SANTA CLARA -- After two long seasons rehabbing a knee injury, Jerick McKinnon is set for his comeback, and 49ers right tackle Mike McGlinchey can't wait to see McKinnon play.
Expectations were sky-high for the former Minnesota Vikings running back when the 49ers signed him as a free agent in 2018. Coach Kyle Shanahan believed he acquired a pivotal piece to build his offense around.
Unfortunately for McKinnon and the 49ers, those plans were put on hold for two years after McKinnon tore his ACL ahead of the 2018 season and experienced setbacks in his rehab.
Throughout training camp, McGlinchey has had a front-row seat to McKinnon's comeback. Now, he and the rest of the 49ers staff are excited for the dual-threat running back to show what he can do on Sundays.
“I think he’s going to add a tremendous amount to our offense,” McGlinchey said Thursday. “He’s going to be able to be extremely versatile in the position he’s in.”
McGlinchey missed four games in 2019 -- the first of his professional career -- with a knee injury, and thus has a great empathy for McKinnon's experienced. The right tackle is impressed with the running back's perseverance and positive attitude.
“To see how he has responded to that and hit the ground running, and he has remained the same,” McGlinchey said. “Jet is a spark plug of energy and confidence.
“To be a teammate and be around him, to have that back and that life back, and to see him excited again to come out and compete day in and day out after two hard years of rehab, is something that we’re all really excited about.”
The 49ers' player performance staff has gradually eased McKinnon in throughout training camp, keeping him healthy in the quick buildup to Week 1 of the regular season. McKinnon has split reps with Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman in the first-team offense, flashing his mobility and route running.
In 2017, McKinnon’s 991 all-purpose yards were nearly split 60-40 between running (570 yards) and receiving (421), respectively. Jimmy Garoppolo thinks McKinnon's ability to see the game like a quarterback makes him a better receiver and route runner.
After two long years, Shanahan finally is set to take advantage of McKinnon's entire skill set.
“I can’t wait to see Jet McKinnon take the field,” McGlinchey said. “It’s going to be an awesome thing to see him finally in action for the 49ers. It’s only going to help us win more games.”