Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk “motivated to bounce back” vs. Eagles

Rohan Chakravarthi
Sep 17, 2021 at 11:35 AM--

San Francisco WR Brandon Aiyuk had a dud performance last week, stat-sheet-wise, as he compiled zero catches for zero yards with zero rushes. His complement WR Trent Sherfield caught two passes for 23 yards on three targets while also playing one more snap than Aiyuk.

This raised concerns for the second-year wide receiver, who came off an impressive rookie campaign where he caught 60 passes for 748 yards on just 12 games played, with 11 of those being starts.

However, Aiyuk is coming off of a lingering hamstring injury that he faced in the offseason, which allowed Sherfield to get more reps and rapport with the two quarterbacks in practice.

Still, with the talent Aiyuk displayed last season, the 49ers certainly haven't "given up" on their first-round pick from last year, as GM John Lynch went on KNBR and expressed his desire for Aiyuk to 'really assert himself' and become a true No.1 wide receiver for the team.

Aiyuk was made available to reporters after practice Friday, hours after Kyle Shanahan said that he wants Aiyuk to earn his spot back and that he had a good week of practice heading into the Eagles matchup.

During the media session, Aiyuk expressed the difficulty of being a pro football player and his mindset to bounce back, especially after the hamstring injury he suffered earlier this offseason.

"I've already started to understand in this league that it's never really just a steady path to the top," Aiyuk said. "So, you're gonna have really high moments, low moments, but I think it's all about just how you refocus, how you rebalance and get back on track afterwards."

Aiyuk reiterated that he felt this moment was an opportunity, rather than feeling like he was thrown in the doghouse by the team, and eyes to move forward.

"I look at it that way. I look at it as an opportunity," Aiyuk said. "I look at it as a way to just [get] extra motivation to come out here, get back in line, get back to focus, and continue to move forward."

In addition, the 23-year old receiver expressed his focus on developing a routine over the course of a full season so that the transitional period of back to game speed is easier for him.

"Definitely. Stuff changes a little bit," Aiyuk said. "You have different things that you have to focus on. But I just the main this is just finding a routine. The days of practice aren't going to change too much, and the lows aren't going to change too much. So I think once you figure out what you need to do, setting a plan for like 18 weeks, 19 weeks, and just sticking to it, I think it gets a lot better and a lot easier."

With Deebo Samuel likely to get extra attention on Sunday following his nine-catch, 189-yard performance against the Lions, look for Aiyuk to bounce back in the reps he gets as the team incorporates him more into the game plan.

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