Why Ricky Pearsall Wore a Blue Non-Contact Jersey in 49ers OTAs

Talk about special treatment.
Apr 25, 2024; Detroit, MI, USA; Florida Gators wide receiver Ricky Pearsall is selected as the No. 31 pick of the first round by the San Francisco 49ers during the 2024 NFL Draft at Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 25, 2024; Detroit, MI, USA; Florida Gators wide receiver Ricky Pearsall is selected as the No. 31 pick of the first round by the San Francisco 49ers during the 2024 NFL Draft at Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ricky Pearsall was the talk of 49ers OTAs and minicamp.

With Brandon Aiyuk holding out for a lucrative contract extension, Pearsall was the starting split end in the 49ers' first-team offense and he caught lots of passes. He was Aiyuk's temporary replacement. And he wore a blue non-contact jersey the entire time. This was strange.

Pearsall was the only player on the team wearing a blue jersey. Usually, players wear the blue jersey when they're injured. Often when a player gets a concussion, he practices in a blue jersey so he can stay in shape and the rest of the team knows not to touch him at all.

Every player except who was slightly injured during OTAs and minicamp sat out, which makes sense because it's June. The 49ers don't play a real game until September. There's no reason to push a player into practice if he's not healthy.

Pearsall seemed healthy. He ran his routes at full speed and participated heavily in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. And the cornerbacks didn't honor his non-contact designation. They pressed him at the line of scrimmage and grabbed him while he ran his routes. So why the blue jersey?

I'm guessing the 49ers are trying to be careful with Pearsall, because he's such a key component of their negotiations with Aiyuk. The better Pearsall performs this offseason, the less leverage Aiyuk has over the 49ers. And if Pearsall gets injured, then Aiyuk will have even more leverage.

So the 49ers are making Pearsall practice and trying to protect him at the same time. Talk about special treatment.


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Grant Cohn

GRANT COHN

Grant Cohn has covered the San Francisco 49ers daily since 2011. He spent the first nine years of his career with the Santa Rosa Press Democrat where he wrote the Inside the 49ers blog and covered famous coaches and athletes such as Jim Harbaugh, Colin Kaepernick and Patrick Willis. In 2012, Inside the 49ers won Sports Blog of the Year from the Peninsula Press Club. In 2020, Cohn joined FanNation and began writing All49ers. In addition, he created a YouTube channel which has become the go-to place on YouTube to consume 49ers content. Cohn's channel typically generates roughly 3.5 million viewers per month, while the 49ers' official YouTube channel generates roughly 1.5 million viewers per month. Cohn live streams almost every day and posts videos hourly during the football season. Cohn is committed to asking the questions that 49ers fans want answered, and providing the most honest and interactive coverage in the country. His loyalty is to the reader and the viewer, not the team or any player or coach. Cohn is a new-age multimedia journalist with an old-school mentality, because his father is Lowell Cohn, the legendary sports columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle from 1979 to 1993. The two have a live podcast every Tuesday. Grant Cohn grew up in Oakland and studied English Literature at UCLA from 2006 to 2010. He currently lives in Oakland with his wife.