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Ryans believes healthy Greenlaw would've changed 49ers-Chiefs Super Bowl

Ryans believes healthy Greenlaw would've changed 49ers-Chiefs Super Bowl originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

INDIANAPOLIS — DeMeco Ryans believes if 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw hadn't torn his left Achilles in Super Bowl LVIII, the outcome would have been different.

The Houston Texans head coach felt the pain of Greenlaw, who suffered the devastating injury after only 12 defensive snaps into the 49ers' 25-22 Super Bowl LVIII loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 11 in Las Vegas, and believes the linebacker's presence on the Allegiant Stadium field would have had a positive impact for San Francisco.

“I talked to him before the game,” Ryans told NBC Sports Bay Area Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “He was in the right mode. You hate to say this, but if they had Dre, I feel like the game is different. They have Dre because of the impact plays that he can make.”

Ryans didn’t actually know the injury had happened to Greenlaw in real time. The former 49ers defensive coordinator was home after visiting his wife, who had just delivered a baby girl the Saturday prior to the game.

“I was watching with my kids, so I was watching the Nickelodeon broadcast at that time,” Ryans told NBC Sports Bay Area. “That broadcast didn’t show it. I was talking to my wife who was in the hospital and she was like, ‘Did you see what happened to Dre?’ And I’m like, ‘No, I didn’t see it.’ ”

Ryans ended up finding a video of the moment Greenlaw was jumping up and down while attempting to run onto the field when the injury occurred. The longtime 49ers assistant was crushed for his former player.

“I was just like 'I can’t believe this happened,' " Ryans said. "He was having such a great game and knowing Dre, I know when he is locked in. He was locked in. I know he was going to have a good game.”

Ryans has not spoken to Greenlaw since the injury but plans on reaching out. He wanted to be respectful and give his former player a little space after the loss.

General manager John Lynch provided an update on Greenlaw, who already has undergone Achilles surgery.

“Tim McAdams did the surgery and it went very well,” Lynch said Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I know it was a gut punch when it happened. Understanding what just happened, we’re not even on the field. Then looking up at the screen just like it was for our entire fan base and for football fans in general.

“Your heart goes out to Dre, because he puts so much into it and he lives for the big moments and to not be able to compete, it killed him and it hurts us because he’s a great player.”

Ryans could become a resource for the Arkansas product having gone through two separate Achilles injuries himself.

“I did it in 2010 and I actually did it in 2014 as well,” Ryans said. “I played the following season, but I didn’t feel like I was all the way there until a full year. I think it depends on where the tear is. Some guys the tear is in the middle and they come back earlier. Mine tore from the attachment at the bottom which is more significant.”

Ryans went through an injury on each Achilles and speculated the second could have happened as a result of over compensation from the first. He believes Greenlaw will make a strong recovery and could be back on the field at least participating in drills by training camp.

“Six months and then those last three [months], everybody is different on how fast you can hit the field and do the type of drills and how fast you can get back,” Ryans said. “I want to say six to nine months depending on how significant the tear was.”

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