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How Much Will Nick Bosa Play vs. Steelers?



Steelers Nick Bosa 49ers
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) reacts after a sack during an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Jan.8, 2023, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Scot Tucker)

San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa has not even landed in the city yet, but his head coach Kyle Shanahan is already pretty sure that he’s going to play in Sunday’s season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Asked how many snaps it’s realistic for Bosa, who agreed to a record-setting contract with the 49ers earlier on Wednesday, to play, Shanahan asked back, “How many snaps are in the game?”

Bosa will have to pass a physical to make the contract and his presence on the 53-man roster official. He will then have to prove that he’s in game shape and ready to play. But Shanahan expects that the drive that has made Bosa an elite edge rusher kept him busy while he was away from the team.

“We’ve got to see when he gets here,” Shanahan said. “I know Nick will come in shape. I know he’ll be good. It’ll be great if he can get in something today. I don’t know when he’s going to get here or where he’s flying from. We’ll try to be smart with it and that will be based on the next two and half practices.”

Bosa has been away from the team, unlike Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt, who had a “hold in” back in 2021. Watt did individual work and took part in meetings and walkthroughs, but did not participate in team drills during training camp.

With the 49ers making a chance at defensive coordinator this offseason, that could lead to some on-field confusion for Bosa, but Shanahan minimized the potential impact of his lack of reps.

“Nick is a very smart player in our scheme. It’s not the most complicated thing for the D line. He’s very good at it, but Nick’s been on his own completely. That’s why I don’t want to answer too much. I’ve got to see when he gets here. I’ve gotten to know Nick pretty well I expect when he gets here to look and act and be in the same spot since the day we met him.”

That’s probably not the spot that the Steelers were hoping he’d be in, but they have said they’ve been expecting Bosa to play.

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