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Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Mohamed Sanu already a big influence on 49ers rookie Brandon Aiyuk

Sep 25, 2020 at 6:45 AM--

For half of last season, the young San Francisco 49ers wide receivers had the benefit of having Emmanuel Sanders around. The veteran had a significant impact on then-rookie Deebo Samuel, who really emerged after the 49ers traded for Sanders.

"Ever since he's been here, you can see kind of things changed a little bit," Samuel said before the Super Bowl. "We kind of got like a true vet in the room. He's been in the league so long, played in Super Bowls. Kind of like the knowledge that he passed down to us, we kind of don't have a choice but to listen to him."

In his ninth NFL season, Mohamed Sanu is now the most experienced player in the wide receiver room. He's the veteran presence. Sanu joined the team just last week, but his influence has already been felt.

One of the receivers who is benefiting from Sanu's experience is rookie Brandon Aiyuk, who made his NFL debut this past Sunday. Aiyuk joined KNBR on Thursday and discussed what having Sanu on the roster over the past week has meant.

"He's given us so much in just, especially, I feel like me, in the past couple of days that he's been here," Aiyuk told Mark Willard. "Even just like today, we have periods (during practice) where we're watching the defense, so we're kind of just sitting around. And he grabbed me, and he's like, 'From now on, we're catching balls every time the defense is going.'

"Just little stuff like that, catching passes to make sure that when we go back out there, our hands are warmed up, and we're catching balls throughout practice. It's just another way to get more balls in throughout the day. Just little stuff like that, and little tips that he gives me when I'm running routes or when I come back from a play on the field, he'll talk to me. He'll always coach me up.

"So, I've gained so much from such a short amount of time, and just try to continue to get as much information from him as I can."

While Sanu joined the 49ers to help elevate head coach Kyle Shanahan's offense, the veteran is willing to do whatever is necessary to help his new team win football games. If that means coaching up youngsters like Aiyuk, much like Sanders did for Samuel, then so be it.

"I just want to help out any way I can, for real," Sanu told reporters on Thursday. "We have a lot of talented young guys that just need some leadership. I feel like I can help in any way possible, whether it's making plays or showing them how to make plays in critical situations because a lot of those guys are going to play and make key plays for our team.

"I just want to make sure they understand how to do it in certain situations or how to put their body where it makes it easy or more efficient for them."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Aiyuk below.

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