The San Francisco 49ers lost Super Bowl LVIII due to a myriad of reasons — big, small, and unfortunate. One reason that fell in the latter category was the freak injury to linebacker Dre Greenlaw.
Greenlaw suffered a torn Achilles while just jogging back onto the field during the second quarter of what turned out to be a 25-22 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Dre Greenlaw appeared to injure himself jogging back onto the field pic.twitter.com/p3nwmTUsfO
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) February 12, 2024
The non-contact injury immediately resulted in the 49ers defender being carted off the field — a huge blow to the 49ers’ defense in a contest that was determined by the slimmest of margins.
The Worst Fears For Dre Greenlaw Were Confirmed After Sunday’s Super Bowl LVIII Showdown
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan confirmed the worst during the team’s postgame press conference. Greenlaw had suffered a torn Achilles, which puts his return for next season in question.
“I mean, injuries are part of the game,” Shanahan said, via Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. “They’re always a big deal, and it’s always tougher when you lose good guys like that.”
Star tight end George Kittle called it “depressing” to lose Greenlaw, while labeling him the “heartbeat” of the 49ers’ defense alongside All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner.
“That’s depressing. I mean, to get injured in the Super Bowl? Dre’s the heartbeat of our defense, him and Fred [Warner] in there. I know they feed off each other. … We lose a guy like Dre, it’s just tough,” said Kittle.
George Kittle reacts to Dre Greenlaw tearing his Achilles 🔽 pic.twitter.com/1PfMkTgTgz
— 49ers on NBCS (@NBCS49ers) February 12, 2024
Warner chimed in as well and said that seeing Greenlaw injured at halftime had him in tears. Being unable to come away with the win in honor of Greenlaw made it worse for Warner.
“I’m sick to my stomach,” said Warner. “I’m still sick. I see him at halftime and I’m just crying cause I’m so hurt for him and obviously wanted to win this for him. Sickening.”
“I’m sick to my stomach. I’m still sick. I see him at halftime and I’m so hurt for him and obviously wanting to win this for him and… sickening.”
Fred Warner on Dre Greenlaw tearing his Achilles pic.twitter.com/mZ7jk6qCgj
— KNBR (@KNBR) February 12, 2024
Nowhere To Go But Forward For The Hurting San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers were already missing All-Pro safety Talanoa Hufanga due to a torn ACL suffered in November. Losing Greenlaw as well clearly hurt San Francisco both on the field and in spirit.
Greenlaw and Warner formed one of the best linebacker duos in the NFL. While the 49ers’ defense has taken a step back this season, the two have proven to be able to make big plays in key spots for the contending Niners.
Greenlaw will now have to take the long journey back to full health as the 49ers regroup for another run at the Super Bowl next year.