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Six 49ers Return to Practice; Samuel Talks Building Chemistry with Purdy

The San Francisco 49ers have turned the page on Saturday night's 21-20 victory over the Denver Broncos, and now, the team has its sights set on the quickly approaching preseason finale against the Los Angeles Chargers and looming roster cuts. On Monday, the 49ers kicked off a three-day practice week with a rainy workout at the SAP Performance Facility.

Working Their Way Back to Health

All six players projected to return to practice this week by head coach Kyle Shanahan were suited up on Monday and participating in some capacity. That list of returning players includes tight end George Kittle, defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw, running back Elijah Mitchell, defensive lineman Drake Jackson, linebacker Dre Greenlaw and defensive lineman Kalia Davis. Kittle and Greenlaw worked into position group drills but were not in the mix for 11-on-11 play.

On his first day back, Jackson made his presence known, tipping a pass, making the grab and running it back for a score during a move-the-ball period. Davis had his own highlight play, coming up with a big run stop of fellow sophomore Tyrion Davis-Price early in 11-on-11 drills.

Additionally, Kerry Hyder Jr., who suffered a stinger against Denver, was working out independently of the rest of San Francisco's defensive line. Shanahan mentioned on Sunday the team would be "smart" with Hyder Jr. throughout the course of the week and his status for the game remains up in the air.

Building the Purdy-Samuel Connection

This time last year, Brock Purdy was the 49ers third-string quarterback taking limited reps in the dog days of training camp. One calendar year later, he's the projected starter for San Francisco after leading the team to eight-straight wins and an appearance in the NFC Championship Game. Veteran wide receiver Deebo Samuel remembers Purdy making an impression during the team's 2022 exhibition games.

"Last year, I can go back to the preseason Houston game, where he made a couple plays, and you could see he wasn't scared of the big moment," Samuel said. "Then, when he got his chance, he wasn't scared then. It was kind of shocking to see how well he was playing with no practice with the ones and twos, but he still came in levelheaded and was able to get the job done."

Purdy was out for the entirety of the team's offseason programming but was cleared to return to live-action ahead of camp. Since then, the second-year pro has been battling his way back from a pitch count and working to build chemistry with his arsenal of offensive weapons. He and Samuel appear to be in sync these days. Most recently, Purdy and Samuel connected on two passes for 39 yards versus the Broncos and completed another seven pass plays in Monday's practice.

"The more time you put in, the more plays you get in, the more time you are in the huddle with everyone, it's a chemistry built throughout the whole offense," Samuel said. "Not just me but also Brandon Aiyuk, George Kittle and all the other guys that touch the ball, and also, with the O-linemen because you can't do anything without them."

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