Ronald Blair’s comeback won’t be happening on the 49ers’ defensive line, but rather in a reunion with coach Robert Saleh on the New York Jets.
“If you like winning, you like Ronnie Blair,” Saleh said in 2019 when he was the 49ers’ defensive coordinator and Blair was ascending as a versatile lineman.
But then Blair tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee midway through the 2019 season, when he pursued Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson in what would be the 49ers’ first loss in nine games that season.
A setback kept Blair out all of last season, and he was released March 12. He reportedly visited with the 49ers’ medical staff in April ahead of potentially re-signing.
The Jets announced his signing Tuesday morning, and Blair wrote “New Beginnings” on an Instagram picture of his new locker (No. 54).
We’ve signed DL Ronnie Blair and waived DL Sharif Finch.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) June 1, 2021
A 2016 fifth-round draft pick out of Appalachian State, Blair totaled 13 1/2 sacks in 47 games (two starts) for the 49ers.
The bigger ACL comeback facing the 49ers’ defensive line is that of Nick Bosa, who’s continued his rehabilitation in his native Fort Lauderdale rather than at the team’s voluntary workouts in Santa Clara.
If Bosa and potentially Dee Ford (back) return to full health, they’ll play key roles along with Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw, D.J. Jones and Samson Ebukam. Also vying for spots in the defensive line rotation are Zach Kerr, Maurice Hurst, Arden Key Jordan Willis, Kevin Givens, Kentavius Street, Darrion Daniels, Alex Barrett and Daeshon Hall.
The 49ers didn’t use any of their eight draft picks on a defensive lineman.
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