Jason Verrett

Shanahan details process behind Verrett's ‘amazing' 49ers return

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Jason Verrett's return to an NFL field on Christmas was a long time coming.

The 49ers cornerback hadn't played in 834 days after first tearing his ACL in San Francisco's 2021 season opener, then suffering a torn Achilles during a November 2022 practice as he attempted a comeback.

But despite all of that, Verrett recently found himself back with San Francisco on the practice squad and even played in the team's Monday night loss to the Baltimore Ravens after being elevated for the game -- a welcome gift for the 32-year-old who, before his injuries, was viewed as the 49ers' top corner.

As Verrett attempted another comeback this season, the veteran reached out to 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan.

"It's something that he had talked to me about over the summer, that he was trying to come back," Shanahan told Greg Papa on the latest "49ers Game Plan" episode. "A bunch of players would come to me like, 'Hey, JV's working. Are you guys ever going to look into him?'

"I mean, the injuries he's been through and stuff, you never want to act like it's going to happen. But you're never going to hold anybody back, and I was like, 'Yeah, JV. If you can get back, we'll give you a tryout,' and he's worked his tail off."

Shanahan explained that Verrett worked out for the 49ers and "looked like the old JV" before spending several weeks on the Houston Texans' practice squad. At the time of the workout, Shanahan said, the 49ers had the maximum number of veterans on the practice squad and couldn't sign Verrett.

But after wide receiver Chris Conley was elevated from the practice squad ahead of the 49ers' Week 14 game against the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco had room for Verrett and he decided to come back.

"He was so tight with a bunch of guys on the team, he kind of wanted to finish here where it ended [for] him with the injuries," Shanahan said, noting he spoke with former 49ers defensive coordinator and current Texans coach DeMeco Ryans about how good Verrett looked in practice.

"Got down here, [and] he's had two great weeks with us," Shanahan continued. "It was just amazing, really, that he can look the way he does with what he's been through. It's tough when you haven't been on the field for a while."

Verrett played five snaps in the 49ers' loss to the Ravens and allowed a touchdown pass from Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson to wide receiver Nelson Agholor in the third quarter. But Shanahan was impressed with the fact that Verrett was even able to enter the game after all he has been through.

"I think that's an accomplishment in itself," Shanahan told Papa of Verrett's limited playing time. "He had a good week of practice this week. We'll see how the roster plays out for Sunday, but he's a guy who can help us and you need it this time of year."

It remains to be seen just how large of an impact Verrett will have as the regular season winds down and the 49ers prepare for their third consecutive NFL playoff run. But one certain thing is that the veteran corner's story certainly serves as an inspiration for any player dealing with injuries.

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