49ers center Weston Richburg out for season with torn patellar tendon

49ers center Weston Richburg out for season with torn patellar tendon

The 49ers' worst fears came true Monday, when coach Kyle Shanahan announced that center Weston Richburg will miss the remainder of the season with a torn patellar tendon.

Richburg was carted off the field Sunday in New Orleans during the third quarter of the 49ers' 48-46 win over the Saints. Richburg's right leg got caught on guard Mike Person's left leg. That caused the center's leg to awkwardly bend as he went to the ground.

Backup Ben Garland will step in immediately as the starter in Richburg's place. Person and Daniel Brunskill also have experience playing center.

Shanahan and the coaching staff already have dealt with multiple injuries to the offensive line when tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey missed time. While Garland has big shoes to fill taking over for Richburg, Shanahan was impressed with what he saw from the back up in New Orleans. 

"He did a hell of a job when he came in," Shanahan said. "Replacing Richburg is a huge job. He's played very well for us this year and Ben came in and we were able to not miss a beat. He stepped it up, knew the gameplan well. Blocked those guys even when they were the head up nose. When he was uncovered he got through to the second level. He had a number of plays in the game that helped us."

Richburg was one of the 49ers' biggest free-agent signings of the 2018 offseason when they gave him a five-year, $47.5 million contract. He had a challenging first season, though, as he played through a quadriceps injury he sustained in Week 4.

Richburg had surgery to reattach the tendon to his kneecap as soon as the season was over in January, and since his return, he has played his best football since joining the 49ers. The six-year pro has been a lead blocker on several explosive plays this season, including on wide receiver Richie James' 57-yard catch-and-run against the Cardinals in Week 11.

Shanahan believes that it will be another challenging rehab for Richburg during the offseason, but added that it definitely is an injury that a player can come back from. His leadership on the offensive line will be missed, as well as what he has brought to the game since his return. 

[RELATED: 49ers' Sherman out a couple weeks with strained hamstring]

"I thought Richburg played really well," Shanahan said. "He played like the guy that we hoped for when he got here. And I think he did that last year in some games but not consistently throughout the year -- but his injury had a lot to do with that. I know it was a hard offseason for him. 

"He didn't get cleared until the Tampa Bay game, so there was a lot of anxiety with him going through that, whether to do it or not and I really think it paid off because it helped him a ton this year. He was able to stay healthy throughout the year until this point ... happened on a different leg, so it was very unfortunate what happened.

"We were very appreciative of him this year." 

Six touchdown passes weren't all that Steve Young tossed in Super Bowl XXIX

Six touchdown passes weren't all that Steve Young tossed in Super Bowl XXIX

MIAMI -- The last time the 49ers played a Super Bowl in Miami, their quarterback tossed six touchdown passes.

Then, he tossed his cookies on the limo ride back from the stadium.

The 49ers last won a Super Bowl 25 years ago. Steve Young threw for six touchdown passes in the 49’ers 49-26 victory over the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX.

Young completed 24 of 36 pass attempts for 325 yards in the rout. He was named the Super Bowl MVP with his record day for touchdown passes, and he proclaimed he got the monkey off his back after years of being compared to Joe Montana.

Agent Leigh Steinberg, who represented Young, just as vividly remembers what happened after the game.

“I kept him doing interviews for so long, we’re in a limo on the way back and he said, ‘I’m feeling sick.’ I said, ‘You are?’ And he said, ‘No, really sick.’ And all of a sudden he threw up in the limo,” Steinberg said on Wednesday from Radio Row.

[RELATEDJimmy Garoppolo bruised Kyle Shanahan's hands during pre-draft workout]

While everyone else was back at the team hotel celebrating the 49ers’ fifth Super Bowl title, Young was in no shape to party due to dehydration.

“We go back to the hotel and entire place is filled with jubilant 49ers fans and players, and Steve is up in his room on an IV,” Steinberg said.

Jimmy Garoppolo bruised Kyle Shanahan's hands during pre-draft workout

Jimmy Garoppolo bruised Kyle Shanahan's hands during pre-draft workout

MIAMI, Fla. -- Before Jimmy Garoppolo became one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL and led the 49ers to Super LIV in Miami, he was just a quarterback from Eastern Illinois University hoping for a chance.

As the NFL draft approached in 2014, Kyle Shanahan was just an offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns, who desperately needed a quarterback.

Their paths crossed then, as Shanahan drove up to Northwestern University to work out the young signal-caller. But Shanahan didn't spend his time in Evanston, Ill., as a spectator to the Jimmy G show. Instead, he became a key participant. 

Due to a lack of wide receivers, Shanahan, a former receiver at Duke and Texas, had to catch balls from Garoppolo and got a first-hand account of the quarterback's arm talent.

"I remember, they didn't have a lot of receivers show up, so I had to do some of the routes," Shanahan told the media Tuesday about the 2014 workout. "Which was frustrating because he threw it too hard and I didn't have gloves and I remember the next few days my hands were purple. But I feel like I caught most of them. So, the workout was great and then going out to dinner later that night and just getting to hang out with him, very simple, very humble. 

"When you spend a night with someone, especially through the draft process and they come off the way he does, man, what's the guy hiding? He's so relaxed and such a good dude. I've been with him for about three years and he's no different from that first night." 

As impressed as Shanahan was with Garoppolo that day, his now quarterback was equally wowed by his coach's hands. 

“Kyle was snagging passes, no gloves needed," Garoppolo said when asked about the workout. "So it was pretty impressive, bringing him back to his receiver days.”

Shanahan went back to Cleveland but, in total Browns fashion, they neglected to pick the signal-caller that had been slinging the pill to their OC. 

Instead, they took Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel with the No. 22 overall pick. Shanahan would leave Cleveland the following season and spend two seasons with the Atlanta Falcons before being hired to turn around the 49ers.

[RELATED: How Alex Smith helped develop Mahomes during rookie season]

Garoppolo heard his name called 40 selections later when Bill Belichick drafted him to be the heir apparent to Tom Brady. Three seasons later, with Brady still torching defenses and winning Super Bowls, Belichick called up Shanahan and traded Garoppolo to the 49ers for a second-round pick, choosing to send the young quarterback to a situation Belichick believed would be beneficial for Garoppolo. 

As usual, Belichick was correct. Once Garoppolo was given the starting job near the end of the 2017 season, he and Shanahan had instant success, leading to a lucrative long-term contract and now a Super Bowl berth.

Shanahan's offensive ingenuity and Garoppolo's resiliency make them a pairing that appears built to last. 

Five years, three teams, one trade and a pair of purple hands later, that formula now has Shanahan and Garoppolo one win away from Super Bowl immortality.

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (8 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and 3 p.m. Saturday).

Also tune in at 1 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday for a two-hour special of "49ers Pregame Live" with Laura Britt, Donte Whitner, Jeff Garcia, Ian Williams, Kelli Johnson, Greg Papa and Grant Liffmann. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on "49ers Postgame Live," starting immediately after the game.