Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports


What Kyle Shanahan, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Fred Warner said about ex-49ers defender DeForest Buckner

Oct 20, 2021 at 2:57 PM--


Sunday will be a bit of a homecoming for defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. It will be the first time the defensive tackle has returned to Levi's Stadium since the San Francisco 49ers traded him to the Indianapolis Colts last year.

"I know it's going to feel weird once I get to the stadium, and get to the opponent's locker room, and little things like that," Buckner told reporters via a conference call this morning. "It's definitely going to be kind of weird, but I'm excited."

While Buckner is arriving as an opponent, there remain a lot of familiar faces on the 49ers sideline, including head coach Kyle Shanahan.

"Yeah, I miss Buck a lot," Shanahan told reporters before today's practice. "I knew we would, and that was a very tough decision, not one that we wanted to do. One that, going through all the situations, looking at the money, the contract of the salary, the salary cap that year, we just came off a big season with how well our defense played, and we had a number of guys that were up that year as unrestricted free agents. They weren't two years away.

"We also knew we had guys in the future we had to pay. So, wanted to keep Buck bad, but we had to look at all that stuff that went into it, and there's lots of things that go into it. But it wasn't something we were high-fiving or anything over after it happened. It came down to, 'Do you want to pay this amount of money to one guy, or do you want to keep two of the guys you already have that you will lose, plus add a 13th pick in the draft?'

"So, it had nothing to do with not valuing Buck or anything like that. It was the situation of that year and that we didn't want to lose two players and a 13th pick in the draft. So, a tough decision we had to make."

Linebacker Fred Warner spoke about his former defensive teammate, revealing that the two remain in contact despite being separated by about 2,000 miles.

"We talk frequently," Warner said. "He was one of the first ones to congratulate me when I did sign my deal. I've been super happy for his success over there in Indy. He's continued to take strides and leaps in his game, and he's just a heck of a player. Yeah, really happy for him."

While Warner won't directly deal with Buckner on the field this weekend, Jimmy Garoppolo probably will. The quarterback was asked about his former teammate's impact in the locker room.

"DeFo was a great locker room guy, great teammate, great friend," Garoppolo shared. "Just a really great individual. He really was. I can remember when I first got here, DeFo was one of the first guys to come up to me, and I knew his name and everything but didn't really know him personally. He was very welcoming.

"I mean, a guy of his stature, you know, he has a presence about him. And so that's the tough part of the business to see guys go like that, but I've been on both sides of it and seen it. So it'll be cool to see him, but yeah, it's business, I guess."





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