Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Aiyuk grateful for eye-opening conversations with 49ers, leading to turnaround

Dec 15, 2021 at 5:24 PM--

Brandon Aiyuk said in November that he had "some words" with his head coach, Kyle Shanahan. That created headlines following the San Francisco 49ers wide receiver's turnaround this season. The use of "some words" had a confrontational feel, as if it took some harsh criticisms from the coach to turn things around. However, ensuing reports made it clear that the conversation was probably more civil than the initial chatter indicated.

A lot of good came from Aiyuk's talks with Shanahan. On Wednesday, the second-year wideout joined KNBR and explained how he benefited from the forthright conversations.

"I think that was just an opportunity for them, talking to me about what they feel, what I need to get done, and where they see things at," Aiyuk said on the Murph & Mac show. "And I think that was just an opportunity for me to see it in a way that I haven't seen it before or heard it before. So, I think that conversation was great.

"And that was pretty much what it was, just clearing the air and just getting on common ground so we can move forward."

Those types of honest conversations can be difficult to hear for some players. But, for Aiyuk, it opened his eyes to the 49ers' expectations for the young receiver.

"I was glad to actually hear it because I was able to understand what they were seeing," Aiyuk explained, "and what they were thinking, and how they thought because we thought completely different. I think [it was great] for them to get it out that way and for me to get on the same page as them."

Earlier this month, Shanahan described his conversations with Aiyuk as civil and productive.

"We had good words, a good dialogue, a good discussion," Shanahan said. "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."

Aiyuk had an impressive rookie campaign, hauling in 60 passes for 748 receiving yards and five touchdowns through 12 game appearances. Understandably, the early success might have gone to the receiver's head.

Aiyuk hadn't arrived quite yet, though. He now realizes that there is much more to being a professional if he wants sustained success. That's something some first-year players never understand, thinking they will carry their college success into the NFL.

"I think people say it a lot," Aiyuk said of the term "learning to be a pro." "I heard it a lot coming out of college, but you don't really know exactly what that means until you get here, and you have coaches like this who tell you what it is to actually be a pro. Everybody comes into the league and just believes that they're a pro, and that's not the case. That's what I thought, and that was definitely not the case.

"So, I'm definitely learning how to be a professional all the way, in the building, how you carry yourself. Not just on the football field but how you walk around, as well."

The lessons have paid off. After a slow start, Aiyuk's production has increased. He has 41 receptions for 549 receiving yards and four touchdowns through 13 games this season, and could be a big reason why the 49ers return to the playoffs.

You can listen to the entire conversation with Aiyuk below.

Facebook Comments

More San Francisco 49ers News

Why Trey Lance will help 49ers receiver Brandon Aiyuk reach his full potential

By Bob Heyrman
May 8

Don't be surprised to see Brandon Aiyuk breakout with Trey Lance under center in 2022 for the San Francisco 49ers. Just when many of us expected the Arizona State product to take a significant step forward in year two, he clearly began the year as an afterthought in the 49ers' offense. As a rookie, Aiyuk proved to be the perfect complement to star receiver Deebo Samuel and tight end George Kittle hauling in 60 receptions, for 748 yards, and five touchdowns on 96 targets. Aiyuk also scored a pair of rushing touchdowns on six carries. Last season, the 24-year-old Aiyuk only had 13 receptions on

49ers to face Cardinals in Mexico City on November 21

By David Bonilla
May 4

The San Francisco 49ers will take part in an international game in 2022. They will be the designated road team, traveling to face the "home team" Arizona Cardinals at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on November 21 (Week 11)—a primetime matchup on ESPN's Monday Night Football. It's the first NFL game in Mexico since 2019 when the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Los Angeles Chargers 24-17. 49ers will play the Cardinals at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on Nov 21.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 4,

Nick Bosa, Trey Lance among those who immediately welcomed Drake Jackson to the 49ers

By David Bonilla
May 4

It was amazing for new San Francisco 49ers defensive end Drake Jackson to hear his name called on Friday night during the second day of the 2022 NFL Draft. His new teammate, Arik Armstead, announced the pick. Even more amazing for the 21-year-old defender was having several of his new 49ers teammates, including Armstead and Nick Bosa, immediately reach out to him. "It's crazy. I talked to both of them," Jackson said Wednesday morning on KNBR's Murph & Mac show. "Nick Bosa texted me. Arik Armstead FaceTimed me right after. ... Trey Lance had called me. Emmanuel Moseley hit me up. I was astounded. I'm like, 'Damn, this is crazy.' Everybody hitting me up off the team, but they're kind of like legends too. I'm fanboying, but I've got to be professional

Why PFF believes Trey Lance is in a good situation with 49ers in 2022

By David Bonilla
May 4

Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Trey Lance, Justin Fields, and Mac Jones. Those are the former first-round quarterbacks set to enter their second NFL seasons. Lawrence and Jones started all 17 games in 2021. Wilson started 13, and Fields started 10. Lance earned just two starts. However, that doesn't mean the soon-to-be 22-year-old San Francisco 49ers quarterback isn't set up for success. Analyst Sam Monson ranked the current team situations for the NFL's top second-year quarterbacks in 2022. Zach Wilson topped the list after the New York Jets' offseason efforts to build around their own 22-year-old quarterback. Right behind him, though, is Lance, who comes in at No. 2. That makes sense. After all, he's on a team that has been to the NFC title game twice in the past three


Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone