49ers' Elijah Mitchell Expected to Return from Hamstring Injury for Week 1 vs. Bears

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIAugust 23, 2022

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell, who is sidelined with a hamstring injury, remains on track to return for the beginning of the regular season.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters the news Tuesday.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Aug. 12 that Mitchell could be out all preseason. Schefter also noted Mitchell was expected back by the Week 1 season opener at the Chicago Bears on Sept. 11.

Mitchell, 24, is entering his second NFL campaign. He excelled last year by amassing 1,100 total yards and six touchdowns.

The 49ers' running back room consists of Mitchell, Jeff Wilson Jr., Trey Sermon, Jordan Mason, JaMycal Hasty and Tyrion Davis-Price before cutdowns to the 53-man roster.

However, jack-of-all-trades wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who finished third on the team in carries last season, figures to be in the mix.

The 49ers finished 10-7 last season and upset the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers on the road before falling to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game.

The offense will feature new faces with Trey Lance taking the reins from veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel left to become the Miami Dolphins' head coach, and the new and restructured staff will be without a coordinator. Of note, ex-Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn is the assistant head coach and running backs coach.

Chris Foerster will have additional duties as the running game coordinator and offensive line coach, and passing game coordinator Bobby Slowik is back.

Mitchell became a star after he was selected in the sixth round out of Louisiana. In 11 games with 10 starts, he ran for 963 yards and five touchdowns on 4.7 yards per carry during the regular season and added 19 catches for 137 yards and a score.

Mitchell appears ready to remain atop the depth chart, per ESPN's Nick Wagoner on Aug. 5:

"Again, Elijah Mitchell continues to look like the clear-cut No. 1 option at RB. Had some holes in run game today and a couple that would have gone for long gains. If Mitchell can stay healthy, has a real chance to be first to lead team in rushing 2 years in a row under Shanahan."

In April, Mitchell told reporters he was playing hurt at the end of last season and underwent a clean-up procedure on his knee. But it appears he will be healthy as the 49ers begin their quest for a return trip to the playoffs.


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