The 49ers didn’t hesitate to pay big money to linebacker Kwon Alexander, even though he’s still recovering from a torn ACL. Meeting with the media on Thursday, Alexander provided no specific timeline as to when he’ll be good to go.
“I’m just taking it day by day,” Alexander said. “I’ve been grinding, working hard, and just pushing myself to get back. Just taking it day by day. Let it all work out for itself, and I’ll be back soon.”
The 49ers don’t seem to be concerned about this, because the positives of having a healthy Alexander on the field far outright the risk that it may take a while for him to get back to 100 percent.
“Kwon, I think I’ve long admired,” G.M. John Lynch told reporters. “I believe certain players bring out the best in their teammates with the way they play. There’s a certain passion for the game that screams even when you’re watching film that’s silent. You can just see it jump through. He plays with his hair on fire. I think that kind of play is contagious. We needed that. He’s also extremely productive, and I think I saw it and Kyle [Shanahan] saw it and our staff saw it, and we just say it really just kept growing and growing to, ‘Hey, this is a guy we want here.’ We sure are happy to have him.”
Shanahan is happy to not face Alexander, based on previously being in the same division with him.
“He taught me a hard lesson that you’d better game plan for him, because I didn’t too well the first game of 2016, we started out 0-1 because of it,” Shanahan said. “I remember him having 20 tackles. I think he had maybe 16, 18. . . .
“It was so bad that [Falcons receiver] Julio [Jones] asked me after the game if he could play fullback and block him, so I knew I needed a better plan the next time.”
Now, Shanahan won’t need a plan to stop Alexander. When he’s healthy, every team that faces the 49ers will.