Fullback Kyle Juszczyk said he could not see himself leaving the 49ers this year as an NFL free agent.
Just before the start of the signing period, Juszczyk got the contract offer he desired to keep him from seriously considering any other options.
“There’s no better fit in the league for me than in San Francisco,” Juszczyk said.
He credited coach Kyle Shanahan for having the vision to see the value in deploying a player with his skillset. Few NFL teams use fullbacks, and Juszczyk sees far-and-away more playing time than any of them.
“Kyle puts together the perfect system for me to play in,” said Juszczyk, with whom team officials celebrated over FaceTime when the deal was near.
Another reason Juzczyk considers playing for the 49ers as his ideal situation is because of newly promoted offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel.
McDaniel is a mastermind behind the 49ers’ varied running game, which has counted on Juszczyk’s change-of-direction and blocking skills to lead the way for four different leading rushers over the past four seasons.
McDaniel became offensive coordinator this offseason after previously serving as the team's run game coordinator. He was promoted after passing game coordinator Mike LaFleur left the 49ers to become offensive coordinator with the New York Jets.
"My relationship with Mike had a huge, huge influence on me coming back, because I'm extremely comfortable with him," Juszczyk said after signing a five-year, $27 million contract in mid-March.
Juszczyk attended Harvard, while McDaniel is a Yale graduate. They developed a close bond at work and beyond. McDaniel was a guest at Juszczyk's wedding in the summer of 2019.
Their relationship is an important part of their jobs. It is not uncommon for McDaniel to reach out to Juszczyk early in the week to talk through specific plays in the game plan for an upcoming opponent.
Juszczyk said he is hoping more involvement from McDaniel will also lead to more touches in the future.
"The tremendous job that he does in putting together a game plan every week, I’m definitely hopeful that having my guy more involved in the passing game might get a few more looks my way,” Juszczyk said. “So that'll be something we'll see in the fall."
A tight end in college, Juszczyk also has 102 catches for 1,080 yards and seven touchdowns in four seasons with the 49ers.