Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

49ers minicamp, Day 1 notebook: Deebo, Bosa, Williams return

Rohan Chakravarthi
Jun 7, 2022 at 6:45 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers began their mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, electing to move their practices up one week after originally scheduling practice from June 13th-15th.

The three-day minicamp will now end on Thursday and represents the continuation of Phase 3 of the offseason program, where live contact isn't allowed, but teams can continue practicing 11-on-11s.

Here are the biggest headlines from Tuesday for the 49ers:

1. Deebo Samuel, Nick Bosa, Trent Williams return; Jimmy Garoppolo not present

During OTAs, head coach Kyle Shanahan informed the media that he expected all three of his stars to return for mandatory minicamp, including disgruntled wideout Deebo Samuel, who publicly requested a trade prior to the NFL Draft, via ESPN's Jeff Darlington.

Shanahan's words came to be true as all three players reported for minicamp, with Bosa and Williams in uniform practicing, and Samuel doing individual work on the sidelines.

When asked about the relationship between the team and Samuel, Shanahan assured the media that it has been fine, contrary to reports.

"I think it's always been alright," Shanahan responded. "I mean, I know we go through the business part of this league and things like that, but I don't think the relationship was ever too far away to not get it back to normal. And I think we're working on that. Any time you're away from each other for a while, it's always harder, but it's good to get him back in here, and start getting around the guys again."

However, despite Samuel being in the building, Shanahan doesn't anticipate the fourth-year receiver practicing this week, which quarterback Trey Lance later alluded to as well.

"I'll talk to him about it [potentially practicing this week]," Shanahan said. "I think us not being around each other much, I don't think that's smart for the team or him. So that's not something I'm really counting on him doing, but I'll see where he's at, but I think he'll be all right with it too."

As for Nick Bosa, Shanahan actually stated that contract negotiations haven't begun between the two sides, although there is more time given that the 49ers picked up Bosa's fifth-year option for the 2023 NFL season earlier this offseason.

2. WR Danny Gray doesn't practice

After a week in which multiple defenders were raving about his speed, rookie wide receiver Danny Gray sat out Tuesday's practice with a hamstring injury that could sideline him for the remainder of the week.

"[The hamstring injury is] why he's out this week, and will most likely be out next week," Shanahan said.

While Gray possesses a unique deep-threat ability for the 49ers, the hamstring injuries could certainly be a factor to look for if they prove to be recurring.

However, as of now, it appears the injury is nothing serious and that the 49ers are simply electing to be cautious with their third-round selection.

3. DE Dee Ford likely to be released pending a physical

After an offseason of anticipation in regards to Dee Ford and his injuries, it appears the 49ers have finally come to terms with an imminent solution.

On Tuesday, Kyle Shanahan informed the media that Dee Ford will arrive at the facility sometime this week to take a physical, although he has been excused from minicamp activities, similar to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

"He's going to come in. He's been excused from minicamp," head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters on Tuesday. "I think he's coming in to get his physical later this week. But no, he's not doing anything with us."

Shanahan went a step further, bluntly stating that he doesn't expect Ford to be on the team in 2022.

"I know we've gotten a good bill of health from his doctors, saying how good he is in this spot," Shanahan said. "We're going to check him out with our physical. I do not expect him to be on our team. But those are the [two] options that could happen."

A passed physical could lead to Ford's release, which would save the 49ers $1.12 million in 2022, as well as a roster spot.

4. QB Jimmy Garoppolo to practice in training camp?

The constant uncertainty surrounding quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo continued Tuesday as Shanahan expects the veteran quarterback to join his teammates in training camp should he remain on the roster by then.

"[If] Jimmy's under contract with us, and he's healthy, right now, I would see him coming to practice [during training camp] unless we traded him," Shanahan said.

However, Garoppolo currently isn't with the team, as NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that Garoppolo has been excused from minicamp by the team as he continues to rehab from shoulder surgery.

"All his rehab is down in L.A., so for him to stop and come up here for a three-day minicamp doesn't make much sense for him or for us," Shanahan said. "So we want him to stay with his rehab."

While many expect the 30-year-old quarterback to be moved by that point, it could build to a very interesting storyline come training camp.

5. C Jake Brendel gets a vote of confidence from teammates, coaches

Following Alex Mack's retirement, center Jake Brendel appears to be the current favorite to start at the position, as he received much praise from his coaches and teammates.

"Jake made our team last year as our backup center and if you do that, you better believe that all backup guys have the ability to start," Shanahan said. "And then when they get that opportunity, how long can they do it for? But we had a lot of confidence in Jake last year to make the team. And if Mack would have ever missed a game or something, we wouldn't have hesitated and we would have gone into that game very confident with him."

The 49ers weren't caught off-guard by Alex Mack's retirement. They believe in the players they have in their locker room, and look forward to the training camp battle at the position.

"We knew Mack retiring was a chance, was hoping he wouldn't," Shanahan shared. "And it went all the way up into free agency and we don't want to make a big thing and go chase stuff, especially with a player that we've had in here who has done a good job and he's shown us in here that he can do it. We also have guys like [OL Daniel] Brunskill who's done it before and I think we have some young guys who can do it. So we're in this situation, we knew Mack had a chance to leave, but you don't want to take that risk. Just stockpiling other players when you can do that at other positions, especially when you guys have some guys in house we believe can do it. And we have to work them hard throughout OTAs, throughout training camp and we'll come up with the best guy and then you'll see how long he can do it over the year."

Brendel does have a connection with offensive line coach Chris Foerster, and came into San Francisco from the Miami Dolphins, where the two spent time together.

"Chris [Foerster] is the one that brought [Brendel] to our attention," Shanahan said. "Just him having him in Miami. He was a big fan of his there. We got him in, I believe during the COVID year, he had some things that he opted out, went right down to that last minute. We were able to get him back and last year was our first year with him and yeah, Chris talked highly of him and he's been better than advertised."

Trey Lance also shared his thoughts on the veteran center, adding that Brendel handles most of the protections as the center, while also citing their experience from playing with the second team last season.

"I got to spend a lot of time with Jake," Lance said. "Obviously, I took all my reps pretty much with Jake, and Jimmy [Garoppolo] was with Alex [Mack] last year. Obviously, you know [it was] sad [because] I wanted to play with Alex for sure, but super excited about Jake."

Lance also mentioned Brendel's athletic ability, which has proven to be important for the 49ers at the offensive line position.

"His athletic ability, I think, is one thing that stands out about him."

Brendel is certainly in the mix to start at center, although Kyle Shanahan mentioned Daniel Brunskill as a player who could end up being in the mix due to his experience at center in 2020.

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