The least surprising event of the season happened Monday: The 49ers said Jalen Hurd will not play at all this season due to an ACL tear he suffered last year during training camp.
This will be the third consecutive season Hurd has missed -- he sat out his rookie season with a back injury. Which means he still has not made his NFL debut. The 49ers' third-round pick from 2019 still has yet to appear in a regular season game.
And yet he's still on the team. Three years in a row, the 49ers have given him a roster spot he didn't earn or deserve. And the best part of this saga will be next season when the 49ers give Hurd his fourth chance.
Here's the evolution of the 49ers' narrative about Hurd's recovery.
Kyle Shanahan on Aug. 19: "You guys know, he's been in and out through most of this and he's had some knee soreness. He's got some knee tendonitis. So instead of going one day off and three on, we just made the decision a couple of days ago to shut him down for the week. We’ll make sure he gets at least seven days off. I think it was five days before that. So, it's going to be a little over 10 days. Hopefully when we get to Las Vegas week, that'll be the right answer. I hope he’ll be a little bit better."
John Lynch on Sept. 1: "I think there's some level of projection. I think a couple of situations, his probably being a little different than Jaquiski Tartt because Tartt’s played for us before. Jalen has some special skills, some unique skills and has a variety of them. He's got a lot of versatility to his game. He knows it, we know it. You have to show that you can be dependable, that you can be out there. Do we feel 100-percent iron clad that he's proven that he's that in the short amount of time that he's been out there? No, but we feel like the talent that he brings. And it's not just talent. He also brings a physicality and an attitude that he plays with that I believe is really contagious to our team. And so, again, you have backup plans for everything, but we want to enter this year with Jalen there and we'll see how that goes."
Kyle Shanahan on Nov. 9: "I'm not expecting him to come back this year. We tried to give him some rest because things keep happening and it's not getting better. We have all these timelines on it and we're not meeting those deadlines, so it's not healing the way that we want. I don't know for sure, but just looking at how it's gone, I don't think it’s going to heal fast enough this year for him to help us."
What a sad three-part saga the 49ers most likely will repeat in 2022.
When will they ever learn?