49ers

Kyle Shanahan sees good similarities between Kwon Alexander, Reuben Foster

Kyle Shanahan sees good similarities between Kwon Alexander, Reuben Foster

PHOENIX -- Linebacker Kwon Alexander has been described as a hard hitter who flies around the field. Coach Kyle Shanahan saw the same type of play from ex-49er Reuben Foster. 

“It’s the hard hits,” Shanahan said. “And it’s also the excitement of just truly enjoying football and playing it.”

Foster won over Shanahan and general manager John Lynch prior to the 2016 draft with his exuberant personality and enthusiasm. That attitude and love for the game were felt in the locker room by his teammates as well. 

There were a few red flags in Foster’s past, but what Shanahan and Lynch experienced in person was enough to influence their decision. Foster was released from the team in November of 2016. 

Now, older and wiser with two seasons under their belts, Lynch and Shanahan have brought the same traits to the linebacker position with Alexander. This time without the red flags. 

Shanahan explained the positive similarities he sees between the two linebackers. 

“There’s a personality to their game that you can see on a silent tape, which is kind of neat,” Shanahan said. “You can watch a silent tape, but you can feel the energy they play with. Always, fans like that, but your team feels that too.” 

CEO Jed York has been blown away not only by Alexander’s personality, but also by the fact that he is actually four months younger than Foster while having two more years of NFL experience. 

Lynch offered a similar sentiment during Alexander’s introductory press conference. 

“I believe certain players bring out the best in their teammates with the way they play,” Lynch said. “There’s a certain passion for the game that screams even when you’re watching film that’s silent. 

“You can just see it jump through. And he plays with his hair on fire, and I think that kind of play is contagious.” 

The 49ers staff is looking for Alexander to line up next to Fred Warner, who had the added responsibility of wearing the “green dot” as a rookie. No decision has been made if Warner will again be the “quarterback” of the defense, but it seems likely with the addition of Alexander. 

[RELATED: Niners counting on Ford, Buckner to be dominant forces]

The 49ers staff is not only looking for production on the field, but also hoping that Alexander will be a motivational force in the locker room as well. 

“Football can be a grind,” Shanahan said. "Going through those practices all the time, having to go through the physicality of it. When you have guys that have that type of charisma, you can tell by watching that they truly enjoy playing football. It can get very contagious.”

Twitter reacts: Bay Area athletes, teams celebrate Memorial Day 2020

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USATSI

Twitter reacts: Bay Area athletes, teams celebrate Memorial Day 2020

Memorial Day signifies the unofficial start to summer in the United States.

It's also a big benchmark on the sports calendar.

The 2020 MLB season should have been in full swing, ready to turn the page on its second month. Monday would have been filled with pageantry at the ballparks around the country as teams honored our military servicepeople and veterans.

The NBA and NHL playoffs, likely without all three Northern California teams, should have been in the conference finals stage.

Instead, this was a very different Memorial Day due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

[RELATED: Watch flyover above Levi's Stadium]

That didn't stop Bay Area athletes and teams from celebrating the holiday on social media:

We hope everyone had a safe and healthy Memorial Day.

Watch majestic Memorial Day flyover above 49ers' Levi's Stadium

Watch majestic Memorial Day flyover above 49ers' Levi's Stadium

We’re all in this together.

The 49ers partnered up with the California Air National Guard to salute those on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

[RELATED: Do 49ers have more offensive weapons than Seahawks, Cardinals, Rams?]

The flyover was handled by the Guard’s 129th Rescue Wing.

California Governor Gavin Newsom recently said sports could return to the state by the first week of June, so we hopefully will be seeing the Niners take the field at Levi’s Stadium this fall.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]