49ers Teammates ‘Sick to Stomach’ After Devastating Injury to Star LB

The 49ers' Dre Greenlaw was carted off from the Super Bowl with an Achilles tendon injury.

Getty The 49ers' Dre Greenlaw was carted off from the Super Bowl with an Achilles tendon injury.

It was a brutal injury for the 49ersDre Greenlaw, not only because he tore his Achilles tendon, but also because of the scenario in which it happened. He was merely running onto the field during with 9:26 to go in the second quarter of Sunday night’s Super Bowl against the Chiefs, when his left leg gave out. It’s about as freak an accident as could happen on an NFL field.

At the time, the 49ers were holding a 3-0 lead. They went on to lose in overtime, 25-22. Certainly, Greenlaw could have made a difference, especially in overtime when the worn-out defense could not hold back Patrick Mahomes from a game-winning touchdown drive. At the very least, his injury was a gut-punch for the entire lineup.

Fellow linebacker and friend Fred Warner took it especially hard, and talked about crying at halftime when he saw Greenlaw.

“I’m sick to my stomach,” Warner told reporters after the game. “I’m still sick. I see him at halftime, and I’m crying because I was just so hurt for him and obviously wanting to win this for him. Sickening. …

“I saw him at halftime, saw him, obviously, towards the end of the game when he was out there on the sideline. Horrible.”

Achilles Tendon Injury ‘Was Hard’

What made it especially hard for Greenlaw’s teammates is that they saw how hard he had worked throughout the season to stay on the field and fight through injuries–including a bothersome Achilles tendon injury earlier this year, and a hamstring problem that kept him out in Week 5.

Star defensive lineman Nick Bosa said there was some emotional uplift after Greenlaw’s injury, because there was an added desire to win the game for him. But there is also a drop-off from Greenlaw to his backup, Oren Burks.

“It was hard,” Bosa said.  “Sometimes when things like that happen, it could sway the momentum just because it’s such an emotional feeling. But I do think we did a good job of continuing to play the way we were playing. And Dre is a one-on-one human being. He was pushing through so much this year. And I think 99 percent of players wouldn’t have been able to do what he did. And he put his body on the line for this and it sucks that we can’t get him one.”

49ers Dre Greenlaw Injury ‘Just Sucks’

Tight end George Kittle called the Greenlaw injury “depressing” and while he credited Burks and fellow backup Demetrius Flanigan-Fowles, he also was already hoping that Greenlaw would have a speedy recovery.

That could take up to nine months or more, though Kittle cited the comeback of Aaron Rodgers, who might have been ready to play by Week 17 after having torn his Achilles in Week 1, had the Jets been competitive.

“That’s, that’s depressing,” Kittle said. “To get injured in the Super Bowl? Hopefully he hits up Aaron Rodgers and can heal that quickly. Besides that, Dre’s the heartbeat of our defense, him and Fred in there. I know they feed off each other. I know O.B. and Flan stepped in and did a really good job.

“But we lose a guy like Dre, it’s just tough. He’s such a fantastic football player and he’s everything the Niners stand for. To lose him, it just really, really sucks for him.”


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