Jerick McKinnon

49ers RB Jerick McKinnon has right calf strain, to be re-evaluated in a week

49ers RB Jerick McKinnon has right calf strain, to be re-evaluated in a week

UPDATE (5:39pm PT on Sunday): 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon has been diagnosed with a right calf strain and will be re-evaluated in one week.

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UPDATE (4:09pm PT on Sunday): 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon got good news from the MRI results on his right knee and the scan showed "just a muscle strain" according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

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SANTA CLARA – Running back Jerick McKinnon is scheduled to undergo an MRI on his right knee after he came up hobbling Sunday following a running play early in practice.

McKinnon was injured on the ninth play of practice, and on his third carry of a run-oriented drill. He was in obvious discomfort after the non-contact injury on an outside zone run. He grabbed behind his right knee.

After the 49ers’ medical staff checked him out for several minutes, McKinnon got to his feet and slapped hands with general manager John Lynch. McKinnon remained on the field to watch the final 90 minutes of practice.

Afterward, he signed autographs for members of the military in attendance. He said he felt fine, but the severity of McKinnon’s injury will not be known until the team receives the results of the MRI.

McKinnon, a fifth-year pro, signed a four-year, $30 million contract with the 49ers in the offseason. The 49ers targeted McKinnon in free agency without making any attempt to re-sign Carlos Hyde.

Backup running back Matt Breida is out for the remainder of training camp with a separated shoulder. Joe Williams also did not practice, as he was excused to attend the funeral of a relative. Raheem Mostert, Jeremy McNichols and undrafted rookie running back Jeff Wilson handled the running back duties after McKinnon's injury.

How Kyle Juszczyk helped recruit Jerick McKinnon to the 49ers

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AP

How Kyle Juszczyk helped recruit Jerick McKinnon to the 49ers

SANTA CLARA – After facing some midseason criticism for not necessarily living up to the advance billing as the 49ers’ O.W., Kyle Juszczyk finished the season strong and added another huge contribution to the organization in March.

Juszczyk was the 49ers’ only Pro Bowl selection last season. And the coaches voted him as the winner of the Bill Walsh Award, which goes to the player who best represents the standard of professional excellence established by the Hall-of-Fame coach.

The fullback determined the 49ers needed another O.W. – another “offensive weapon,” as general manager John Lynch first labeled Juszczyk – and he scanned the list of available free agents as he tried to figure out how the organization would replace running back Carlos Hyde.

He zeroed in on Jerick McKinnon, who had been used mostly as a third-down back during his four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings.

“Once I pretty much figured out that Carlos wasn’t going to be coming back, I knew we were in the market for a running back and Jerick looked exactly like the kind of guy we needed here,” Juszczyk said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

Juszczyk saw a player, in McKinnon, who could make plays on his own with the ball in his hands, whether he was running or receiving. So Juszczyk sent McKinnon a text, first explaining who he was and why this seemingly random text was not random at all.

It went something like this:

Hey, man, this is Kyle Juszczyk. I’m the 49ers fullback, and I know how free agency goes. I just went through the same thing last year. I think you would fit perfectly here. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me and I’ll answer everything honestly and just give you a feel for what it’s like here.

McKinnon responded and began a dialogue with the man who would become his lead-blocker.

Juszczyk said he reached out to McKinnon on his own – just following a hunch. Then, McKinnon later told him the 49ers, indeed, were interested. And when Juszczyk contacted a member or two of the 49ers’ coaching staff, he was told to keep pushing.

Juszczyk had gone through free agency the previous offseason. He signed a four-year, $21 million contract with the 49ers on the first day of the signing period. The day after he verbally agreed to terms with the 49ers, the New York Jets offered him more money, he said. Still, there were some that questioned the size of the deal. And after a slow statistical start, Juszczyk finished with 33 receptions for 315 yards in 14 games.

McKinnon also drew intense interest from the Jets. He ended up following Juszczyk’s path and signed a four-year, $30 million deal with the 49ers. It's only natural the 49ers and Jets have similar ideals in the running game. Jets offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates and offensive line coach Rick Dennison come from Mike Shanahan’s coaching tree. When Kyle Shanahan landed McKinnon, he got his guy.

“I don’t know if I knew he was going to be the top-paid running back in the market that year, but I figured he’d be a guy that we’d be interested in,” Juszczyk said.

Juszczyk said his interaction with McKinnon during the process only confirmed his belief that he would fit in perfectly with the 49ers.

“Great guy – the dude works his absolute tail off,” Juszczyk said. “I remember in the recruiting process, I texted him, and he said, ‘Hey, I’m in-between workouts right now. Let me hit you up after my second workout.’ Just that, right there, let me know what kind of guy he was.”

