49ers

Source: 49ers RB Jerick McKinnon out for season with torn ACL

jerickhurtap.jpg
AP

Source: 49ers RB Jerick McKinnon out for season with torn ACL

The 49ers will not have the services this season of Jerick McKinnon, the running back coach Kyle Shanahan picked in free agency because of his playmaking ability.

McKinnon sustained a torn anterior-cruciate ligament, a season-ending knee injury, a league source told NBC Sports Bay Area. The injury occurred during a non-contact play on the final play of practice on Saturday.

The 49ers confirmed an MRI examination revealed McKinnon sustained a torn ACL in his right knee. McKinnon was injured in his first practice back after missing three weeks with a calf injury.

Now, the 49ers will now open the season with Alfred Morris and Matt Breida as the team's top two running backs. The 49ers signed Morris two weeks ago after injuries to McKinnon and Breida, who sustained a separated shoulder during the 49ers’ first preseason game. Breida has been cleared to practice and play.

Special-teams ace Raheem Mostert is the only other running back on the 49ers’ roster. The club will likely look to sign another running back upon placing McKinnon on injured reserve to open a spot on the 49ers’ 53-man roster.

The 49ers did not attempt to re-sign Carlos Hyde in free agency, as Shanahan preferred McKinnon’s versatility and big-play ability. Hyde last season led the 49ers with 938 yards and eight touchdowns on 240 rushing attempts (3.9 average).

McKinnon (5-foot-9, 205 pounds) gained 1,918 yards on a 4.0 average in his first four seasons, all with the Minnesota Vikings. He also caught 142 passes for 984 yards while with the Vikings. The 49ers signed McKinnon to a four-year, $30 million contract on the first day of free agency.

Solomon Thomas is excited to prove he's worthy of No. 3 overall pick

Solomon Thomas is excited to prove he's worthy of No. 3 overall pick

SANTA CLARA – Defensive tackle Solomon Thomas had a pedestrian rookie season after the 49ers chose him with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 draft.

But that was nothing compared to Year 2, when he faced unimaginable tragedy with the suicide death of his older sister. Understandably, he was unproductive on the field as he struggled with his emotions and saw reduced playing time until a late-season surge.

Thomas’ name surfaced in trade rumors during the NFL draft.

Thomas said he is often guilty of over-thinking. But this time he did not give it much thought. He said he did not yearn for a fresh start elsewhere, because he wants to justify the faith general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan showed in him.

“In this business, whatever happens, happens. You don’t control it,” Thomas said on Tuesday. “But I love this organization. I love being here. And I want to finish what I started. I want to come here and want to show everyone why John and Kyle drafted me No. 3 and be who I am.”

After recording 41 tackles and three sacks in 14 games as a rookie, Thomas managed just 31 tackles and one sack in 16 games last season. The grief he felt off the field seemed to impact his performance at work.

“Last year I just wasn’t me,” Thomas said. “I’m not making excuses. I didn’t play well, and that’s on me. I should’ve played better. But I’m not making excuses for any of that. But what I’m saying that I wasn’t me last year. I put pressure on myself. But that’s over.”

Thomas said he sought therapy to better help him deal with the death of his sister, Ella. He continues to be an outspoken advocate for mental health awareness.

“That’s been a long process,” Thomas said. “It’s been hard to find. The first year was really hard for me, all the phases of anger, depression, sadness, guilt, grief, all that kind of stuff. So it’s hard for me to get healthy, and it took me a while. And once I was, I was a different person. I was light on my feet and could finally walk and move again.”

Shanahan said he sees an improvement in Thomas, who believes the team’s scheme adjustment under new defensive line coach Kris Kocurek fits his skills as an undersized defensive tackle. Thomas is expected to play defensive end in the 49ers' base defense, then move inside to rush the passer from defensive tackle.

“We all know what he went through and stuff, but you can see he’s got his aura back to him,” Shanahan said. “You can see it in his eyes. You can feel his energy a little bit better, and it definitely seems like he’s in a better place.

“We all know grieving can be as hard as it gets and takes people a long time, but you can see he’s doing better.”

After reports of the 49ers shopping Thomas in a trade, Lynch called Thomas into his office and denied the club was trying to get rid of him. Lynch talked to Thomas about how he should thrive in his new role.

“I can use my quickness and my explosion, being able to use that and just move, and having the green light,” Thomas said. “That’s what I need. I don’t need to be reading and sitting back. I need to be going and be able to press guards, get on the edge and crush tight ends. That’s how I play, and that’s the kind of scheme that can bring out my strengths.”

Thomas said he has always been a perfectionist. He admits that he often gets in his own head when he is dissatisfied with his own performance. He views this season as a fresh start without the change of scenary.

[RELATED: 49ers hopeful Kocurek can unleash Thomas]

“Everything in the past, is in the past,” he said. “I had probably my worst season ever in my life last year and I’m the most confident I’ve ever been in my career right now. That says a lot. I’m ready to move forward and show everyone who Solomon Thomas is and what I’m going to bring to the table.”

Why Dee Ford isn't worried about Nick Bosa's past social media usage

Why Dee Ford isn't worried about Nick Bosa's past social media usage

SANTA CLARA — 49ers first-round pick Nick Bosa was scrutinized heavily for his social media use, but veteran edge rusher Dee Ford isn't bothered by it one bit. 

"Yeah, he’s a great guy,” Ford said. “Social media is social media. I could care less. Honestly, who you are at work is important to me and he’s a great guy. I don’t even have a social media. I’m not even up to speed with the quotes and all that. I don’t care.

“Who he has presented to us is a great guy that’s ready to work and that’s all that matters to me.” 

Bosa pulled up short in practice with a hamstring injury and was unable to finish individual drills with his position group. Ford took it upon himself to speak to the rookie, offering encouragement. Ford knows the pressure of being a first-round pick and admires Bosa’s drive. 

“He works very hard,” Ford said. “He’s a really good guy. You hate to see that for a rookie because he’s really progressing and he’s going to be important for this defense. And that D-line room is really starting to mesh. He’ll get healthy. He’ll get back. He’ll be fine.” 

Ford even offered Bosa advice as far as the extra attention he’s received for what he has done off the field.   

“It’s important as a rookie to stay the course,” Ford said. “Don’t get down. You got a lot of stuff to go through as a rookie. I told him once ball gets here, it’s all about ball. All the extra stuff will be over.”  

Ford was also complementary of Bosa’s skill set, and compared Bosa to former Chiefs teammate Justin Houston. 

"[Bosa] has a unique ability to actually execute his moves,” Ford said. “He’s very fluent. He actually reminds me of Justin. He’s not going to jump off your screen as far as speed, but he’s fluent as an athlete and fast enough.

[RELATED: Lynch, Shanahan confident in Bosa's character]

“He’s very strong and he can execute his moves with his hand-eye coordination, which is what you like to see in the rush game. And in the run game he can make plays front side and back side.” 

It’s only Day Two of phase three but it appears that Bosa is fitting in with his teammates as well as could be.