The San Francisco 49ers won't be at full strength when they play their first "home" game in Arizona at State Farm Stadium against the Buffalo Bills on Monday, but they are getting back some key players, including McQueen High alum Brandon Aiyuk.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan announced earlier this week the team was activating the rookie wide receiver who missed two weeks due to COVID-19 protocols after testing positive for the coronavirus.
“To have a true positive test, the first thing you think about is your family and who’ve you been around and not being able to see them,” Aiyuk said. “And secondly, not being able to come in and do what you love every day and be around your new family, which is my teammates. So that was probably the hardest thing, just not being able to be around my family at home and away from home here with this team. But that was two weeks ago. We’re back and focused this week on Buffalo.”
The rookie explained during his two weeks away from the team he treated it as it was a road trip, "a curve ball that was thrown my way, nothing different." Despite being gone for some time, the rookie is feeling ready to go.
“I feel fresh,” Aiyuk said. “I got some time off to take care of my body, take care of some other things as well. I definitely feel fresh mentally and physically. So I’m excited just to be back out there with the guys and play another football game.”
Playing during a global pandemic and being put on the COVID-19 list twice (he was part of the contact tracing protocol earlier this season), Aiyuk isn’t letting the challenges diminish his positive outlook on the year thus far.
During his rookie season, Aiyuk has caught 35 passes for 446 yards and scored five touchdowns (three receiving, two rushing). The first-round pick has 21 receptions for 281 yards and two touchdowns in his last three games played. He also could be the secret weapon the 49ers are looking for as they make a late-season push for a playoff spot.
“Obviously everyone knows this year’s a lot different then years in the past," Aiyuk said. "So we understand that this whole year, it’s not a normal year. This year’s a lot different. We just have to continue to roll with what we’re given under the circumstances, try to stay focused and control what we can. I know everything that’s outside of football isn’t any of our control, so we just have to continue to just when we’re playing football, just focus on football.”
San Francisco will take on the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football at 5:15 p.m.