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John Lynch: Nick Bosa negotiation was a journey, but I’m ecstatic we finally got there

The 49ers breathed a collective sigh of relief earlier this week when reigning AP Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa agreed to a record-breaking contract extension that ended his holdout.

In an interview with KNBR on Friday, General Manager John Lynch said the negotiation process “was a journey, for sure.”

“And first of all, just elated to have Nick a part of the Niners,” Lynch said, via David Bonilla of “I think he said, ‘Niner for life.’ And I love the sound of that. He’s a tremendous young man, tremendous teammate, and what a player. Really, a special player. And I think the answer to that is a special player like that is going to deserve a special contract. And at times, they get complicated.

“This was our first holdout, so I wasn’t used to it. We’ve prided ourselves on getting guys in camp. We had a feeling that it might go this way but still tried to do everything to avert that. It didn’t happen, but I think the silver lining here — and I don’t like making exceptions for players, but I will tell everybody that you’re talking about one of the most uniquely conditioned athletes that I’ve ever been around. I’ve been around for a long time in the NFL, and he keeps himself in tip-top shape and even accelerated it this year, not being in camp.”

Bosa returned to the Bay Area on Wednesday night and participated in some aspects of Thursday’s practice. He’s set to play in Sunday’s season opener against the Steelers, but it’s currently unclear what his snap count might look like.

“[T]he good news is he looks tremendous,” Lynch said. “We got him on the field yesterday. He kind of did some work to the side just to assess where he was at. We’re able to get him in meetings and all. And then today, he’ll have what we think will be a full practice, and then we’ll put a plan together as to how we’re going to use him.

“But I’m ecstatic that we finally got there.”

Bosa led the league with 18.5 sacks in 2022. He also recorded 19 tackles for loss, 48 quarterback hits, and a pair of forced fumbles.