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49ers DC DeMeco Ryans praises ILB Azeez Al-Shaair amidst “career year”

The Niners defensive coordinator credited Al-Shaair for stepping up in place of Fred Warner.

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair celebrates with teammates after a fumble by the Seattle Seahawks Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

While the San Francisco 49ers are happy to have linebacker Fred Warner back on the practice field this week, Azeez Al-Shaair was one of the few bright spots from the Niners’ 30-23 loss to the Seahawks. Al-Shaair finished last Sunday’s matchup in Seattle with 16 tackles, a tackle for loss, half a sack, a forced fumble, and nearly hauled in an interception.

On top of one of the most productive performances of his career, Al-Shaair had to handle dispersing the defense’s signals with Warner on the sideline. In his weekly media availability on Thursday, defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans talked to the press about how Al-Shaair handled playing with the green dot for the first time in his career.

“I thought Azeez [Al-Shaair] did really well. Yeah, he was he was calm. He communicated very well. He didn’t try to do too much. He let the game come to him, made the plays that he was supposed to make. Made a huge play there for us at the end, as everybody saw, with him getting the ball out. But Azeez, he’s been having an outstanding year. This is a career year for him and he’s playing lights out every week and there hasn’t been any let down from him. I love his energy, love his passion, love the way he plays the game, the physical mindset, he’s everything you want in linebacker.” -DeMeco Ryans

Al-Shaair has appea49ers’ 42 of the 49ers’ 44 regular-season games over his three-year career but has not been a consistent starter until 2021. Entering this season, Al-Shaair had just 53 tackles and one tackle for loss in his career. However, this year, the Florida Atlantic alum has already amassed 85 tackles, six tackles for loss, two fumbles recovered, an interception, and half a sack in 11 games.