McCaffrey reveals Brandon Aiyuk was in tears over missing Week 3

Oct 3, 2023, 10:30 AM | Updated: 5:23 pm

Brandon Aiyuk #11 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi's Sta...

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Some players have a bigger passion for the game of football than others, and it sounds like Brandon Aiyuk is one of those.

The San Francisco 49ers wide receiver returned to the field for Week 4 after missing the previous week with a shoulder injury. Coach Kyle Shanahan revealed that Aiyuk would have suited up for Week 3’s clash with the New York Giants if it was a Sunday game. But due to the short turnaround on Thursday night, the 49ers opted to be cautious with their budding star, putting him on the shelf for a few days.

That rest did the wideout wonders, returning in a big way by leading the team in receiving yards (148) on six catches in Week 4. And while Aiyuk understood the decision to sit out his first game since his rookie season, it was hard for the Rocklin native, almost in tears according to teammates.

“BA’s [Brandon Aiyuk] amazing. He cares about this team so much. Last game, he’d probably be [mad] at me for saying this, but he was kind of in tears that he couldn’t suit up and play,” running back Christian McCaffrey recalled after Sunday’s win. “To me, that meant a lot because I saw how much he wanted to be out there with us. And, even though it was something minor, he wanted to play so bad. So to come out here and have the day that he did, it’s awesome. Just a great, great guy to have on our team.”

The Arizona State alum has had a rollercoaster first few years in the NFL, being put in Shanahan’s doghouse initially. Aiyuk struggled with the run game of the 49ers at first, unable to be a complete player on offense. That changed over the last two years, with his talent and willingness to work paving the way for his success.

Now leading the Red & Gold in receiving yards through the first four weeks (320), BA is on track to become the next elite talent on the 49ers, putting himself in the upper echelon of NFL wideouts.

“BA is I think one of the most slept-on receivers in the NFL,” quarterback Brock Purdy told NBC Sports Bay Area. “Honestly, just his route-running ability, the way he gets separation, the way he gets in-and-out of cuts. Just watching him on film, it’s like, man, this guy, I just got to get the ball to him in space because he does the rest of the work.”

And that they did against the Arizona Cardinals, with Purdy hitting Brandon Aiyuk on multiple big gains downfield. The duo’s longest reception of the day went for 42 yards. In fact, BA has been so potent for the 49ers that all 17 of his catches this season have gone for either a first down or a touchdown. 

Coming into his own on a star-studded team, Aiyuk is taking off right before our very eyes. 

“I feel good, got into the game. Just wanted to get back rolling, get back on track. And I think I did that today,” Brandon Aiyuk said about his Week 4 performance.

“He’s a threat in the passing game in all areas. So, definitely thankful to be throwing the ball to him and I just gotta keep feeding him,” Purdy added with a smile. 

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Upcoming San Francisco 49ers Schedule

  • Sunday, October 8th vs. Dallas Cowboys – 5:20 PM PST
  • Sunday, October 15th @ Cleveland Browns – 10:00 AM PST
  • Monday, October 23rd @ Minnesota Vikings – 5:15 PM PST
  • Sunday, October 29th vs. Cincinnati Bengals – 1:25 PM PST
  • Sunday, November 12th @ Jacksonville Jaguars – 10:00 AM PST

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