San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw is having himself quite an impressive week and it has everyone talking.
Especially after the Niners preseason 17-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday, Aug. 20., where the 24-year-old basically shoved all his impressive offseason work in the faces of naysayers.
“Living Without Pain Has Made an Immense Difference in Kinlaw’s Quality of Life
In just a few short months, it will be one year since Kinlaw went on the injured reserve list in order to have reconstructive surgery on his ACL and the former first round 2020 draft pick has been working tirelessly to return to the field. During the 49ers preseason win over the Green Bay Packers a week ago, Kinlaw was limited to only 14 snaps to ease himself back into the game.
But fans got to see him throughout a great deal of the first half of the game against the Vikings.
And what a first half it was.
Toward the end of the first quarter, Kinlaw – who isn’t known for making sacks – sacked Vikings quarterback Kellen Mond before delighting fans with the “Griddy Dance,” which seemed to set fire to Twitter.
“If Javon Kinlaw plays at a high level, just go ahead and plan the parade @JedYork,” one person tweeted, tagging 49ers CEO Jed York.
“Sack!” someone else said. “DT Javon Kinlaw one of many to come.”
“Javon Kinlaw vs. the World,” one person tweeted.
“Why you bully that man?” another person asked and posted an impressive still photo of Kinlaw’s tackle of Mond
People took notice that Kinlaw “seemed more like himself” as head coach Kyle Shanahan said following the game.
“The few 49ers media that were at the San Francisco vs. Minnesota game just spoke to Javon Kinlaw in the locker room and it was incredibly enjoyable and entertaining,” NBC’s 49ers beat writer Jennifer Lee Chan tweeted. “Living without pain has made an immense difference in Kinlaw’s quality of life and it is evident in person and on the field.”
“The joy on Nick Bosa’s face while greeting Javon Kinlaw after that sack speaks an entire story,” The Athletic’s David Lombardi said. “In Kinlaw, the 49ers see a man who’s suffered through injuries (and even tried to play on a damaged ACL last season) and overcome them to finally have a healthy crack at the NFL.”
The talk didn’t die down following the game, and it was clear in the actions of teammates and the coaching staff.
“When something is bothering you like it was, that’s hard for anybody but it’s really hard for athletes,” Shanahan said of Kinlaw’s performance. “This is what they do, it’s what they wait their whole life to do and when you’re going out there and the pressure is on you and you don’t feel like you can do what you’re capable of, it’s frustrating.”
“Good to be out there with the guys,” Kinlaw said. “I love being out there. I missed it to be honest. I feel like I’m finally getting back to having fun and just really being a kid again now that I’m not in any pain.”
The media has been paying close attention to Kinlaw during practice this week in Minnesota, most notably Pat McAffee, who featured a video of the DT walking off the field shirtless.
“Javon Kinlaw of the San Francisco 49ers. A f–king monster,” McAfee said on the “Pat McAfee Show” on Friday, Aug. 19. “Got a good video of him walking off the practice field, I assume in Minnesota, shirtless.”
Here’s the video he was referencing.
“Javon Kinlaw (literally) built different,” podcast host Steph Sanchez tweeted out.