Aaron Lynch Awaits Role in 49ers' Defense Against Cardinals

The 49ers have until 1 p.m. to activate outside linebacker Aaron Lynch to the 53-man roster in order to be eligible to play Thursday night against the Arizona Cardinals.

In order for Lynch to play Thursday, the likely corresponding move would send linebacker NaVorro Bowman to injured reserve. Bowman is out for the season due to a torn left Achilles tendon.

“It’s a horrible loss,” Lynch said of Bowman's absence. “We hope he comes back healthy, and takes as long as he needs to take. But he was one of the leaders of our defense. Everybody knows who NaVorro Bowman is, so he’s always one of the players on the field that they game plan for, so losing him on the defense, it’s horrible.

“But as far as mindset, it doesn’t change. We’re still going to go out there and play our defense. We’re going to miss him, but now we have to go play for him.”

Lynch served a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on substances of abuse to open the season. Lynch recorded 12.5 sacks in his first two professional seasons, and was expected to be the team's best pass-rusher this season. The 49ers have seven sacks in the team’s first four games. Eli Harold started in Lynch's place. Tank Carradine also saw time as a nickel pass rusher. Neither Harold nor Carradine recorded a sack in four games.

Although Lynch was not allowed to practice with his teammates or work on football activities with the coaching staff, he was able to attend meetings and work out daily at the team’s headquarters in Santa Clara during his suspension. He got his weight down to approximately 270 pounds, he said.

“I’ve lost a lot of weight,” Lynch said. “I’ve been able to run every day. We’ll know Thursday if I’m in game-ready shape, but I feel good. I’ve got the weight down about 30 pounds. I feel ready to go.

“I think what I’ve improved most on the field is the mental aspect of football. Because I couldn’t do anything physically, I really had to be in the books and I’ve learned when I went out to practice (Monday), the plays came a little easier than I thought they would. I prepared myself mentally because I couldn’t do the stuff physically.”

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