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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Emmanuel Moseley, Arik Armstead return to practice; 49ers CB expects ‘a big season’

Aug 22, 2022 at 4:17 PM--

Emmanuel Moseley returned to team drills on Monday after dealing with a hamstring injury. The San Francisco 49ers cornerback was part of two of Trey Lance's three interceptions during the practice. First, he tipped a pass that landed in the hands of second-year safety Talanoa Hufanga. Later, Moseley hauled in an interception himself.

"It felt good," Moseley said of the interception. "I've been out the last couple of weeks. It sucks. You never want to be out, but I knew, when I got back out there, I need to make some impact plays and get the guys going."

While the picks probably weren't a good look for the 49ers quarterback, it was a good sign that Moseley is finally healthy and ready to step back into his starting cornerback role.

"It was great to have him back out there today and to see him just show up instantly, impacting our defense, making plays, getting an interception, [pass breakup]," defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans said after Monday's practice. "It's fun to have a guy back out there who just loves to compete each and every day, and it's just exciting to see him, on his first day, make plays to help us. So it was fun, and I'm happy to see where E-man is right now."

Moseley admits that these past few weeks have been stressful, bring forced to watch from the sidelines. However, he has been pleased with how the defense played without him. The veteran cornerback feels healthy again, and his goal is to be suited up with his teammates when the 49ers face the Chicago Bears in Week 1.

Moseley, an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee, is entering his fifth NFL season. He's never received the accolades that many of his peers have earned. However, that doesn't mean he views himself as less talented.

"I expect a big season," Moseley said. "When I look at myself, I look at guys making All-Pro, look at Pro Bowl [corners], right now they're on the [NFL Top 100 Players of 2022]. I see myself in all of those. I really believe in myself."

The 49ers invested in the defensive backfield this offseason, signing cornerback Charvarius Ward to a lucrative free-agent contract. How does Moseley feel about the two of them starting on the outside of San Francisco's talented defense?

"I feel good," Moseley answered. "I think me and [Ward], we mesh together good. But we knew that coming in. Whenever they signed him, we knew we had a top corner. And I look at myself as a top corner. I know we can lock guys down. So I think it will be fun during the year."

Moseley believes the only thing he needs to do to prove himself is to stay healthy and play consistent football this season.

The cornerback added, "Stay prayed up. Lord, keep me on the field."

Ryans has been impressed with how Moseley handled being sidelined due to an injury. The cornerback remained relentless in his work ethic, even if he couldn't get onto the practice field with his teammates.

"E-man has handled the past few weeks like a true pro," Ryans said. "I wouldn't expect anything less of him. He's handled it with class. He's handled himself well. He's done a good job of staying attentive in meetings, being in position to help the guys that are out there. And I know he's eager to get back, but you don't want to push things too fast."

Another player who returned to team drills is defensive lineman Arik Armstead. He suffered an MCL sprain during the first practice of training camp.

"I kind of got tripped up and tweaked it," Armstead shared. "And then I kept practicing on it, and it started bothering me."

Armstead never feared that the injury was more severe because he continued during the practice session. It wasn't until later that he learned he would need to miss some time.

"It definitely felt good to get back with my teammates, take the field," Armstead added.

Ryans was happy to get Armstead back and practicing with what should be among the best defensive lines in football.

"Arik's presence, just being out there, inside, his presence, he's a great player in this league," the coach said. "Any time you can get a really great player back to help our defense, it's just fun. And to have not only a great player but to have one of the leaders, true leaders, of our team, not only on defense but a true leader of our team. Just to have him back at practice, being active, for me, it's just uplifting for everyone. I feel the energy from everyone on the defensive side just by having E-man and Arik back today."

All that remains is continuing to put work in, ramping up his workload during practices, and knocking off the rust. Like Moseley, Armstead hopes to be out there for Week 1. What about Thursday night? Does the defensive lineman expect to play in the preseason finale against the Houston Texans?

"I don't know yet," Armstead responded. "I wanted to see how I feel. It's my first practice. So I just wanted to see how I felt, and I'll see tomorrow how I feel with another practice."


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