49ers camp report: Jerick McKinnon shows off dual-threat skills

49ers camp report: Jerick McKinnon shows off dual-threat skills

SANTA CLARA – The running back 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan hand-picked to replace Carlos Hyde showed why he could be in line to have a big season with his new club.

On the first play of the 49ers' first practice of training camp, Jerick McKinnon got to the corner on an outside run, turned upfield and scampered untouched down the left sideline. Later, he snuck out of the backfield and was all alone -- after linebacker Reuben Foster and nickel back K'Waun Williams collided -- and caught a swing pass from Jimmy Garoppolo for a big gain.

“If you look at what coach Shanahan does, all his backs do both,” McKinnon said, “I’m excited to be here and take my game to the next level.”

After four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, McKinnon admitted he initially had a difficult time adjusting to the intricacies of his new offense during the offseason program. But a lot of studying, and some extra work at Garoppolo’s get-togethers, has McKinnon feeling a lot more comfortable at the beginning of training camp.

“When I was first got here, I was lost,” McKinnon said with a laugh. “I was really lost. My head was spinning with the different protections that I got to learn, the different concepts I got to learn. Basically, I had to take my old way of thinking that I’d been doing for four years and switch it up into a new one.

“I guess it’s complex when you’re new to it. But once you start studying and learning more, you get it. So I don’t know if I’d call it complex any more. I’m starting to get it.”

Play of the day

Linebacker Brock Coyle started 10 games last season at middle linebacker after starting five games in his previous three NFL seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. Coyle continued to elevate his play toward the end of the season and finished fourth on the team with 62 tackles. He did not participate in the practices during the offseason program after undergoing shoulder surgery, but he made his presence felt in the first practice of camp.

Coyle was in position to break up a Garoppolo pass for Bolden early in practice. Then, he made the best play of the day when he cleanly stripped tight end George Kittle of the ball a nanosecond after Garoppolo’s pass arrived at its target.

Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh seemed to agree that Coyle might be generally underrated as a player around the league, but he added, “He’s not underrated in this building.”

Coyle is among the group of linebackers competing for roles this season. Malcolm Smith, who did not practice due to a lower leg injury, and Reuben Foster are projected as the starters. Coyle, Fred Warner, Korey Toomer, Elijah Lee and Mark Nzeocha are competing for action for the first two games of the regular season, when Foster is set to serve a two-game suspension.

Player of the day

Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, coming off his breakout season, looked sharp running routes and making catches. He caught a deep crossing route from Garoppolo against the coverage of Adrian Colbert early in practice. He also caught a deep ball between Reuben Foster and Colbert, then beat Ahkello Witherspoon for a 20-yard reception.

“His speed is electric,” Colbert said of Goodwin. “Nobody in the league is as fast as him, in my opinion.”

Third-round pick makes pick

Cornerbacks Tarvarius Moore and Tyvis Powell came up with interceptions during 7-on-7 drills against quarterbacks C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens. Moore’s interception came on a 50-50 ball intended for Dante Pettis. Both Moore, a third-round draft pick, and Pettis, a second-rounder, had their hands on the ball. But when they tumbled to the ground, it was Moore who emerged with the football.

Witherspoon’s transformation

Witherspoon, a second-year player, made a dramatic improvement from last summer in training camp into the regular season. Witherspoon replaced Rashard Robinson in the starting lineup and started nine games. Now, there is no question he is a starter opposite of Richard Sherman.

“When he first got here, he was this little scrawny corner that everyone said wouldn’t hit anybody,” Saleh said. “And now he’s a man.”

This ‘n’ that

Cornerback Richard Sherman, cleared to participate in training camp after sustaining a torn Achilles in November, lined up at left cornerback with the 49ers' first-team defense. He played a variety of press and off coverage and appeared to be moving well. The 49ers plan for Sherman to take part in practices two days in a row, then take one day off throughout camp. . . While Trent Taylor spent Day 1 on the physically unable to perform list as he rounds into shape following offseason back surgery, the 49ers had four players back fielding punts during special-teams drills: Pettis, D.J. Reed, Richie James and Victor Bolden. . . . Cassius Marsh and Jeremiah Attaochu, who are competing for jobs as nickel pass-rushers, both looked explosive in one-on-one drills. Marsh beat rookie right tackle Mike McGlinchey on one speed rush, while Attaochu got the better of left tackle Joe Staley. . . Kendrick Bourne failed to come down with a catchable deep ball on the sideline, but he bounced back with a 20-yard catch from Beathard against Moore. . . . The defense won the day, limiting Garoppolo to 4-of-9 on passing in team drills. Beathard completed five of eight pass attempts.