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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Will Mohamed Sanu play vs. Jets? 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan offers hints

Sep 16, 2020 at 3:57 PM--

The earliest new San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Mohammed Sanu will get onto the practice field will be on Friday. He has to go through the COVID-19 protocols before joining his new teammates for the first time. Until then, he is attending meetings virtually and working on getting up to speed as quickly as possible.

Given the constraints, it might be safe to assume that Sanu probably won't play on Sunday when the 49ers travel to MetLife Stadium to face the New York Jets.

Not so fast.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan noted on Wednesday that Sanu's experience within the offense means anything is possible. The receiver played a season under Shanahan when the coach was an offensive coordinator in Atlanta.

"He only had one year away from it and did some very similar verbiage and stuff in Atlanta, even after I left," Shanahan said. "So, he's familiar with it. ... He can't be here, but he has an idea of the game plan, can see it all."

Shanahan and the 49ers didn't have an opportunity to meet with Sanu face to face before signing him. That's where the coach's familiarity with the receiver also benefited.

Sanu flew to the Bay Area on Tuesday night, shortly after agreeing to a contract, and is staying nearby.

"He'll be able to get out there at practice (on Friday), which is a half-speed practice anyways," Shanahan continued. "Mo will do his part. He's a pro. He'll learn his responsibilities, what he has to do, and basically the decision of whether he'll play or not probably is going to depend with the health of our other receivers and how that goes this week."

The 49ers are minus several receivers. Deebo Samuel is out until at least Week 4 as he recovers from a Jones fracture. Richie James is dealing with a hamstring injury. Rookie Brandon Aiyuk, also dealing with a hamstring injury, was a full participant in practice on Wednesday for the first time since August.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is already a little familiar with Sanu. That will be helpful as the two begin work to build an on-field rapport quickly.

"I've seen a lot of tape on him, just from watching Kyle's offense in the past and things that he's done in it," Garoppolo said on Wednesday. "Heard tremendous things from all the coaches, so we're excited to get him in here. It'll be a quick turnaround, but he's been in this offense before, so hopefully, he could pick things up right where he left off."

Shanahan sounded as if he has little doubt that Sanu will be ready if called upon for Sunday's game.

"If need be, if we need the numbers out there, he'll be ready," the coach said.

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