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Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports


John Lynch, 49ers exploring options following Dre Greenlaw’s injury

Feb 27, 2024 at 3:26 PM--


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Losing Dre Greenlaw during the Super Bowl was a blow to the San Francisco 49ers, not just because of his on-field impact but also for the leadership he brings to the defense.

"Dre's the heartbeat of our defense, him and [LB] Fred [Warner] in there, and how they feed off each other," tight end George Kittle said after the Super Bowl loss. "... We lose a guy like Dre, it's tough. He's just such a fantastic football player, and he's everything that the Niners stand for."

Greenlaw tore his Achilles in the second quarter of the game, a devastating outcome for a player who battled through multiple injuries during the season, ranging from ankle, hamstring, shoulder, and hip issues. The Achilles problem emerged late in the season, culminating in the latest injury during the biggest game of the season.

General manager John Lynch discussed Greenlaw's expected recovery time and the team's contingency plans during an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. He emphasized the need for patience with Greenlaw's recovery while recognizing the need to plan around his likely absence in 2024.

"Achilles, they take some time, right? So you've got to respect that," Lynch told Matt Maiocco on the "49ers Insider" podcast. "Now, having said that, I know Dre. He's a special athlete. Those guys tend to heal faster, but I think with an Achilles, there's just a timeline that you kind of have to give it. You can be ultra-aggressive. You've also got to be smart, and so we will be."

The 49ers are weighing their options. Will they pursue a free agent, draft a replacement, or entrust young players already on the roster? Anything is a possibility at this point.

"Maybe those contingency plans were last year with the two rookies that we drafted, Dee Winters and Jalen Graham," Lynch said. "Can they take that step, or do we need to go insulate them? Those are decisions we have to make, and we're constantly looking into those things, seeing if we feel comfortable or do we need to add to the equation."

The 49ers are expected to own 11 draft selections once the NFL allocates compensatory picks. It might make sense to use at least one of those selections on a linebacker if the team can't identify a solid contributor in free agency or is hesitant to rely on its second-year players.

You can listen to the entire conversation with Lynch below. It begins at about the 8:50 mark.



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