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New 49er Melifonwu looks forward to practicing vs. Kittle

NBC Sports

Safety Obi Melifonwu felt a connection with the 49ers during his visit to Arizona for a workout late in the season.

Melifonwu, a second-round pick of the Raiders in 2017, had to spend nearly a week at the 49ers’ team hotel to pass COVID-19 testing in order to work out for the team.

“I can’t really put my finger on it,” Melifonwu told NBC Sports Bay Area. “I didn’t interact with too many of the players or anything like that. Maybe for me, it’s another fresh start opportunity. Maybe that’s why I felt like that.

“The coaching staff was really genuine and nice. And even the questions they asked — what I’d be comfortable playing, and where do I see myself playing? I felt it was comforting to know they wanted to see where I’d fit in.”

The 49ers signed Melifonwu on Jan. 4 to give him an opportunity to compete for a roster spot during the offseason.

At 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, Melifonwu said he has the range and cover skills to play free safety while also capable of playing close to the line of scrimmage because of his strength.

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He said he was brought into the league to cover tight ends, and he said he is looking forward to practicing against 49ers star George Kittle.

“Being able to go against him every day, obviously, will help me get better and help him get better as well,” Melifonwu said.


Melifonwu has not appeared in a regular-season game since playing five games with the Raiders in 2017 and two games with the New England Patriots in 2018.

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