Logan Ryan

Shanahan applauds Ryan for stepping into 49ers' starting safety spot

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The 49ers have suffered significant injuries at the safety position this season, but because of the depth that 11-year NFL veteran Logan Ryan now provides, the secondary hasn’t skipped a beat.

Coach Kyle Shanahan on Tuesday shared how thankful the 49ers are for Ryan’s immediate assimilation into their defense after his Dec. 5 signing with the team.

“Logan’s been great,” Shanahan told reporters on a conference call. “It’s what we hoped for. We knew how he was when he was playing. And you never know when you’re getting a guy in the middle of the year.”

The 49ers lost All-Pro safety Talanoa Hufanga to a season-ending knee injury in their Nov. 19 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Rookie Ji’Ayir Brown stepped into the starting role the next week, but he later suffered a knee sprain that sidelined him for the final two regular-season games.

“We thought with how thin we were getting at safety that we needed a guy with experience,” Shanahan said. “He came in and filled his role great as a backup, great on special teams, just how he carries himself in the building.

“And then when Ji’Ayir did get hurt and he did go in, he played like a starting-caliber safety, which he’s done his whole career at a high level — not just safety but nickel and corner.”

Ryan was a third-round pick of the New England Patriots in the 2013 NFL Draft and won two Super Bowl championships in four seasons with the team before making stops with the Tennessee Titans (2017 to 2019), New York Giants (2020 to 2021) and Tampa Bay (2022).

Ryan began his 49ers tenure as an addition to the special teams unit before being tapped as a defensive starter in Week 16. He logged 13 total tackles (nine solo, one for a loss) in his two starts and played every defensive snap in both games.

Shanahan remains unsure about the exact date of Brown’s return, which makes Ryan’s contributions even more valuable.

“For him to come here and do this with a little amount of time, I can’t say enough good things about him,” Shanahan said. “And we’ll see how Ji’Ayir is when he comes back, because Ji’Ayir was playing at a real high level, too, before he got hurt.

“But I’m real happy with Logan. Logan’s really helped us out in a tough situation.”

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