. And it allows you to survive injuries which almost always happen."

What did Bowman think about the 49ers using a first-round selection on Foster in the 2017 NFL Draft? He was fine with it.

"You never know how a player is going to react to that," Shanahan said. "Especially when you have someone who's had a ton of success in his career. I remember after we drafted Reuben, out of respect to Bo, I gave him a call that night and asked him to come and talk to me," Shanahan said. "Bo's like, 'Coach, I'm good. I'm out golfing. It's no problem. I'll see you at work.' He ended up coming in. Bo got it. He wasn't too worried about it and so he made it very easy."

Bowman does not figure to be the odd man out at inside linebacker. Reporters asked Bowman what he thought about the competition at inside linebacker.

"I won't be on the sideline," Bowman responded. "I can tell you that."

"I'll compete with anyone, whether he's 21 or 35," Bowman continued. "It doesn't matter. I'm a guy who's going to give my best effort and have full confidence in my abilities to play this game. I know how much I study this game."

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