Charles Omenihu eternally grateful to 49ers as he enters NFL free agency

Charles Omenihu eternally grateful to 49ers as he enters NFL free agency

SANTA CLARA — Versatile defensive lineman Charles Omenihu came to the 49ers in a trade from the Houston Texans midway through the 2021 NFL season.

As he left the team locker room on Tuesday, there was considerable uncertainty about his future.

“Since I came here it’s been good,” Omenihu said. “It’s been everything I hoped for. And I appreciate them. I appreciate the Niners.

Omenihu is expected to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. The 49ers have exclusive trading rights until the NFL’s open trading period begins March 13 at 9:00 a.m. PT.

“My tape is going to be my resume,” he said. “It will be what people will have to look at to determine where they see my market. I hope I put in enough to have options wherever I go.

Omenihu’s market will likely depend on the outcome of his current legal situation. He was arrested last week on suspicion of misdemeanor domestic violence.

The 49ers have reviewed the allegations, and coach Kyle Shanahan announced that the organization has concluded that no action is required.

“We feel very good about letting the legal process take care of itself and we don’t think we should kick him off the team at this time,” Shanahan said last week.

Omenihu played 38 defensive snaps in the 49ers’ 31-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game. He recorded two tackles and a quarterback hit.

On Tuesday, in his first public comments since his arrest, Omenihu said he could comment on the pending legal issue and did not know how long it would take for the situation to be resolved.

He expressed his gratitude to the entire organization, naming Shanahan, general manager John Lynch, defensive line coach Kris Kocurek, defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and assistant line D coach Darryl Tapp.

“I am eternally grateful to them and eternally grateful to this organization,” he said. “It’s a first-class organization. And I appreciate them.

Omenihu entered the NFL in 2019 as a fifth-round draft pick of the Houston Texans. He has played in all 20 games for the 49ers this season with three starts.

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He recorded 4.5 sacks during the regular season. Omenihu and Arik Armstead are tied for the team lead in the playoffs with two sacks apiece.

Omenihu has the versatility to split time between defensive end and defensive tackle. And that’s how he says he wants to continue to be used.

“When I came into the league, that was what I needed, to show versatility,” he said. “Then why handcuff me?

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