The 49ers suffered a key loss late in what became their seventh season to end in a Super Bowl berth. Weston Richburg‘s second San Francisco season ended after 13 games with a torn patellar tendon.
Patellar tendon injuries are among the more difficult to surmount, but the 49ers’ starting center is confident he will be back by the start of the 2020 season. Richburg said he will not be able to participate in the 49ers’ offseason program. However, the former Giants second-round pick expects to be ready to return by training camp, per Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports Bay Area.
After losing Richburg in December, the 49ers turned to veteran swing man Ben Garland the rest of the way. The ex-Broncos and Falcons blocker helped the 49ers keep their ground success going, peaking with Raheem Mostert‘s dominant NFC championship game. Garland, however, is a free agent. Richburg’s contract — which the 49ers recently restructured — runs through the 2022 season.
The 2020 season will be Richburg’s age-29 campaign. Pro Football Focus has not viewed Richburg as one of the league’s better centers during his time in San Francisco, grading him as the No. 25 snapper last season. Regardless, Richburg is expected to reprise his role as the 49ers’ first-string center — on an offensive line that also has its other four starters under contract for 2020. Garland, who has played for Kyle Shanahan at multiple stops, will likely be a consideration to return as an insurance option/depth piece.