49ers’ Brandon Aiyuk, from basement to attic

Brandon Aiyuk joined Vernon Davis, Terrell Owens, Jerry Rice and Dwight Clark as the only 49ers with at least five TDs four consecutive years this season.

LAS VEGAS — Time heals wounds.

It’s something San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk has experienced firsthand.

Aiyuk was taken with the 20th pick in the first round of the 2020 draft, and expectations were high for the Arizona State prospect.

However, in 2021, his career seemed to be on the decline when his head coach Kyle Shanahan decided to assign him a reduced role.

It was immediately feared that Aiyuk was a “bad” decision, and from the outside it seemed like he was not Shanahan’s saint of devotion.

“I think it’s easy to jump to conclusions from the outside,” Shanahan explained. “Aiyuk was never on my bad side, I was just training him to be the best version of himself.”

And after a 2021 season in which he struggled early and took off in the second half, Aiyuk took note and “worked harder than ever in my life” that off-season, at the wide receiver version of the To grow into who she is today.

In 2022, he finished the year with 78 receptions for 1,013 yards and eight touchdowns, and this would be the beginning of a continued development.

Aiyuk recalled, “You’ve been told your entire life that you’re brilliant as a coveted prospect.” “Shanahan told me he didn’t think I was ever coached properly. He challenged me to become a better professional and here we are.”

Today Aiyuk has become the 49ers’ most consistent wide receiver, not only because of his durability, but because of his ability to beat opposing defenses.

Aiyuk led the 49ers in targets (105), receptions (75), yards (1,342) and passing touchdowns (7) this season and ranked second in the NFL with a 17.9 yards per reception average.

“He approaches every play with the same intensity,” Shanahan said of Aiyuk. The progress he has shown on and off the court is incredible. There is no doubt that he is one of our leaders in the locker room today.

Durability hasn’t been an issue for Aiyuk, although he was forced to miss Thursday night’s Week 3 game against the New York Giants due to a shoulder injury.

“I remember Brandon crying about not being able to play against the Giants,” running back Christian McCaffrey said. “It’s not often you find someone who cares so much about our team.”

The following week, Aiyuk returned and responded with six receptions for 148 yards.

Wide receivers play a vital role in blocking Kyle Shanahan’s schemes, and early in his career, this issue was a pending issue for Aiyuk.

“The temperament was always there, but now the technique has gotten better, and he’s become a very good blocker,” tight end George Kittle emphasized.

The rest always came naturally to the 49ers wide receiver.

Quarterback Brock Purdy said, “I personally think Aiyuk is one of the most underrated wide receivers in the NFL.” “His accuracy on routes, the way he takes advantage of cuts and the separation he creates is incredible, and it makes my job a lot easier.”

In good times, we all hold hands and smiles are the order of the day.

In bad times you either look for excuses, or you look for solutions.

Aiyuk understood what he needed to improve on, and today he has become a key part for the 49ers, who are one win away from lifting the Vince Lombardi Trophy once again.

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