Lynch, Shanahan still confident in Hurd's 49ers potential


Jalen Hurd has yet to take the field for a regular-season game with the 49ers, but both coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch remain confident in the receiver's potential to make an impact for the organization.

A back injury derailed Hurd's rookie season after the 49ers selected him in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Just weeks before the 2020 season, Hurd suffered a torn ACL and was ruled out for the entire campaign. Lynch joined KNBR on Friday, and spoke about what they hope to see from Hurd as long as he can stay healthy.

"We’re excited about him. We’re holding on,” Lynch said (h/t Jacob Hutchinson). “He hasn’t played in the first couple years, but for good reason. He’s had legitimate injuries. But he’s been out there, he’s had two really hard practices and he’s done a great job in them. It would be a really good thing for our team if he could be out there. We’re pulling for him. He’s put in the work and hopefully he’s there because he makes us a better team when he is.”

Shanahan spoke to KNBR on Thursday, and offered a similar assessment.

"If Hurd’s healthy and he’s ready to go — there’s a reason we drafted him,” Shanahan said. “Hurd’s going to be a hell of a player… What’s been great this week is he’s been out there. We’ve had two really hard practices, he’s made them two days in a row and as many reps as he’s had since he’s been here. I haven’t had a chance to talk to him yet, but he got through it, he looked good, and I hope he comes back tomorrow feeling good. And hopefully he’ll get some playing time here on Sunday if he feels right.”

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Hurd was a versatile star in college, a former five-star recruit who transitioned from running back to receiver. At 6-foot-4, Hurd offers a lot of potential and would give the 49ers height at receiver the team certainly could use.

How well he can bounce back after back-to-back season-ending injuries remains to be seen. If he can show flashes of what he showed in the 2019 preseason, when he caught a pair of touchdowns against the Dallas Cowboys, the 49ers will have to at least give him a chance to perform in the regular season.

Hearing votes of confidence from both your coach and general manager likely goes a long way in that regard.

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