John Lynch was asked an open-ended question: “Has any player stood out who is in great shape?”
The San Francisco 49ers general manager name-dropped Pierre Garçon.
“Carlos Hyde looks tremendous,” Lynch said. “He’s really dedicated himself.”
The unprompted praise came during a press conference featuring Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan. Hyde met with media shortly after and confirmed that his summer has been spent preparing for training camp. Players officially reported to the SAP Performance Facility on Thursday, but Hyde had already been at 49ers HQ.
Rather than return home to Florida, the running back stayed in the Bay Area for daily workouts with 49ers strength and conditioning coach Ray Wright.
“I didn’t feel like I could get the type of training that I got from Ray anywhere else,” Hyde said.
Hyde weighed in on Thursday at 228. It will be the first time he starts an NFL season under 230 pounds.
“This is the lightest I’ve been since high school,” Hyde said. “I’m in the best shape of my life right now.”
The running back is coming off of his best professional season. Hyde ran for 988 yards, six touchdowns and added three touchdown receptions in 2016. He’s now tasked with learning Shanahan’s system and winning the starting job for a third straight year.
According to Hyde, San Francisco’s new offense is a perfect fit for his skill set.
“It’s outside zone, but it’s downhill,” Hyde said, “and I’m a downhill back.”
NFL analyst, five-time Pro Bowler and soon-to-be Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson recently predicted Hyde to have a monster 2017 season with 1,300 rushing yards and double-digit touchdowns.
Hyde, who always has high expectations for himself, took things a step further.
"I want to be the No. 1 rusher in the league,” Hyde said. “I feel like I have the opportunity to do that in this scheme."
This is the final season on Hyde’s rookie contract and could be a pivotal year for the young running back. He’ll have ample opportunity to impress the coaching staff and secure his role over the next month.