Chase Young

Young focused on playing his best with 49ers, not on next contract

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SANTA CLARA — The next contract will come for Chase Young, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

But, first, he has nine regular-season games with the 49ers and, potentially, additional games in the playoffs.

The 49ers acquired the defensive end from the Washington Commanders for a special compensatory draft pick at last week's NFL trade deadline.

It appears unlikely he has a long-term home with the 49ers, but all that will sort itself out in March.

“I’m not even worried about that right now,” Young said Monday after taking part in his first practice with the 49ers. “I’m just worried about learning this playbook and just being the best player that I can be.”

Young faces an unknown NFL future due to a torn right ACL he sustained in November 2021, midway through the season after he was named Defensive Rookie of the Year.

The surgery was complex, as part of his left patellar tendon was grafted on his other knee as part of the surgical repair. The recovery and physical therapy kept him out of action for more than a year.

The Commanders declined to exercise the fifth-year option on Young, which would have kept him under contract through the 2024 NFL season for a guaranteed salary of $17.5 million.

But, now, Young appears to be close to his pre-injury form with five sacks in seven games.

He got back this season to a point he was strong enough to take on a full workload for the Commanders.

Young averaged 58 snaps per game this season. He played a career-high 75 plays from scrimmage on Oct. 15 in a 24-16 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

“It was big for me,” Young said of his return to being an every-down player. “But I didn’t make it real big to myself. One day at a time. Just going through the injury like I had, the only thing I could do was just take it one day at a time.

“And that’s what I set out to do now. Play is going to come. I’m just taking everything one day at a time.”

Young said he could sense a different culture — a winning culture — upon his arrival with the 49ers after his time in Washington.

The 49ers (5-3) head into their Week 10 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday tied for the lead in the NFC West and a favorite to advance to the playoffs.

“It’s definitely exciting,” Young said. “It gives me another amount of motivation to go out and do my best and play every play like it’s my last.”

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