Kyle Shanahan didn’t pull punches when addressing his team’s propensity for, well, throwing punches.
After two brawls erupted at 49ers training camp on Tuesday, Shanahan halted practice in favor of a team meeting.
“I want everyone challenging each other,” Shanahan said Friday, recapping his message. “I don’t care how much crap each other talks. I don’t care how close they get to fighting. They can do whatever they want to get themselves to be as intense as they want and bring the best out of each other, which happens a lot that way. And it’s the same on the field.
“But once you throw a punch, you get ejected or you get a penalty, and we pride ourselves on — I want people to be irritants, I want people to get as close as they can to all that stuff. I want people to get right on the line where they’re about to black out, but you can’t black out on the football field or you cost your team.”
While extracurriculars are ordinary for training camp, Shanahan — who is entering his sixth year as San Francisco’s head coach — reasoned that tempers were unusually high because of the excess heat and duration of the practice.Kyle Shanahan called a team meeting after a pair of fights Tuesday. Getty Images
The biggest fight of the day involved All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner and promising receiver Brandon Aiyuk. The scuffle began after Warner laid a late-hit on receiver Marcus Johnson, eventually landing Johnson in concussion protocol.
“I love the intensity of it,” Shanahan said. “I don’t think you have to fight to be intense, though. Scuffles are scuffles but then they lead to other stuff. I think that’s why we’ve got a guy in protocol because he took an unnecessary shot on someone which led to the big fight and then we had a bunch of haymakers and stuff thrown in there, which only break hands.”
The 49ers aren’t alone, of course. On Thursday, Saints rookie Trevor Penning was kicked out of practice after the offensive lineman got into a fight for a third straight day during training camp.