SANTA CLARA, Calif. — More than 80 of the players on the San Francisco 49ers‘ 90-man roster participated in Tuesday’s organized team activity — but the most encouraging news of the day might have been about one of the few players who wasn’t there.
Defensive end Nick Bosa was not in attendance at the voluntary session as he works his way back from the torn left ACL he suffered on Sept. 20, 2020. But, after the roughly 75-minute OTA, coach Kyle Shanahan made it clear that Bosa’s rehabilitation is going well and the expectation is that when training camp opens on July 31, Bosa will be a part of it.
“Nick’s in Florida,” Shanahan said. “I’ve been talking to Nick since February on this. He came out in February for a while to get checked up on his knee and stuff. With him coming off the ACL and everything, it’s going great. … He’s got a good setup out there with his brother and the guy who works with his knee. They’re in contact with our guys all the time and just didn’t want to take him off his routine right now. I totally agree with him out there. He’s going to show up at some time during this, but he won’t be going out there doing anything coming off the ACL, but we fully expect him to be ready for training camp.”
Getting Bosa back at full strength would be a big development for a defense that dropped from fifth in sacks in 2019 (48) to 22nd last year (30). Bosa suffered the torn ACL early in a Week 2 win against the New York Jets. It was the first of a series of season-destroying injuries for the Niners, who slumped to 6-10 after winning the NFC championship the previous season.
The 49ers’ pass rush would also benefit from the return of another key edge rusher if Dee Ford is able to recover from his persistent back issues. Ford, who appeared in just one game in 2020, also didn’t participate Tuesday, but Shanahan said Ford had been at the team’s facility since February and has made progress.
“Everyone knows the sensitivity of his injury with his back and stuff, but he’s been putting in a lot of work here and we feel it’s going the right direction,” Shanahan said. “Last week, we sent him home because he had been here so long, to go back to his hometown, see his doctor and plan on coming back here in the next couple of weeks. But don’t expect to see him till training camp on the field.”
Also not participating Tuesday was running back Jeff Wilson Jr., who recently had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee, a league source told ESPN, confirming an NFL Network report. Wilson is expected to miss four to six months.
One 49er who didn’t participate Tuesday but won’t be returning is center Weston Richburg. Richburg didn’t play in a game last season after he struggled to return from a torn patellar tendon suffered in 2019 and then had shoulder and hip surgeries that prevented him from returning.
“Weston is going to retire,” Shanahan said. “I don’t know how that officially works, but that’s the word that I’ve been told.”
Richburg’s retirement is expected to come after June 1 so as to spread the roughly $7 million in prorated signing bonus he is still due to count against the cap over the next two years rather than pushing it all into this season.