Programming note: For comprehensive 49ers coverage from Santa Clara, tune in to SportsNet Central tonight at 6, 10:30 and midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
SANTA CLARA – Rookie outside linebacker Aaron Lynch appears hungry to reward the 49ers for their trust.
Lynch’s NFL stock plummeted after an impressive freshman season at Notre Dame. He ran into off-field issues and transferred to South Florida. He lost weight and strength due to his prescribed use of Adderall, he said.
Lynch said he played at 270 pounds while at Notre Dame, but dropped to 246 at South Florida. The 49ers selected him in the fifth round. He is currently at 276 pounds, he said. He credited the weight program of 49ers head strength and conditioning coach Mark Uyeyama, as well as the team’s kitchen staff.
“Coach (Jim) Harbaugh says if you want two steaks, three steaks, take them home with you,” Lynch said on Wednesday. “I guess that's how I gained a lot of weight, eating nice steaks, and thick salads and things like that.”
Lynch sustained a hamstring strain during the offseason conditioning program and got a late start in training camp. He did not see any snaps on defense in the 49ers’ exhibition game Thursday against the Baltimore Ravens, but saw plenty of time over three days when the teams participated in joint practices. Lynch lined up extensively against Ravens projected starting right tackle Rick Wagner.
“It felt good getting the reps in practice because it was just like playing the game without the tackling,” Lynch said. “I still have a lot to learn. I think I’m on the right track. Talking the coaching, watching the vets, I still have a lot of room to grow. I’m still young -- still new to the game.”
Lynch was considered a character risk when the 49ers selected him. In fact, South Florida strength and conditioning coach Hans Straub resigned after making a comment on social media about the 49ers’ selection of Lynch: “Clearly, integrity & character are not a priority."
Lynch said he is not determined to prove people wrong. He’s just working on putting himself into position to make the 49ers’ 53-man roster and be a contributor.
“I’m just really came here not really to answer people’s questions, but more to do what the coaches are telling me to do and fit the scheme I’m supposed to fit,” he said. “I didn’t play outside linebacker in college, but now I’m playing outside linebacker. (I have) to focus on learning how to play outside linebacker, dropping into coverage at 270 pounds.”