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Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Aiyuk hopes to remain with 49ers for a long time but understands the NFL is a business

Feb 5, 2023 at 8:30 AM--

In the fall, Brandon Aiyuk will be entering his fourth NFL season. Thanks to the fifth-year option, the San Francisco 49ers can hold onto him through 2024. Right now, the team is likely focused on locking up NFL Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner Nick Bosa to a long-term contract. Aiyuk's time will come, though.

If it were up to Aiyuk, he wouldn't ever play anywhere else. However, the receiver understands how the NFL works. It is a business, and he has to ensure his family is provided for.

"Me personally, I love being here in The Bay," Aiyuk told Brad Graham of TheSFNiners. "I love playing. I love being a Forty-Niner."

And the 49ers would love to keep him. This season, Aiyuk surpassed the 1,000-receiving-yard mark for the first time in his career. In his third NFL season, the wideout registered 78 receptions for 1,015 yards and eight touchdowns—all career highs—through 17 starts.

"With Brandon, Brandon had a fantastic year," general manager John Lynch said last week. "I really applaud Brandon. Kyle calls him a warrior often. We appreciate the way he plays, the way he's improved his play since he's been here, and we'll figure that out in due time."

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Not satisfied by his accomplishments this season, Aiyuk is looking to work hard and achieve even greater feats. Working toward that will begin this offseason, after some much-needed time to recuperate from a long and arduous NFL campaign.

"I'm a competitor. I want to compete," Aiyuk said. "I want to maximize everything that I have in my body and put on display, as a football player, when I put that name on the back of my jersey. As for the front of the jersey, I would love to be a Forty-Niner. Like I spoke to earlier, this is a business. I got a couple of people that share my last name that I need to take care of. If they want to take care of me, then I would love to be [here]. But we all know it's much harder than that and it's a tough business. It's hard work.

"Every player has a vision for what they want to be as a player, and they want to be able to fully show that and be compensated for that. The ball ain't in my court. I'm going to go to work after I enjoy my time off and reflect on the season. I'm going back to work. I know what I'm about. I'm sure everybody in that building knows what I'm about. So if they want me to be a Forty-Niner, I'm sure we can get that done."

San Francisco drafted Aiyuk (6-0, 200) out of Arizona State with the No. 25 overall pick in 2020. The 24-year-old receiver has caught 194 passes for 2,589 yards and 18 touchdowns in 46 game appearances (44 starts) through his three NFL seasons.


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