The 49ers are uniquely situated to deal with the complications of playing football during a global pandemic, according to All-Decade cornerback Richard Sherman.
The team got tantalizingly close to winning the Super Bowl last season, and those who remain from last season need no added motivation to take all the necessary steps to give the 49ers the best opportunity to finish the deal.
And the 49ers are located in a great spot because, as Sherman points out, Santa Clara is a lot closer to Snooze City than Sin City.
“We’re uniquely constructed to deal with this because, obviously, we’re in Santa Clara and there’s not huge nightlife,” Sherman said Tuesday in a video call with Bay Area reporters. “It’s not like we’re in Atlanta or Texas or Miami or Las Vegas or L.A., where there are a lot of distractions and a lot of places you can go and a lot of things you can do to get yourself in trouble.
“I think our team is incredibly focused because of how close we were to winning the Super Bowl last year and how that taste in our mouth is a bit of discipline in itself. That hunger, that angst, it’s discipline in itself.”
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The players are adapting to the new protocols in place designed for an NFL season to move forward during the coronavirus pandemic. Each day upon reporting to work, all players and staff members must fill out a screening form in which any symptoms must be self-reported, as well as any possible contact with others who might have the virus.
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Then, they proceed to testing.
“It’s the mid-nasal swab,” Sherman said. “They’re going in and spinning it around in one nostril and spinning it around in the other nostril. It kind of tickles. And then you go on about your day.”
The players will continue to get tested every day for at least the first 14 days of training camp. Teams that report fewer than five percent of positive tests are required to conduct testing every-other day as long as the postive tests are rare.
“It takes about two minutes,” Sherman said. “It’s part of your routine at this point.”
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said the biggest adjustment is just how time is budgeted while at the team’s training facility.
“It’s definitely different,” Garoppolo said. “Your morning takes longer to come in. Got to go through all the testing, answer all the survey and all of that.
“Like anything, it’s part of your routine now. You got to get used to it and adapt to it. But I think the biggest difference is just the time efficiency. You can’t really go from one thing to the next real fluidly. It’s different than it was before. We've just got to adapt and make the best of the situation.”
Sherman spoke to the media on the video call while wearing a mask. Garoppolo had his mask on the table at his side.
“The masks are the first step. We take this with us everywhere we go,” Garoppolo said. “And then just staying six feet apart is the other part of it. It’s easier said than done. There are a lot of times, especially on the field where you’re interacting with people, you’re talking with people, but you try not to make it last too long, I guess. I know it sounds weird to even say.
“These are the rules that we’re given, so we got to make the best of the situation adapt to it and keep moving forward. Whatever happens, I think we’ll be ready for it.”