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San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly met with the media today and discussed the return of outside linebacker and edge rusher Aaron Lynch. Lynch will return to practice today after serving a four-game suspension.
"He'll be practicing today," Kelly said. "He'll be back at training today." Kelly explained that Lynch gets a roster exemption for now as he returns from his suspension. He has been unable to practice with the team since the start of the regular season.
"(The training staff) has said that he's done a really great job working," Kelly said. "We're excited to get him back and get a chance to start working with him again as coaches. He's been available to do everything except be on the field with us so he's been around and we get to see him. And according to [Mark Uyeyama] and the guys in the strength and conditioning room, he's done a great job in his workouts with them. So he'll be a welcome addition today."
"We'll see," Kelley answered when asked if Lynch is expected to play Thursday. "Again, I haven't seen him. But from what they've said, he's worked extremely hard so we're hoping we can get him on the field on Thursday."
When asked what the coaching staff needs to see from Lynch, Kelly said, "Just how good his conditioning is and how he feels. Kind of figure out, if he is ready to play, how many plays can he play. Kind of just see where he is. But he's in tune. One thing about him, he's a really intelligent football player so from a mental standpoint, I don't think that will be an issue. But obviously, the speed of the game and things like that I think obviously – you know, something that you can't simulate when you're out. So he's got to catch back up to that."
"Obviously he's a very talented player," said Kelly of what he brings to the defense. "The ability to set the edge and to rush a passer from the outside is I think something that we'll need as we continue to more forward here. I think those are the two things that we are really looking forward to."
Last season, Lynch had 6.5 sacks last season through 14 games, tying with fellow outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks, and accounted for nearly a quarter of the team's sack total. That was a big jump from the 16-percent he accounted for during his rookie campaign. He has 12.5 sacks in his two competed seasons with the 49ers.