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The new Aaron Lynch joins the 49ers in game 5

After losing 30 pounds and becoming a father, the OLB has a new approach to life

After being suspended for four games for a diluted urine sample, Aaron Lynch returns to the field on Thursday. The San Francisco 49ers defense is in need of reinforcement after losing NaVorro Bowman for the season to a torn achilles and possibly DeForest Buckner for a few games with a foot injury. Lynch has gone through a transformation of sorts, losing 30 pounds since training camp.

Much was made of Lynch’s previous transformation when former head coach Jim Harbaugh reportedly had Lynch eating multiple steaks every day to put on weight. His weight fluctuation at that time was also 30 pounds in order to reach 270.

Why was Lynch out of shape before training camp? His wife got pregnant and he ate whatever he wanted. Diet and running are how he took the weight off during his suspension. The outside linebacker said, “You can run as much as you want, but if you don’t eat right it ain’t going to do nothing.” So that’s what he did. It will remain to be seen if he is in ‘game shape’ until Thursday but he says he feels great. He and his wife welcomed a baby boy into their lives last week.

While Lynch was suspended he wasn’t allowed practice with the team but he was allowed to be in meeting rooms. He focused on the mental preparation of the game and Jim O’Neil had a few comments about his process:

We want to see how Aaron looks today in practice. I think he did a good job over the suspension getting himself into great shape. He stayed into his playbook, which is clear because just yesterday, some of the things he was able to do communication-wise was positive. So, we’ll see how Aaron looks today out at practice and then we’ll make a decision as a coaching staff what he’ll be a part of in the game plan.

Lynch also commented on his classroom work making a difference in his first walk through.

I think what I’ve improved most on the field is the mental aspect of football because I couldn’t do anything physically, so I gotta really be in the books and I’ve learned that when I went out to practice today the plays came a little easier than I thought they would.

That is also why his high number of reps in the preseason were so valuable to him, though unfortunately, his extra weight limited him a bit.

[Those reps] were very valuable. It sucked that I wasn’t in shape so I couldn’t use them to my full effort but as far as being on the field and being with the team it was amazing because I wasn’t going to get those for the first four games. It felt great to be out there and now I’m just happy that I’m past the suspension and I get to play week 5.

As far as stepping into the leadership role that has been opened up from Bowman’s absence, Lynch says he’s going to lead by example, letting his play speak for him. He added that it’s really up to the other defensive players to choose who takes over that role.

Lynch, who has been known as somewhat of a hothead off the field and at practice, talked about how having a child has changed his outlook on life. He says he has taken strides to become a better person, knowing he needs to be a role model for his son. Hopefully, all of these adjustments translate onto the field as he joins the team for the first time in the regular season.