Jalen Hurd got some miserable news Monday, and unfortunately, that’s been an all-too-frequent occurrence for the 49ers receiver.
The former running back missed the final five games of his junior season at Tennessee due to injury, then sat out the entire next season after transferring to Baylor. He capitalized on his lone season in Waco, playing in 12 games while displaying true promise as a receiver, enough so that the 49ers made him a third-round draft pick to play that position in the pros.
He immediately delivered on that promise, catching two touchdowns in his preseason debut with San Francisco. But that was a short-lived period of excitement, as he sustained a stress fracture in his back during training camp and missed the remainder of the season.
Hurd had spent all offseason working his way back from that injury and was viewed as a potential breakout candidate in his second professional season. He drew rave reviews from several teammates, and coach Kyle Shanahan surely was excited to fold the huge and versatile receiver into his offense.
Then, on Sunday, Hurd went down in a heap while training on a side field. As had been feared, his agent confirmed Monday night that Hurd tore his ACL, ending his 2020 season before it got started.
That’s a huge blow to the 49ers, and you have to feel for Hurd. Injuries are an inherent part of football, but the 24-year-old has had terrible luck.
“It’s a pretty unfortunate thing for him,” Shanahan said Monday. “We know what he went through last year with his back. The guy’s worked as hard as anyone on our team to get back. For him to get hurt before he actually got to go out there, just a freak thing on air, cutting. Really feel bad for the guy, but he will be back next year.”
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Now that it’s confirmed that Hurd will miss the upcoming season, that means he has appeared in only 19 games in the last five years. For comparison, the 49ers played 19 games last season on their way to and including Super Bowl LIV.
As Shanahan said, Hurd still remains a part of the 49ers’ plans. But unfortunately for all involved, he won’t be able to play for them anytime soon.
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