San Francisco 49ers

49ers’ Shanahan: In worst-case scenario, Foster misses rookie year

Saints called Foster to draft him. Then he saw the 49ers on the other line.

Linebacker Reuben Foster talks about an interesting conversation he had on draft night moments before the San Francisco 49ers selected him at No. 31 overall.
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Linebacker Reuben Foster talks about an interesting conversation he had on draft night moments before the San Francisco 49ers selected him at No. 31 overall.

Addressing a report that some teams didn’t think Reuben Foster’s surgically repaired shoulder will hold up in 2017, Kyle Shanahan on Thursday acknowledged a “worst-case scenario” in which the linebacker has a second surgery that scuttles his rookie year.

“The worst-case scenario is that the shoulder doesn’t heal correctly and you’ve got to do it again,” the 49ers coach said on KNBR radio. “And then you have to do it again, you have to get another surgery. It would be tough to play this year, and you end up having him the next year.”

“But it’s not something that would hurt him long-term,” Shanahan said. “So the worst-case scenario, he wouldn’t end up being able to play for us right away. But I still don’t think that would have changed how I personally felt about taking a guy with the 31st pick with the caliber of player that we took.”

On Wednesday an ESPN report cited sources that worried the offseason surgery Foster had to repair a torn rotator cuff “didn’t take.”

Shanahan said the 49ers team doctors had a different assessment of the shoulder – it was healing properly.

“They thought it was recovering well,” he said. “They didn’t have the same report a lot of other teams did. You never know who is going to end up being right. Everyone is trying to do their best to figure it out. But no one can tell the future. I just look at it as – you go with what your doctors say.”

Hikutini a ‘move’ tight end – Sacramento’s Cole Hikutini, who went undrafted last week, said he chose the 49ers over other squads because they showed him the most attention and because he saw a route to the active roster.

“I came here, I liked the coaches and felt like it would be a good opportunity,” said the Louisville tight end, who paid a pre-draft visit to the 49ers.

Hikutini said the New Orleans Saints and Houston Texans also pressed to sign him when the draft ended. At the same time he was fielding calls from 49ers general manager John Lynch tight ends coach Jon Embree and Shanahan.

Hikutini suffered a knee injury in his team’s bowl game and wasn’t able to work out at the scouting combine in March. When he ran during Louisville’s pro day, he still wasn’t fully recovered and ran a slow 40-yard dash.

“I’ve run faster 40s than that, but I wanted to go out and compete,” the Pleasant Grove High graduate said. “I wanted to show them my knee was getting better. I think I came out a little sooner than I should have.”

Hikutini said his strength is route running and pass catching, and the 49ers see him as a potential “move” tight end. The player currently in that role, Vance McDonald, was the subject of trade talks during the draft.

Et cetera – The 49ers signed all six of their Day 3 draft picks to four-year deals. They were running back Joe Williams, tight end George Kittle, receiver Trent Taylor, nose tackle D.J. Jones, defensive end Pita Taumoepenu and defensive back Adrian Colbert.

▪ Shanahan said NaVorro Bowman’s recovery from Achilles surgery has occurred faster than Shanahan expected. “I couldn’t be more excited with Bo than I am right now,” he said. “He’s been winning our drills, our shuttles. … Just to come out there and watch him. He does not look like a guy coming off an Achilles.”

▪ In addition to the 49ers’ 10-man draft class, the team’s rookie minicamp this week will include 40 undrafted rookies and other rookies who will take part on a tryout basis. Shanahan noted that receiver Taylor Gabriel, receiver Brandon Banks and cornerback K’waun Williams all were former tryout players at his previous coaching stops who made active rosters and appeared in NFL games. The 49ers, in fact, signed Williams earlier this year.

* Quarterback C.J. Beathard said he’s been issued No. 3. The jersey he wore at Iowa, No. 16, is not available in San Francisco.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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