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Golden Nuggets: Two sleeps away

Your daily San Francisco 49ers news for Saturday, December 23rd, 2023

49ers injury report: Hargrave returns to practice ahead of Ravens clash

“Defensive tackle Javon Hargrave returned to practice on Friday after missing the 49ers’ Week 15 game due to a hamstring injury.

Hargrave took part in limited practice after sitting out the team’s game Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals due to a hamstring injury.

Wide receiver Jauan Jennings remained sidelined from practice due to a concussion sustained against the Cardinals. Jennings remains in the NFL’s return-to-play protocol.

Jennings, defensive tackle Arik Armstead (foot and knee), tight end Ross Dwelley (ankle) and linebacker Oren Burks (knee) did not practice as the 49ers prepare to face the Baltimore Ravens on Christmas night.”

Why 49ers center Jake Brendel’s NFL career is one-of-a-kind ‘barn find’ (paywall)

The silver lining: Despite playing in the trenches, his lack of actual playing time means he has a remarkably skimpy medical file for a 30-something lineman.

Asked about his minimal wear and tear, Brendel said he’s akin to a “barn find.” A barn find?

“When you think about it, you know, you buy a 1969 Camaro and you just leave it in a barn for about 50 years,” Brendel said. “And then you break it out and it’s in pristine condition.”

Brendel’s odd career arc did complicate contract negotiations entering his age-31 season. Brendel and Downey pushed for a four-year deal, pointing to the limited mileage on his odometer. From Dec. 3, 2018, to Sept. 10, 2022, Brendel played six regular-season offensive snaps. And then he played 1,080 last season while starting all 17 games. Who else does that?

“We ran into a wall a little bit in the offseason just because there are no comps,” Brendel said. “There’s no one in the league that’s in my position at all. No one even close because the career arc I’ve taken is so strange and unorthodox. … There’s no comparable (offensive linemen) that are in Year 7 or Year 8 that are going to sign a four-year deal.”

CMC impresses with lavish gifts for entire 49ers offense

“McCaffrey provided golf clubs and a bottle of tequila for every offensive player on the team. His presents were in front of the players’ lockers when they wrapped up practice on Friday.

“I figured if they don’t play golf, they will at some time in their life,” McCaffrey said. “So it’s better to be prepared than not. It’s nice to have a bag of clubs in your garage.”.........“Fitted clubs with a custom bag? And a bottle of tequila? I’m not going to be upset about that,” Kittle said.

“It’s just a really cool gift to get for the whole offense. It’s really fun to be part of a team that has guys who are willing to go out of their way to do that.”

The offensive players also received a bottle of Celaya Tequila, which has a football connection.

Ryan and Matt Kalil are the co-founders of Celaya. The brothers were long-time NFL offensive linemen, both of whom played with McCaffrey when he was with the Carolina Panthers.”

49ers’ Kyle Juszczyk embraces being a fullback advocate

“Which is why, while Juszczyk might be catching punts at 49ers practice, Ricard is on the opposite side of the country hopping into offensive line drills.

“I want to make sure that they use me and value me, so what can I do to improve myself and to be used in the offense?” Ricard said. “I know that I can be asked to pass protect and if I can work at it and learn technique ... I think that could only help me.”

Juszczyk and Ricard are ideal case studies in how today’s fullback who doesn’t actually play much fullback must operate to continue as key cogs in two of the league’s most productive offenses.

Through 14 games, Juszczyk has played 47.5% of the Niners’ offensive snaps, the most among fullbacks.”