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Chip Kelly told management that he wanted Vance McDonald back

Dec 12, 2016 at 12:36 PM--


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San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly met with the media today and one of the topics that he touched on was TE Vance McDonald, who signed a five-year extension with the team reportedly worth up to $35 million. McDonald was scheduled to become a free agent after this season and was coming to the end of his four-year, $3.6 million rookie contract. He was selected by the 49ers in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Rice.

At the end of the first half of Sunday's overtime loss to the New York Jets, McDonald left the game with a shoulder injury. Kelly did not have an update on the injury and said that he is waiting to hear from the team's medical staff on the condition of the tight end. Included in that update will be the condition of C Daniel Kilgore, who Kelly said injured his knee against the Jets.

"We've got to find out about Kilgore and Vance today," Kelly told reporters. "Those would be the two (injuries) that would be the most pressing to find out if they'd be able to go here. Those are the ones I'm most concerned about and, again, I meet with Jeff [Ferguson] at 1:30 today."



Kelly was asked about the extension that McDonald signed last week and what he sees out of the tight end to indicate that he should be around long-term. "I think he fits in very nicely in terms of what we're trying to do," Kelly said. "I think he's a mismatch in the pass game for some people. If you try to match him with a linebacker, obviously his speed is probably better than any linebacker that is going to cover him. He has a size matchup when you put a defensive back on him. We've exploited some teams with those matchups for us.

"I don't know the number of plays over 60 (yards), but he's had a few of those long catch and runs in mismatch situations where we've found him and the speed that he has at the tight end spot is kind of rare and unique for him. Obviously, he was a guy when you look at the market for tight ends, kind of where he fits you, you're kind of hoping you can keep your own guys home and that was the decision there."

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Kelly was asked if he was asked for the OK to start negotiating an extension for McDonald. "I don't negotiate contracts, but they asked me if I wanted Vance back and I said, 'Yes.'"

That's an interesting statement because there has been some question whether or not Kelly would be returning to the 49ers next season. He has now lost 12 straight games in his inaugural season with San Francisco and while some have said that he is definitely returning in 2017, others aren't so sure. If Kelly were not to be retained by the team, some have questioned the logic of signing a tight end like McDonald who may not necessarily fit into the plans of the next regime.

McDonald is having the best season of his career. He already has 391 yards receiving – a career best. McDonald also has four touchdowns this season.



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