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Reality, emotions hit Juice as he contemplates free agency

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The emotions hit 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk on Monday as he contemplated his future.

He signed a four-year, $21 million contract with the 49ers on the first day of free agency in 2017. He was among the first class of players that coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch hand-picked to help the organization turn things around.

And, now, as he sat down to speak with the media on the day after playing out his contract, he did not know what the future holds.

"I'm not really sure what's ahead for me," Juszczyk said. "I don't want it to be a sense of finality. Honestly, it's been a lot of emotions the past weeks. And even (the media) just asking that has already got me choked up."

Juszczyk took a moment to gather himself and with his voice wavering, he continued.

"Just that a lot that will come into play here, and Kyle (Shanahan) and I will continue to have discussions. He's made made it very clear -- Kyle, John -- that they want me here, and I want to be here. We're going to work toward that, but free agency is a tricky thing with the cap number being lowered so much, that will come into play.

"It's just a wait-and-see, and let some pieces fall into place."

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Although Juszczyk might not be a fit for a lot of offenses in the NFL, as the fullback position has been phased out around the league, he said he believes he is adaptable in any offense.

 

And he stated his belief that his skills as a blocker and pass-catcher are so unique that he could be incorporated into any offense to be a significant addition.

"Kyle and (run game coordinator) Mike McDaniel have done such a great job of finding the best way to put me out there on the field and put me in situations to succeed, so I owe them so much for just the opportunities they've given me the past four years," Juszczyk said.

"My position is so unique, it's easy to look around the league and say, 'Not a lot of other teams are deploying a fullback as much as San Francisco is.' But I'm going to pat myself on the back and say, not a lot of other teams have me."

Juszczyk said that reality that he does not have a contract for next season, as well as the possibility he could be a fit for any offense in the league makes it more of a reality that the door could be open for his departure from the 49ers this offseason.

"Nobody hates having a bunch of teams tell you how good you are and how much they want you. It's a good feeling," Juszczyk said. "It is an interesting exercise to explore those opportunities. But it definitely hits a little harder when it's reality . . . 

"You got me," Juszczyk said with emotion.

He continued, "So, yes, it definitely hit me a little different this week."

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Juszczyk, 29, has gotten married since he signed with the 49ers. He said he plans to start a family in the near future. His objectives and priorities off the field have changed, he said. But he also knows what he wants on the field.

"I definitely want to be part of a team that's a contender," Juszczyk said. "I've played in the NFL for a long time now. I've been on both sides. I've been to a Super Bowl, and I've been on that 4-12 team. And I promise you, just for quality of life, that Super Bowl-contending team was a lot more fun and just was a lot better.

"I do think it's a little bit different this go-round."