The 49ers front office is fully represented in Indianapolis at the NFL Combine and general manager John Lynch took a little time out to speak to local Bay Area media. He gave updates on several things including the status of a few players who ended the 2017 season on injured reserve.
Trent Brown has spent part of the offseason recouping from shoulder surgery on his torn labrum after he injured it mid season. He attempted to play through the injury but it eventually became too much, leading him to end his season early. He has been doing his rehab in Florida but Lynch says he’s been in constant contact with team medical staff and he’s heard Brown has been doing well
There have been questions about Brown’s lack of consistency but Lynch was positive in evaluating his performance:
I thought he made great strides last year. I really did. It’s just a reality, when you’re that big of a man, certain things are going to be a lot tougher. He’s a huge man, which is also a great strength for him. He’s a unique talent. I think he really responded and answered the call of what was being asked of him. It wasn’t perfect and there are some things that he’s always going to deal with, but I was proud of him. Unfortunately, it ended with an injury. We feel like with Trent we have a special talent at that position.
Brown will be unavailable at the start of the offseason program, continuing the rehabilitation of his shoulder. Other players who will not be ready for the off season are Brock Coyle (torn labrum)(free agent), Chanceller James (knee), Jimmie Gilbert (knee).
Malcolm Smith, however, will be ready. Lynch has been assured that Smith will be full-bore by the time OTAs roll around:
Right at the start of the off season, phase one he will be full bore. Three phases now, they take it pretty slow so it will be good reentry for him. I’ve been assured of that. One thing I’d say about Malcolm, Malcolm was great, in terms that he was always around, great influence on our players last year we’re just excited to see him in a 49ers uniform. We’re excited to see him play for us.
49ers will still need a contingency plan at ILB and could look to the draft for a prospect that could even be somewhat developmental. There is value in a candidate like Iowa’s Josey Jewell as plan B.