Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers


Kyle Shanahan wants Brandon Aiyuk to earn his spot back, says receiver isn’t in 49ers’ doghouse

Sep 17, 2021 at 9:07 AM--


San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan joined KNBR's Murph & Mac show this morning and threw cold water on the heated rumors that wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk is in his doghouse. The second-year player had an impressive rookie campaign last season, and high expectations prefaced his sophomore NFL season.

In Week 1, Aiyuk split playing time with Trent Sherfield and wasn't targeted against the Detroit Lions. It had nothing to do with the young receiver being in Shanahan's doghouse, though. The coach wanted to dispel those rumors and once again explain Aiyuk's reduced role.

"No. It's not a doghouse. It's just a pretty simple thing," Shanahan said. "Trent Sherfield has played at a very high level every single day for the entire training camp. Aiyuk got off to a little bit of a slow start, and Trent was playing very well. Then when Aiyuk started to catch him, and, to me, was about to go by him, which was going to be the third preseason game, where I think you guys would have seen that, and he would have got that spot completely back, he tweaked his hamstring.

"And then he has about 10 days off, and his first practice was Wednesday before the Detroit game. So we planned on going into that completely rotating them and giving Trent the spot. One, because Aiyuk hadn't played a lot of football coming off the injury, and two, because Trent Sherfield earned it. And it was nothing more than that."

Aiyuk's setback and Sherfield's emergence resulted in a plan for the two to split time against the Lions. That doesn't mean the 49ers don't have confidence in their former first-round pick. The coach wants to see Aiyuk earn more time on the field.

"And we went in planning to rotate, and that's what they did," Shanahan said. "I think it was 29 plays and 25 plays. But yeah, you get a big reaction over that. And that's tough always on Brandon and stuff like that, but that's how it's been going. I don't think it will stay that long. I hope it doesn't. I want Aiyuk to get that spot back, but Trent Sherfield doesn't make that easy. He has played at a high level. It's not personal. It's just about guys earning spots."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Shanahan below.



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