The 49ers were not going to be able to keep all of their running backs. So during the 2020 NFL Draft, they found a new home for Matt Breida.
Breida, now a member of the Miami Dolphins, will return to Levi’s Stadium on Sunday to face his former team.
“I don’t think the trade was like they didn’t want me anymore,” Breida told the Miami-area media on Thursday. “The NFL is a business at the end of the day, and you can’t get your emotions too caught up in the business side of the NFL because at the end of the day, it’s a job.
“I’m always thankful for them because that was my first team. They did give me an opportunity. But I’m also grateful that the Dolphins are giving me another opportunity to allow me to keep playing this game.”
The 49ers made to the decision to trade Breida, a restricted free agent, after re-signing Jerick McKinnon to a reduced contract. San Francisco also was bringing Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman and Jeff Wilson back.
Breida spent three productive seasons with the 49ers after coming to the team as an undrafted rookie in 2017.
He rushed for 1,902 yards and six touchdowns on 381 carries for a 5.0-yard average during his time with the 49ers. Breida also caught 67 passes for 561 yards and four touchdowns.
Thus far, Breida has not played a big role for the Dolphins. He has just 72 yards on 18 rushing attempts, while catching four passes for 41 yards.
Breida said he misses the Bay Area weather. He does not miss the taxes and the cost of living. But he especially misses the bond he had with his teammates.
“All of us are brothers,” Breida said. “I still talk to pretty much all those guys if not a weekly basis, definitely on like a monthly basis.
“We try to stay in touch where once you do something like that and go to a Super Bowl, you’re bonded forever from that. It was just a great experience last year being able to do that this early in my career.”
Breida attended Georgia Southern with McKinnon. While they were teammates the past two seasons with the 49ers, McKinnon did not play due to injuries.
Breida said he and McKinnon talk every day.
McKinnon has gotten off to a strong start this season with 193 yards and three touchdowns on 34 attempts for a 5.7-yard average. He also has 13 catches for 102 yards.
“The dude works his tail off," Breida said. "I looked up to him when I came into college and we played together, and he’s proven a lot of people wrong still to this day that think that he’s going to come back and he’s going to be the same back.
“I’m pretty sure he’s still doing the same stuff he was doing before he was hurt, so I’m very happy for him and what he’s doing right now.”