Former 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr. saw his role evaporating when the 49ers added running back Christian McCaffrey ahead of the trade deadline. That sparked Wilson to privately request a trade from the only team he’d played for since joining the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2018. The 49ers dealt him to the Dolphins for a fifth-round pick, butt it wasn’t a move the 49ers necessarily wanted to make. Head coach Kyle Shanahan reiterated that Wednesday when he spoke with reporters.
“It was extremely hard,” Shanahan said. “That was one that I was not happy about, excited about, but something I truly understand that I think was the best for the team. We got a lot of running backs here who can do some stuff. Jeff has been exactly what I want for a Niner. And he’s helped us in every situation possible.”
Wilson was excellent for San Francisco this season and spent most of the year as the starter after Elijah Mitchell went down with a knee injury in the season opener. While the new Dolphins RB has yet to miss a game this season, Shanahan is hoping his only absence this year comes when the Dolphins visit Levi’s Stadium in Week 13.
“I told Jeff make sure that he doesn’t play against us,” Shanahan said. “He smiled. I don’t think he’ll stick with that. He can miss one game though. I’ve seen (former 49ers RB) Raheem (Mostert) throughout the year. I’ve watched those guys a lot and then watching Sunday on the Red Zone network, I was happy for Jeff. I don’t like seeing him making plays in another uniform that’s not a Niner. So you kind of take that a little personal, but then you think of Jeff and Jeff always wanted to be here, but he also knew this opportunity was best for him and his family. And Jeff was going to be a free agent at the end of this year and he’s got a chance to go somewhere that really needs him. A chance to basically be used as a starter, him and Raheem. And something that if he keeps doing what he did for us, him and his family are going to be in a much better situation at the end of this year, so it was really cool to watch him do for them, what he has done for us.”
Wilson kept up his strong 2022 production in his debut with the Dolphins in Week 9. He rushed for 51 yards on nine attempts, and caught three balls for 21 yards and a touchdown. Miami knocked off the Bears 35-32 and moved to 6-3 for the season. San Francisco will have its hands full with a good Dolphins offense and Wilson in a few weeks.
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