A large contingency of the San Francisco 49ers locker room was on hand at the start of Phase Three of the team's offseason workout program. Per the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and NFLPA, the 49ers are allowed to conduct a total of 10 days of organized team activities (OTAs) beginning on Monday, May 24.
Kyle Shanahan was pleased with the 49ers extensive turnout amid a number of players around the league opting to not take part in team activities amid concerns surrounding the pandemic. The head coach addressed the media to discuss the status of several players, as well as recapped the performance of a number of 49ers in their first practice open to the media.
1. Garoppolo's Health
Jimmy Garoppolo only made six starts in 2020 after dealing with multiple high-ankle sprains over the course of the season. Since joining the team for the offseason program, he has shown no signs of lingering effects from last season's ailments. The 49ers quarterback took all of the first-team reps during Tuesday's session. Per Shanahan, Garoppolo's ankle "seems totally healthy" as the quarterback has assumed his role under center.
"Jimmy looks like you guys have always known him. He's been great here these two weeks," Shanahan said. "His ankle seems totally healed. I haven't even asked him about it because it looks so good. So, I'd be surprised if there's anything lingering from it."
2. Trey Lance's OTAs Debut
Behind Garoppolo, the 49ers No. 3 pick has seen second-team reps under center. In his early assessment, Shanahan appears pleased with Lance's adjustment into the league. Although it's tough to fully assess the rookie just two days into OTAs, he appears to be handling the load the 49ers have thrown at him over the last few weeks.
"He's been everything that we hoped for," Shanahan said. "I think he's a very smart kid. He's a very humble kid. I think he's a very natural leader and I think the guys have gravitated towards him. It's been fun to throw a lot at him.
"To watch him just take it all in – from how he calls the play in the huddle, to how he takes snaps under center, to how he stands in shotgun and how he does everything, it's new. We're asking him to do something different and to just absorb all that. So, to still handle yourself the right way, to me, that is impressive."
3. Nick Bosa's Timeline
Bosa was not among the number of 49ers who have been in attendance for the team's offseason program, however, San Francisco's head coach has kept constant tabs on the edge rusher. Shanahan said he has remained in communication with Bosa, who is continuing his rehab in Florida, since the close of the 2020 season.
The third-year pass rusher suffered a season-ending ACL tear in Week 2 of last season. With caution to his recovery, the head coach doesn't expect Bosa being a participant during OTAs. However, the expectation is for the edge rusher to make a return to the field sooner rather than later.
"He's going to show up at some time during (OTAs) but he won't be going out there doing anything coming off of the ACL. But we fully expect him to be ready for training camp," Shanahan said.
4. Another Impending Return
The 49ers could see another familiar face return in the coming months with the potential return of former third-round wideout Jalen Hurd. Hurd missed both of the 49ers last two seasons due to isolated training camp injuries that have postponed his NFL debut.
The receiver was spotted rehabbing off to the side during Tuesday's session. According to Shanahan, he too is projected to make a recovery from his ACL tear suffered last August and is expected to be on hand for training camp.
"It's been great to have Jalen back," Shanahan said. "He came back right when Phase Two started and he's done a good job in his ACL rehab. He should be ready to go back to camp. So hopefully there aren't any setbacks and stuff like that. But right now, he's just working out with (head athletic trainer) Dustin (Little) on the side and making sure he continues to rehab and gets ready for his time, which would be training camp."
5. Dee Ford's Road to Recovery
Ford only appeared in one game last season while dealing with a neck injury suffered back in September. Since, the pass rusher has spent the offseason rehabbing at the SAP Performance Facility.
The 49ers appear optimistic with the strides Ford has taken over the past several months.
Given the severity of his injury, the 49ers have continued to monitor his rehab, which is currently taking place in Alabama, and feel confident in a potential return this summer.
"Dee Ford's been here since February. He's been here throughout this whole offseason," Shanahan said. "All the rehab, (he) really made a lot of strides in this offseason. Everyone knows the sensitivity of his injury with his back and stuff. But he's been putting in a lot of work here and we feel it's going the right direction. Last week we sent him home because he had been here so long, to go back to his hometown to see his doctor and I plan on him coming back here in the next couple of weeks. But don't expect to see him (on the field) until training camp."
6. Weston Richburg's NFL Future
Richburg is likely to have played the final snap of his NFL career. The 49ers signed the center back in April of 2018 and he went on to appear in 15 games his first season in San Francisco. The center suffered a torn patellar tendon during Week 14 of the 2019 season and underwent several procedures since, including hip and shoulder surgeries. After a series of setbacks, Shanahan confirmed reports that the center is expected to retire at some point this offseason.
7. Fred Warner's Looming Extension
Warner quickly established himself as one of the heartbeats of the 49ers defense. Not only because of his leadership in the locker room, but also his impact on the field. In 2020, the linebacker appeared in all 16 games for San Francisco, and led the 49ers defense with 125 total tackles (ranked 10th in the NFL), while adding two interceptions, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble, a sack and seven quarterback hits.
His performance earned him his first-career Pro Bowl honor as well as a spot on AP's All-Pro Team.
Warner now finds himself in a similar position as George Kittle last season as he's the next 49ers player in line to be rewarded for his contributions. Warner is entering the final year of his rookie deal and, per Shanahan, San Francisco anticipates the linebacker being a part of the team's long-term plans.
"Fred's the guy that I plan on being here forever and he has earned that. And I'd be surprised if that doesn't start sooner rather than later," Shanahan said.