Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN speculates on 49ers-Le’Veon Bell connection, Kyle Shanahan says “I’m good with all our guys”

Oct 14, 2020 at 5:36 PM--

Bill Barnwell of ESPN speculated on potential landing spots for recently-released running back Le'Veon Bell, formerly of the New York Jets. And that's really all it was — speculation. Still, the San Francisco 49ers were on Barnwell's list of plausible suitors.

Much of that seems to do with the 49ers' past interest in Bell. The team pursued Bell last year in free agency before the running back agreed to join the Jets. Head coach Kyle Shanahan compared the pursuit of Bell to the team targeting and signing Tevin Coleman.

"The Le'Veon thing was very similar to the Tevin thing," Shanahan explained last year. "That wasn't something that we went in targeting. It kind of fell into us also. And when we realized we had the chance to get that, for something that we definitely didn't expect, we got excited.

"I think it was a little bit more of a tease, which we went through a little bit because we didn't plan to be in it. Then we got close, so we got somewhat excited; a little disappointed when it didn't work out, but we ended up with Tevin the next day."

While the 49ers have a significant amount of depth at the running back position, the team has failed to produce the same potent rushing attack as last season. Coleman has been sidelined since suffering a knee injury during Week 2 but is expected to return soon.

"San Francisco is beat up around its roster," notes Barnwell, "and although it got Raheem Mostert back for Sunday's blowout loss to the Dolphins, virtually every one of its backs has a recent and/or significant injury history.

"I wonder whether the 49ers might get particularly creative with Bell and use him less like a pure running back and more like the sort of hybrid back Gase pretended to suggest Bell might become in New York. Shanahan loves nothing more than having offensive weapons who are threats as both runners and receivers with the ball in their hands. Bell would be another one of those pieces."

Shanahan put any speculation connecting the 49ers and Bell to rest on Wednesday when asked about his potential interest in the eighth-year veteran. It appears the coach is perfectly content with the group of ball-carriers that he has now. He just hopes to produce better results on the football field with his current backs.

"I'm good with all our guys," Shanahan said via a Zoom call. "So, even if Raheem wasn't back, I don't think that would change much. I think we've got pretty good depth, and I know we're going to get Tevin back soon, too, hopefully.

"Raheem played (on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins). I thought Raheem played great. I thought he was probably the best football player on the field on Sunday and wish we could have got the ball to him more, but you could tell he was ready to go."

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