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John Lynch says Jerick McKinnon’s return to practice was ‘not encouraging’ on KNBR

© Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

SANTA CLARA – Jerick McKinnon just cannot seem to get healthy. Wearing a knee brace (which he did not wear the first time he returned to training camp), McKinnon returned to practice on Tuesday. Reporters were only able to see the opening stages of practice before team drills began, but according to general manager John Lynch, who joined, the Murph and Mac Show on KNBR on Wednesday morning, the results were “not encouraging.”

McKinnon’s progress “not encouraging”

While Lynch did not get into the specifics of the practice out of respect for McKinnon and his climb back, he implied that McKinnon suffered yet another setback.

“It’s a real bummer because you keep getting to the final step and the final step is actually playing NFL football, and particularly at his position, where you have to make hard cuts, you have to put your foot in the ground, and we did it a month ago and he kind of regressed and I would say yesterday we had a similar situation,” Lynch said. “So we’re trying to get to what’s the root cause of the problem that he’s having. And just because he’s working through it, I’m going to leave it at that, but yesterday was not encouraging from that standpoint for Jet. What that means, we’re not sure yet, but we’re working hard to find that out.”

There’s been some speculation that McKinnon might end up on injured reserve or injured reserve-return designation. This latest assessment makes that all the more likely and even leaves the potential open for McKinnon (with the newly-signed Tevin Coleman on the roster, plus a healthy Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr., who looked great in his preseason return) to be cut.

McKinnon signed a four-year, $30 million deal in 2018, and his $3.7 million salary became fully guaranteed on April 1, according to Over the Cap. He has a fourth-year option, and will have $2.6 million of his 2020 salary become guaranteed next April 1, but if cut before then, he’d have just $4 million (split over the next two years) remaining on his deal.

… but Bosa’s progress is encouraging

Nick Bosa is still a question mark for Week 1 in Tampa Bay, but for the first time, there was a great deal of confidence (and not the C.J. Beathard kind – see below) expressed in Bosa’s health. He said Bosa hasn’t experienced any setbacks, which often happen with the high ankle sprain he suffered.

“He’s doing awesome,” Lynch said. “He really is healing at a really good rate. Week 1 is certainly in play. I’m not going to say probable, questionable, because we’re just not to that point yet, but he’s kind of exceeding where we thought he could be. Knowing how much he means to this organization and how we’re looking at this as a long-term proposition, we’re not going to rush anything… but I can say we’re very encouraged with the way we’re going with Nick.”

The backup quarterbacks

Lynch said he didn’t know who the team would give the majority of reps to on Thursday night against the Los Angeles Chargers in the final preseason game, and that the decision on the backup quarterback has yet to be made.

“Though the numbers haven’t been great, we’ve got a lot of confidence in C.J.,” Lynch said. “Nick Mullens really asserted himself last year. Kyle and the coaching staff are working hard on making that decision on who’s going to be the backup.”

To hear John Lynch’s full discussion on KNBR, click below:


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