Nick Bosa

Bosa's 49ers contract extension is weight off his shoulders

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SANTA CLARA — The agreement on a contract that made him the highest-paid non-quarterback in the league meant Nick Bosa could rejoin his 49ers teammates.

“It was unbelievable,” Bosa said on Friday, just hours after signing his five-year, $170 million contract extension. “I’ve been waiting for that moment. It was probably one of the biggest things I’ve been excited for is to walk in the building and see all the guys.

“I know they had my back. Players have each other’s backs in this league because it’s a business at the end of the day. It was very cool to see everybody.”

And, now, it’s a quick turnaround for Bosa to get on the field for the 49ers’ season opener on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers after taking part in just two practice sessions.

Bosa and his teammates were set to travel to Pittsburgh on Friday afternoon for the Week 1 showdown.

Coach Kyle Shanahan declined to reveal any specifics about how the team envisions deploying Bosa on Sunday. But Bosa said he believes he is ready for a full workload.

“I’d be up for a normal workload, for sure,” Bosa said. “But I haven’t talked to him, yet.”

Known for his uncommon workout habits and physical condition, Bosa did not disappoint anyone when he reported to team headquarters this week after a 44-day holdout.

“He looks exactly how I expected him to look,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said on Friday before the club departed for Pittsburgh. “He looks like he’s in real good shape and ready to go.

“We got an idea how we’re going to use him, and I think he’ll do all right.”

Shanahan cited how Bosa tore his ACL in 2020 and was not activated to practice until late in the next summer’s training camp.

Bosa had just one week of practice before the season opener and played 51 snaps in Week 1 against the Detroit Lions. He had one sack and three tackles for loss.

The circumstances are different this time, as Bosa remained away from the team while the business side of the NFL took over.

Bosa's side and the 49ers had plenty of uneasy times during the contract impasse. Agent Brian Ayrault and the 49ers seemed to have difficulty finding much common ground throughout the process.

And that left Bosa thinking there was a distinct possibility he would not be signed in time to suit up for the first regular-season game.

“You don’t know what people are thinking,” Bosa said. “You don’t know really what’s going to happen. You’re just getting updates once in a while.

“The closer it got, the more it seemed like it (missing the opener) was a possibility. But I’m very appreciative of this organization, obviously, for believing in me and the York family for believing in me.”

Bosa also singled out general manager John Lynch and Shanahan for their support.

"It’s definitely an honor to be with this organization for the majority of my career," he said.

Bosa said he tried to stay detached as much as possible while Ayrault and the 49ers’ chief negotiators, Paraag Marathe and Brian Hampton, engaged in all the messy back-and-forths.

“There were certain points throughout it that were more stressful than others,” Bosa said. “But I trust the team around me, and I know they have my best interests in mind. I trusted the 49ers organization, and all of them to work well with my guys. I had trust all along, but it was certainly stressful.”

Now, the business side of it is over.

Bosa, 25, can shift his entire focus toward what drew him to the game when he started playing tackle football at the age of 7.

“I’m definitely thinking it’s going to be a weight off my shoulders,” Bosa said, “and just be able to really not think about all the negative thoughts that come along with playing this game and be free out there and play for one reason — to win games.”

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