Why LB Kendricks spurned 49ers to sign with Cowboys

Why LB Kendricks spurned 49ers to sign with Cowboys originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

What exactly led to veteran linebacker Eric Kendricks’ decision to sign with the Dallas Cowboys after reportedly agreeing to terms with the 49ers?

In speaking to The Athletic’s Jon Machota, Kendricks explained why the opportunity to play a more integral role in Dallas ultimately drove his decision to spurn San Francisco and sign with the Cowboys. (h/t 49ers Webzone)

“I think I would’ve taken more of a reserved role [in San Francisco], whereas I feel I have a lot left to give, and I wanted to be here and be middle linebacker,” Kendricks told Machota. “I wanted to share my experience with the team, share my leadership abilities, and command that huddle.”

With Fred Warner entrenched as the 49ers’ starting middle linebacker, the odds of Kendricks getting the opportunity to play substantial snaps at the position in San Francisco were slim.

The nine-year NFL veteran spent the 2023 campaign with the Los Angeles Chargers after serving as a key piece of the Minnesota Vikings‘ defense for the first eight seasons of his professional football career. Kendricks was named First-Team All-Pro in 2019 under head coach Mike Zimmer, who now serves as the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator.

Between the chance to land a more substantial role in Dallas and the opportunity to reunite with Zimmer, Kendricks’ decision to forego signing with San Francisco is understandable.

With Dre Greenlaw‘s return timetable from a ruptured Achilles still unclear, the 49ers pivoted to sign another former All-Pro linebacker in the wake of Kendricks’ switch to the Cowboys, bringing in former Green Bay Packers standout De’Vondre Campbell on a one-year contract.

While Kendricks opted to not sign with the 49ers, he still will have the chance to play at Levi’s Stadium with San Francisco set to host Dallas in a home game in 2024, with the date and time to be determined when the NFL releases its schedule on May 9.

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