Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers


‘We brought Jet here for a reason’: Kyle Shanahan excited about 49ers RB Jerick McKinnon

Aug 20, 2020 at 5:03 PM--


One of the more intriguing San Francisco 49ers players on offense is running back Jerick McKinnon. He's been with the team since 2018 but hasn't played a regular-season snap since signing.

Heading into the offseason, no one could figure out what to make of McKinnon, who suffered an ACL injury just before the start of his first season with the 49ers, and last year had a setback that forced him to miss another season.

Now, after five training camp practices, many are wondering if a healthy McKinnon can finally be the dynamic weapon that head coach Kyle Shanahan envisioned when he fought for the 49ers to sign the former Minnesota Viking.

Sometimes you can tell how excited Shanahan is about a player by how long he talks about him when asked a question. The coach must be very excited about McKinnon.

"We brought Jet here for a reason a few years ago," Shanahan said during a Thursday-afternoon KNBR on the Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks show. "And we went into that year thinking about adding a receiver in free agency. All the receivers out there, we didn't really think fit the role of what they were all getting paid.

"And we thought there was a running back, who, at the time, we thought could come in here and be our starting running back, but more importantly, be a guy that we got the ball to a lot in the pass game.

"He's had two very bad injuries that were pretty bad luck. It was really one injury that I don't think it healed right, so they had to redo it again, which cost him two years."

Returning from an ACL injury is often more difficult for a running back who relies on cutting and being more elusive than, say, a quarterback. Jimmy Garoppolo suffered the same injury weeks after McKinnon, but went on to start 16 games the next season.

"You always worry about that, with the severity of those injuries, if they can come back and be the same guy," the coach added.

Shanahan has said that McKinnon didn't look right during training camp last year. That prompted the 49ers to make the tough decision to shelve him for another season. It sounds like the team made the right call.

"What Jet has done, just the way he's worked in these two offseasons, it's been pretty frustrating for him, but he hasn't given up on it," Shanahan continued. "He's stayed positive. To watch him out here, just for a week, he's healthy, he looks good.

"He's under control, he's smooth, he can do all the stuff in the pass game and the run game, and he's got a quiet confidence out there because — we're not trying to put any bad luck on him — he's been looking good. And we just hope he can keep going at it each day because we're really excited about the player we have."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Shanahan below.






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