Deommodore Lenoir

Lenoir explains how teammates sparked career-changing mindset

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Heading into Year 3 with the 49ers, Deommodore Lenoir’s mindset has changed dramatically since his rookie season.

In the latest 49ers Talk episode, Lenoir told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco that his surroundings and all the 49ers talent around him played a huge part in that.

“When I switched my mindset, I just really looked around and seen that I was surrounded by a lot of great players,” Lenoir said. “And I really just thought about the only way I can become like them is I got to switch my mindset ‘cause obviously you know when Fred [Warner] lines up, he's going to give 110 percent every game.

“I would be doing him a disfavor if I come out there and give him 80, 85 percent.”

But things weren’t always so clear for the young cornerback.

Lenoir played 13 games during 2021 NFL season and started two of them. Personal matters impacted his development, and he became a healthy scratch more than he was active for the rest of the season.

But something changed the following summer.

“In that offseason, I remember we had OTAs and I kind of felt like I wasn't where I wanted to be,” Lenoir explained. “So after OTAs, I had texted [49ers assistant special teams coach Matthew Harper] and told him I was just going to be All-Pro in something, and if I get my opportunity in something, then I'm going to make the best out of it.

“But right now, I'm a special teams player, so I'm going to be All-Pro at that. That's my whole mindset. And I ended up becoming a starter, and I never looked back. It was just all about getting better.”

In 2022, Lenoir was thrust into a starting role after 49ers cornerback Emmanuel Moseley suffered a season-ending ACL injury in Week 5.

The growth was immediate, and the confidence and swagger followed suit.

In 17 games last season, Lenoir racked up 79 total tackles -- 54 solo, six for a loss and five pass breakups. He had one interception in the regular season and two under the bright lights of the playoffs.

Now that Lenoir has established himself as the likely starter after San Francisco didn’t re-sign Moseley, 49ers defensive backs coach Daniel Bullocks wants the Oregon product to stay consistent in Year 3.

RELATED: Lenoir reveals hilarious new nickname for 49ers DC Wilks

And Lenoir, too, has high expectations for himself in 2023.

“My whole mindset, starting, playing DB, I felt like I was just doing my job. Now, I feel like I'm trying take the step where I make plays that put us in a position to win,” Lenoir said. “Because you never know, just like in the NFC Championship Game, Brock [Purdy] gets hurt, we really didn't have a resort. We had to try to score on defense.

“So I feel like my job every game is I got to get a turnover to put us in position to at least get us six points and win.”

The 49ers have their eye on the prize heading into the new season, and Lenoir's altered mindset is bracing him for his best year yet.

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