Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk physically and mentally prepared for breakout season

Aug 5, 2022 at 3:12 PM--

"I'm in a whole other place [compared to last season]," quarterback Trey Lance said on KNBR after Friday's practice. "I can't even imagine going back to last year. But yeah, everything has definitely slowed down."

Lance isn't the only San Francisco 49ers player who has made mental leaps this offseason. Brandon Aiyuk has draw consistent praise from his teammates, with many saying the third-year wideout is having an amazing training camp.

Aiyuk also joined KNBR on Friday. He was asked to discuss his progress compared to last year.

"Last year was my first real training camp (COVID limited things in 2020)," Aiyuk shared, "so being able to leave, and come back, and know what to expect coming into training camp helped with everything—physically, mentally. Physically, being able to be in the right spot. Mentally, being able to understand what it's going to take on a day-to-day basis.

"On my days off, like yesterday, just being able to just take time to myself, and just kind of unwind, and release some of the tension that you have from training camp days. And be able to come back and start the weeks refreshed, and start over again, and just continue to build."

The chemistry between Lance and Aiyuk is building. The two spent a lot of time together this offseason, working out together and getting to know each other.

"He worked his butt off this offseason," Lance said of Aiyuk. "He was locked in every single day, completely. I don't even want to say different from last year, but just from a mindset standpoint, you could tell by the way he came to work every single day in the offseason. Whether it was Monday, Sunday, Saturday, whatever it was, he was taking care of his body, getting IVs, getting a massage, whatever it was.

"The work came first for him, this whole entire offseason. I've been telling people all offseason this is going to be a big year for B.A. Just the way he worked, the way he went about his business. Honestly, Deebo not being there for OTAs, I think was awesome for him. He led that room and still is leading that room. And he got to show the young guys how to do it."

Aiyuk went on to share what he saw from Lance this offseason, and why he believes the quarterback exudes leadership traits.

"I told him, 'You were born to play the quarterback position,'" Aiyuk said. "Just the way that he carries himself, just how he acts. When we were hanging out in Southern California, just the way he goes from day to day, you can tell he's a quarterback if you didn't know who he was. And you start to see it on the field.

"When we don't hit on something, he comes back, and he's just talking. You can tell it's not forced, it's not like he has to do that, but he just wants to talk. He just wants to hear what you think or what he may want you to do next time. But it's a natural leadership. He's the definition of quarterback in this league."

Lance will have a potent one-two punch at the wide receiver position thanks to Aiyuk's improvement and Deebo Samuel finally being signed to a long-term extension. That's going to open things up for other offensive weapons.

"I think everybody's starting to kind of click, and we're getting better, and we see it every day," Aiyuk added.

You can listen to the entire conversation with Aiyuk below.

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