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Kyle Shanahan shares his side of ‘words’ with Brandon Aiyuk that led to 49ers receiver’s turnaround

Dec 3, 2021 at 7:34 AM


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San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk has turned things around this season. Everyone expected big things from the second-year receiver, and he stalled out of the gate. He's excelled over the last five games, though, hauling in 23 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns in that span.

Last month, Aiyuk partially credited a conversation (or conversations) with Kyle Shanahan for his impressive turnaround. The receiver shared that he and his coach had "some words," leading many to believe there was at least some sort of verbal confrontation between the two.

Even the team's general manager weighed in on the topic.

"I was there at one particular meeting — I think the one Brandon was referencing — around the bye week, where they had a really good dialogue," John Lynch said last month. "I was in there. I kind of felt like the guy, Robert Wuhl, in Bull Durham, where I'm kind of like, 'Alright.' You know, I'm standing in between them.

"But they both got some things off their chest, but it was very productive. And they had an honest conversation. And I think that led to Brandon understanding kind of what the frustrations were."

Shanahan joined KNBR on Friday morning and shared his side of the story, which sounded less confrontational than initially portrayed.

"Brandon's got a funny way of communicating, and I understand it very well," Shanahan said on the Murph & Mac show. "A lot of people have asked me that because he said we 'had words.' When you say we 'had words,' it comes off as [something more confrontational]. But it wasn't like that at all.

"We had good words, a good dialogue, a good discussion. Not just one. Probably about 100 of them. So, it's something that we've got a good relationship. He knows I push him hard, but I think he knows what my intent is. My intent is to get him to be the best receiver he can be, so he can help the Niners. And his goal is to be the best receiver he can be, one, so he can help the Niners, but [also] so he can support his family and have a hell of a career.

"So we both have the same goal, and we both need each other to reach those goals."

We may see Aiyuk's role increase even more on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, with the 49ers' leading receiver, Deebo Samuel, expected to miss the game.

You can listen to the entire conversation with Shanahan below.

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