The San Francisco 49ers deactivated defensive end Aaron Lynch in Week 12, and given that he was no longer in the injury report, it felt notable. I said the next day that I thought that indicated Lynch’s time with the 49ers was just about done.
On Thursday, Robert Saleh offered some optimism that Lynch would get another chance before too long. Saleh was asked what Lynch needed to do to get back on the field on Sunday.
“Keep working to get healthy. Keep grinding. You’re going to see Aaron on the field. He had a really good day at practice yesterday. Hopefully he can stack it up again today. He’s going in the right direction. He’s got a great attitude and he’s doing all the right things. He’s just still working through what he’s got. He’s actually working and showing that he wants to get on the field too, so that’s cool.”
Kyle Shanahan met with the media on Friday, and was also asked about about Lynch.
“He had a good week. I thought he had his best one in a while. Aaron had an injury a while ago, it took him a while to come back from it. He’s been battling hard trying to get back, and we kinda had all the guys down at the same time. Now, I feel he is the healthiest he has been, but we have a lot of d-linemen up now on our roster, and we’ve got a lot of guys healthy. And they all came back at the same time. We look a lot into that — how they practice, those guys are competing to get up — how we think the scheme’s gonna go, whether you want to lean more towards run players, towards pass rush players, third down guys. So a lot goes into that. I think he’s had his best week, he’s looked as healthy as he has in a while, but it’s not going to totally depend on him, it’s going to depend on the whole group.”
Saleh’s comments were a little more vague, so Shanahan offered some clarity with what he said. Lynch seems to have moved far enough past the injury issues, and now it is effectively about the necessary package of players.
The 49ers face a Bears team that has been better running than passing. Football Outsiders ranks them No. 12 rushing and No. 30 passing. Let’s just say, I would not be surprised if Lynch was inactive once again.