Though the San Francisco 49ers‘ Week 2 game with the Seattle Seahawks is still a day away, one player who definitely won’t be on the field is Daniel Brunskill, who has officially been ruled out for the divisional showdown at Levi Stadium.
Originally signed by John Lynch and company in 2019 after a stint with the San Diego Fleet of the American Alliance of Football, the San Diego State product has appeared in 47 games with 40 starts as a member of the Niners over his three-year tenure, including a string of 33 straight regular season starts from 2020-21. Initially tasked with filling the role of a hybrid swing-man capable of logging snaps at left tackle on one play, right guard on the next, and right tackle after that, Brunskill transitioned into a more traditional inside performer in 2020, where he split his time near 50-50 between center and right guard according to Pro Football Focus.
From there, Brunskill settled into the role of full-time right guard, where he played 100 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in 2021. While the addition of Spencer Burford in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft made Brunskill’s chances of sticking in the starting lineup dubious at best, the journeyman embraced the challenge of returning to his versatile roots and spending his summer competing for both the center and right guard spots.
Had he remained healthy, Brunskill may have ultimately won out at one of the spots or the other, but after missing all but one snap of the preseason with a hamstring strain, that opportunity flew out the window. Barring injury, when Brunskill returns, it will be as a backup, but unfortunately, the date of that return is far from set in stone.
Kyle Shanahan Shines Some Light On Daniel Brunskill’s Status
When asked about the statuses of Brunskill and George Kittle on Thursday, Kyle Shanahan delivered some less-than-ideal news during his media availability.
“Neither of them were able to [practice] today,” Shanahan said Thursday on KNBR via 49ers WebZone. “I’m holding out more hope for George. We haven’t ruled Brunskill out yet, I don’t believe, but I’d be shocked if Brunskill made it. George still has a chance.”
This, understandably, is less than ideal news for Brunskill, the Niners’ offensive depth, and the fans watching from home hoping for an improved effort from the interior offensive line; Brunskill was expected to be a full-go in time for Week 1 after suffering a hamstring strain in training camp but, according to Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports, suffered a setback that has now stretched two weeks into the regular season.
The San Francisco 49ers Will Appreciate Daniel Brunskill’s Return
When Brunskill does eventually return, he will immediately provide a boost to the Niners’ depth chart, as the 28-year-old has logged snaps at every position across Shanahan’s offensive line since making his debut in Week 3 of the 2019 NFL season. He will all but surely be active for every game he’s healthy for, dressed in case any player has to miss a snap or more due to injury, and could even take a snap or two as a sixth offensive lineman if need be, which is a look Shanahan has utilized in the past both in San Francisco and at the previous stops in his NFL journey.
Fortunately, since Brunskill did not start the season out on IR and hasn’t been placed on the list to this point, he will be eligible to return for Week 3 if he’s healthy enough to play, which wouldn’t have been an option had his name showed up on the transaction list.