When it comes to Aaron Lynch’s conditioning, there’s good and bad news.
No, the 49ers defensive end isn’t at – or even close – to his target weight. But he’s certainly not as heavy as he was last year, when he admittedly lost focus and reached the 300-pound mark.
“I don’t think my mind was in the right place,” said Lynch, who was suspended for the first four games of 2016.
That’s not the case this year, he insisted.
“I’m working my (butt) off right now, getting down to the (weight) I need to get to, doing everything they want me to do.”
Lynch said his ideal weight is somewhere in the 260-pound range. Right now he said he’s in the 280-pound range, but coaches seem to be happy with his progress.
“There’s no doubt Aaron is going in the right direction for us,” coach Kyle Shanahan said after Tuesday’s OTA practice. “He came in in the offseason and we challenged him hard in the way that we worked him. He hasn’t shied away from any of it.”
Shanahn noted that Lynch has missed just one day of the offseason program because he had a family matter to attend to.
Lynch has been lining up as the second-team “Leo” defensive end, which is the primary pass rusher in the 49ers’ new defense. Unlike the previous two seasons when, as an outside linebacker, Lynch was asked to drop into coverage at times, this year his assignment are more straightforward, which he likes.
“You get to set the edge and you get to go get the quarterback,” he said.
Zuttah nicked – Veteran offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah was the starting center for the first two snaps of team drills, but went down with what appeared to be a muscle strain on the third snap. He was replaced by Daniel Kilgore.
Zuttah, who was acquired in a trade with Baltimore, also missed an earlier minicamp with a muscle strain.
It’s likely he would have rotated with Kilgore in the first-string offense had he been healthy. The 49ers did that both at right guard (Joshua Garnett and Brandon Fusco) and right tackle (Trent Brown and Garry Gilliam) on Tuesday. Joe Staley lined up at left tackle and Zane Beadles played left guard.
Other 49ers who did not practice were receiver Bruce Ellington and running back Raheem Mostert. Both are dealing with minor injuries.
Et cetera – Undrafted rookie safety Lorenzo Jerome grabbed an interception off a tipped pass midway through Tuesday’s practice. Jerome also had an interception in the rookie minicamp earlier this month. He is beginning the offseason as the 49ers’ third-string free safety.
▪ Arik Armstead, who is still recovering from shoulder surgery last month, was full go during practice. Armstead was the starter at the “Leo” defensive end spot. Lynch, Ronald Blair and rookie Pita Taumoepenu also lined up there on Tuesday.
▪ Neither first-round pick Solomon Thomas nor undrafted receiver Kendrick Bourne are permitted to attend the ongoing practices because their schools are still in session. Otherwise, the 49ers had perfect attendance.