The San Francisco 49ers are coming off of a surprise run to the NFC Championship Game and find themselves in the midst of a gigantic offseason, as the team is moving away from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and handing the reins of their offense over to second-year signal caller Trey Lance. Preseason practices have, however, run into some problems, although they don’t seem to have anything to do with their QB situation.
On multiple occasions during the team’s practice on Tuesday this past week, players got punchy with one another. The most notable one came when a late hit by star linebacker Fred Warner led to wide receiver Marcus Johnson suffering a concussion. A fellow receiver, Brandon Aiyuk, confronted Warner, which led to a brawl breaking out.
While Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said he wasn’t bothered by Aiyuk standing up for his teammate, his strong preference seems to be that no one fights anyone.
“I want everyone challenging each other,” Shanahan told the press on Friday. “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.”
Let all 32 NFL teams take this as a lesson: fighting in practice is bad.