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49ers-Titans: Azeez Al-Shaair ‘trending in the right direction,’ says John Lynch

Dec 21, 2021 at 11:00 AM--


It would be nice to see San Francisco 49ers linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair back on the football field on Thursday night against the Tennessee Titans. The emerging star defender is dealing with an elbow sprain sustained during Week 14 against the Cincinnati Bengals. He was inactive on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.

General manager John Lynch joined KNBR on Tuesday morning and provided an encouraging update on Al-Shaair.

"Azeez is doing well," Lynch told Adam Copeland and Marcus Thompson. "Really, what I appreciate about Azeez is he loves playing the game. And so, he tried like heck to get back for Sunday. It probably wasn't realistic but when you take that approach, I think you're a lot closer for the next week.

"I think he's trending in the right direction. We'll see [about] the pain threshold. He's been outstanding for us. ... I think Azeez has clearly [taken the next step in his career], and he's a difference-maker for us out there. ... He's so respected in our locker room and throughout our organization."

On Monday morning, head coach Kyle Shanahan jumped on a conference call with reporters and said that Al-Shaair and rookie running back Elijah Mitchell (knee) would likely be game-day decisions.

"We're holding out hope they'll be ready to go [on Thursday]," Shanahan said. "I know it's a short turnaround here. They obviously weren't ready to go [on Sunday against the Falcons], but we're not going to have any full practices this week. But if they can go, we'll definitely let them go. So, we'll probably have to take it all the way up to kickoff."

This has been a breakout season for Al-Shaair. The linebacker has recorded 96 tackles, nine tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, and five passes defensed this season. All are career-highs. He's also hauled in an interception, forced a fumble, and earned two fumble recoveries.

The 49ers signed Al-Shaair as an undrafted free agent out of Florida Atlantic in 2019.

You can listen to the entire conversation with Lynch below.




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