The San Francisco 49ers intend to sign running back Alfred Morris to a contract, coach Kyle Shanahan said during Monday’s press conference.
Morris, 29, needs to pass a physical before the 49ers will formally sign him.
Recent injuries to running backs Matt Breida (separated right shoulder) and Jerick McKinnon (strained right calf) created a need at the position.
“I told him I wouldn’t have waited so long to invite him unless I believed he had a chance to make the team,” Shanahan said. “I do believe he has a chance to make the team here. That’s all Alf wants, a chance to compete. With some of these injuries, he does have a chance.”
Morris is familiar with the 49ers’ offense as he played in it for two seasons (2012-13) when Shanahan was offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins.
Morris rushed for 1,613 yards and 13 touchdowns as a rookie in 2012 and followed up 1,275 yards and seven touchdowns the next season to earn the first of consecutive Pro Bowl nods. Shanahan was fired after the 2013 campaign along his father, head coach Mike Shanahan.
“Alf did a great job for us for the two years I was with him,” Shanahan said. “It’s not flashy but he runs extremely hard. He’s very reliable. He’s a hard-nosed runner you can keep handing the ball.”
Morris rushed for 1,074 yards and eight touchdowns in 2014 to make the Pro Bowl for the second straight year. But his production dropped to 751 yards and one touchdown in 2015, and he spent the past two seasons as a reserve with the Dallas Cowboys.
Morris rushed for 547 yards and one touchdown in 14 games (five starts) for Dallas in 2017.
Overall, Morris has rushed for 5,503 yards and 32 touchdowns in 92 NFL games (69 starts).
Breida injured his shoulder in the preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday and will miss the rest of the preseason. McKinnon hurt his calf during Sunday’s practice and may not see any more game action until Week 1 of the regular season.
Shanahan said McKinnon was feeling better Monday and was relieved it wasn’t a knee injury as initially feared.
“Everyone gets a little worried when it’s by your knee,” Shanahan said. “Yesterday he said it didn’t hurt that bad, so he wasn’t that worried. Once he got assurance it was his calf, it made sense he didn’t have that much pain.
“He felt much better today and he was frustrated he can’t get that work he and we all need until Week 1. But at least he feels good he’ll be ready for Week 1.”
McKinnon, 26, is being counted on heavily by the 49ers after signing a four-year, $30 million contract in the offseason.
He spent his first four NFL seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, rushing for a career-best 570 yards and three touchdowns last season.
Breida, 23, rushed for 465 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie.
—Field Level Media