San Francisco 49ers running back Jerick McKinnon, foreground, carries against Dallas Cowboys defensive end Datone Jones (56), linebacker Jaylon Smith, center left, and linebacker Joe Thomas (48) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Josie Lepe)

As training camp gets underway, those who observe football professionally end up preforming two services.

The first is to dutifully note that player X or Y, has gone through an innovative off-season conditioning program and is now “in the best shape of my life.” For the sake of brevity, let’s stipulate that everyone is in great shape.

And the second is to identify and analyze potential prospects. This is a subset of a simple evaluation of the roster. These are players about whom there has previously been some buzz, but then for some reason — probably injury — have fallen off the radar. Now they are back at camp, playing well and eyebrows are being raised.

A word of caution. Everyone is excited about someone who seems to be making a successful comeback. But getting injured, and then getting injured again, can be a troubling pattern. There is no logical reason for someone to be injury “prone,” but it does seem to happen. So in discussing these two players, we include a few grains of salt:

Running back Jerick McKinnon: Like the Yeti, McKinnon is much discussed but has rarely been seen in the wild. But he’s been an

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