49ers' Matt Breida has faced adversity beyond injury report in NFL


SANTA CLARA — Matt Breida has a history of being tough in more ways than one.

The 49ers running back not only has played through physical pain in the NFL, but he powered through a mentally challenging senior season at Georgia Southern and entered the league as an undrafted free agent.

A few extra days' rest has done him and the 49ers some good. Breida, who has been dealing with a nagging ankle injury for weeks, did not show up on the injury report at all heading into Monday night's game against the New York Giants.

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has been very complimentary of Breida’s toughness through his injury, and remarked that the running back’s durability was not a concern as the team scouted him prior to the 2017 draft.

“Not much,” Shanahan said. “He was durable in college. He played a lot. We thought he was a real good runner, a guy that we definitely thought was draftable.”

When asked if he recalled that Breida had not missed a game since high school, Shanahan said resilience was not an issue for the 5-foot-11, 190-pound back. Shanahan did recall that Breida’s senior season featured a significant statistical drop-off. That, according to Shanahan, was the reason Breida fell in the draft.

“From what I remember, he had very good numbers and stats,” Shanahan said. “And then they went really down his last year. I think that’s why he went a little bit under the radar because of numbers, which you do hear about, but that’s usually the last thing you hear about.

“We just put the tape on and watch it. You think he’s going to be way up there and then you try to figure out why no one’s talking about him. From what I remember, I think it was because his numbers took a big decline his last year. I could be wrong, but that’s what I think.”

Shahanan’s recall is accurate. Breida had two outstanding seasons before a coaching change altered his production. In Breida’s sophomore year, he racked up 171 carries for 1,485 yards, giving him 8.7 yards per carry. In his junior year, he carried the ball 203 times for 1,609 yards, an average of 7.9 yards per carry.

Breida’s senior campaign was much more modest with 168 carries for 646 yards and a 3.8 yards-per-carry average. He was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine.

“We thought he would be around there late,” Shanahan said. “And we went a few directions there in the sixth and seventh round. But he’s one of the guys you’re watching every pick saying, ‘Man, I hope that guy gets to free agency.’ Then, if you have one of those extra sevens or things, or went a different direction, we definitely would have grabbed him. But we felt very fortunate he lasted.”
Breida already has passed his 2017 rushing total of 465 yards. After nine games, he has carried the ball 96 times for 531 yards, an average of 5.5 yards per carry.

[RELATED: No decision made to move 49ers-Giants away from Camp Fire smoke Monday]

[RATTO: 49ers face dynamic rookie Saquon Barkley at the right time against Giants]

[HOW TO WATCH: 49ers vs. Giants live stream]

Contact Us