What happened to Lenoir's NFL career after Shanahan scolded him in a meeting

Henderson, Nevada— Like many NFL athletes, 49ers cornerback Deommodore Lenoir had a turning point. The third-year player told NBC Sports Bay Area on Tuesday about his contact with coach Kyle Shanahan after his first season.

Coach Shanahan called me out in a team meeting,” Lenoir added. It wasn't even a physical play. ‘You've got that hound mentality in you, when are you going to show it?’ This happened at the 49ers' 2022 training camp with all 90 players. Lenoir's practice ball pursuit was sloppy, as shown on television. He couldn't believe his head coach was talking to him.

“I was not even able to talk,” Lenoir added. Was shocked. Nobody has ever called me out in a team meeting. Not even in high school at Oregon. I imagined him saying ‘Deebo.’ Samuel, seated in front of me, turned and said, ‘Say something.’

In 2021, Lenoir, a fifth-round pick, started his first two NFL games but was a healthy scratch for three weeks. The Los Angeles native played 237 defensive snaps as a rookie, recording 17 tackles (12 solo) and two pass breakups.

In my rookie year I was in the dog house, you know, the Shanahan dog house,” Lenoir smiled. "After that season, it didn't go as anticipated, so I rethought. My needs were not met. I came out the next year with a chip on my shoulder and am here

After Shanahan blew out Lenoir to the squad, the Oregon product became more focused and motivated which showed on the field. He was back in the starting lineup by Week 6 of his second NFL season and never looked back. Lenoir will always appreciate Shanahan's honesty, even if it was unexpected and unpleasant.

It seemed wrong to be picked out by the head coach. “I was sick,” Lenoir remarked. One might be in denial about what a coach says, but I went back and observed that year vs this year and how I was performing and moving. Different like night and day.”

Lenoir, one of the defense's most recognized players, has played well enough to become the nickelback. The 49ers' defense relies on him to cover receivers and know the other team's gap system to stop Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium.