Skip to content

Shanahan loves 'intensity' at 49ers practice but upset with fights

Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images Sport / Getty

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan isn't happy with the fights at his team's practices this week.

Shanahan had to halt practice twice Tuesday after players threw punches at each other, including star linebacker Fred Warner and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk. Though the 42-year-old coach says he appreciates his players' toughness, he thinks they've crossed the line.

"I want everyone challenging each other," Shanahan said Friday, according to ESPN's Nick Wagoner. "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."

The biggest fight this week was between Warner and Aiyuk. It began after a late hit by Warner sent wideout Marcus Johnson into the concussion protocol, Wagoner notes.

"I love the intensity of it," Shanahan added. "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."

Warner believes his toughness against Aiyuk will help the pass-catcher improve ahead of his third NFL season.

"Specifically with Brandon, I chose him out," Warner said last week. "I think he's ready to make that next step into playing at an elite level."

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox