A Trimmed Down Aaron Lynch is Hungry to Prove Himself in 2017

The San Francisco 49ers coaching staff challenged Aaron Lynch at the conclusion of the offseason program. Kyle Shanahan tasked the fourth-year linebacker with slimming down this summer.

Lynch readily accepted the challenge.

The fifth-round pick began his career at 249 pounds. That number ballooned to nearly 300 pounds over Lynch's first three NFL seasons.

A leaner Lynch entered training camp nearly 30 pounds lighter and met Shanahan's pre-camp target weight of 273-pounds. The linebacker has already noticed improvements in his stamina.

"Thirty pounds will do a big difference in anybody's body," Lynch said. "I feel a lot better coming off the ball. I have a lot more wind. I'm not as tired as I used to be. Definitely a change."

Shanahan said on Monday he was impressed with Lynch's efforts over the summer and urged the importance of continuing such dedication. He will utilize his new slimmed down physique in the shift to the LEO position in Robert Saleh's defense.

View the top images from the second padded practice of 2017 training camp presented by SAP.

Lynch isn't the only player who has tailored his body to fit San Francisco's new defense. The team's defensive personnel up front appears to be well-equipped for the 4-3 system.

"We've put in a lot of work in the weight room," Lynch said. "The power hasn't gone anywhere. We do have to play a lot faster in our defense. People have shed the weight. I think we've all shed weight, but we haven't lost any power."

Over the last three seasons, Lynch has totaled 14 sacks, 74 tackles and seven passes defended. He missed part of 2016 due to a suspension and an ankle injury. But so far this offseason, Lynch looks to be a different player.

The linebacker has had several sacks over the first four practices of camp and even recorded an interception on a tipped pass. Lynch is just one of many defenders who have stood out so far.

"These guys upfront for us are something special," quarterback Matt Barkley said. "I hope they're doing that five times a game against the opponents we play. We're learning to deal with that. It is a positive that they're on our team."

Lynch is entering the final year of his rookie contract. Now with a leaner composition, his next test will be battling Armstead, Elvis Dumervil, Ahmad Brooks, Eli Harold, and Dekoda Watson for playing time.

San Francisco's new regime has given Lynch a fresh start. It appears that he's ready to take advantage, both mentally and physically.

"(Coach Shanahan is) happy with where I'm at," Lynch said. "I've done what they've wanted me to do so far, and I'm going to keep doing what I need to do in order to help this team out."

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