Why 49ers’ Brandon Aiyuk shared cryptic Mike Tomlin social media post – NBC Sports Bay Area & California

Brandon Aiyuk has shed light on his motivation behind a cryptic social media post he made earlier this month referencing Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.

After reports surfaced that the Steelers were interested in trading for the 49ers star, Aiyuk posted to X, the site formerly known as Twitter, directly tagging Tomlin in his cryptic message.

During an interview on Shannon Sharpe and Chad Ochocinco’s “Nightcap” podcast, Aiyuk revealed what inspired him to post this message while actively engaging in contract negotiations with the 49ers.

The 26-year-old mentioned that he intended to keep a low profile until his birthday on March 17, which matches the timeline of the cryptic tweet mentioning Tomlin on X that he posted two days later, on March 19.

“Every day while you’re in negotiation or contract talks, every day is a different day,” Aiyuk explained. “I had woken up, so I was like you know what I’m not even going to say, I’m just going to leave my agent alone, I’m not going to do anything, I’m just going to wait until after my birthday. Then, I’m going to try to put a little more pressure on them.

The All-Pro mentioned he saw the social media posts comparing his appearances to Tomlin’s, and decided to have a little fun given the reports circulating that Pittsburgh was engaging in trade talks for him.

“I wake up and they’re talking about another team that they brought me in for trade talks or something,” Aiyuk said. “So I just said let me – if everyone says this, and, this and that – let me go ahead and put out one of my little spots. I came back to Tomlin, we can have a little fun with it That. It’s all in fun, like I said, we’re all professionals, that’s what it is. But that’s where the Tomlin thing comes from.

Aiyuk has been a vital part of the 49ers offense since being selected 25th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. The 26-year-old earned second-team All-Pro honors during the 2023 season after making 75 receptions for 1,342 yards and seven touchdowns.

On Monday, 49ers general manager John Lynch quickly dismissed any reports that San Francisco was looking to trade Aiyuk, also citing the 49ers’ track record of resolving contracts with their blue-chip players.

“We have a good history of working with the guys we want to finish, and it takes two sides,” Lynch said at the NFL annual meeting. “So, can we do this?” We will see.”

Aiyuk echoed a similar sentiment during his interview with Sharpe and Ochocinco, stating that he is trying to get what he deserves while acknowledging that there are professionals on both sides working to conclude a deal.

“We have professionals working on both sides,” Aiyuk told Sharpe and Ochocinco. “I hope we can reach a professional agreement and continue playing professional football.”

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