One of the San Francisco 49ers' most dominant defenders suffered a serious injury in one of the worst ways imaginable in the Super Bowl.
Dre Greenlaw seemed to get his foot stuck in the Allegiant Stadium turf, after briefly hesitating while trying to run back onto the field from the sideline midway through the second quarter of Super Bowl LVIII.
Greenlaw suffered what was officially revealed as a left Achilles tendon injury, and had to be carted back to the locker room.
Dre Greenlaw has been carted to the locker room after this. Just brutal. pic.twitter.com/QRmDntpYHr
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 12, 2024
The 49ers replaced Greenlaw in the lineup with Oren Burks, after the 26-year-old's injury.
One of San Francisco's most vital front-seven defenders, Greenlaw finished the 2023 regular season with 120 total tackles and 1.5 sacks. Through the first five seasons of his career, Greenlaw produced 446 total tackles with 3.5 sacks and three interceptions.
"Dre [Greenlaw]is one of the best players in the league, so when he's not out there it's huge," 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters earlier this season. "But I don't want it to sound like our linebackers who came in did bad. You know [Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles] and Oren [Burks] came in there and played very well.
"Dre is just a little different of an animal. But those guys played a good game. Burks had one of the most impressive plays of the game when he stopped Amari [Cooper] on that long run, just being able to chase him down. Because not many people can do that. But hopefully, we get him [Greenlaw] back this week, because he's a difference maker."
Suffering an Achilles injury, on the grandest stage in sports, is not the way Greenlaw envisioned his Super Bowl playing out.
The 49ers' defense made an early statement in the first half against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs' offense. Prior to Greenlaw's departure, the Chiefs produced just 87 yards of total offense, and losing a fumble on their only trip into the red-zone in the first quarter.
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