Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

49ers: Being inactive during the Super Bowl was ‘the final straw’ for Dante Pettis, who is ready to ‘play free’

Aug 21, 2020 at 1:07 PM--

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dante Pettis on Friday sat down to speak with reporters for the first time this offseason. There has been a lot of discussion surrounding the work he has seemingly put in this offseason after struggling to even get on the football field last year.

Pettis has impressed during training camp. He knows there has been criticism after his underwhelming 2019 campaign and understands that perhaps much of it was deserved.

"As far as the critiquing or whatever, it is what it is," Pettis said. "... I'm sure they had a reason to say it. I didn't play how I should have been playing, how I know I can play, and how they know I can play, so it was probably warranted."

Pettis wasn't targeted after November 11, 2019, and the receiver didn't catch a pass after Halloween night. But it was being inactive for the Super Bowl that was eye-opening for the former second-round pick.

RELATED Dante's Inferno: Can Pettis Reignite His 49ers Career?

"If that doesn't change the way someone approaches the offseason, then they don't really want to be in the NFL, I don't think," Pettis said. "There's not too many things worse than that, football-wise, that could get you going, being [inactive] for the Super Bowl.

"That was kind of like the final straw, I guess you could say, especially heading into the offseason. There's not much more than that, that could get someone going."

Pettis spoke tentatively but tried to be as open as possible with reporters. He admits that there is more he plans to share, when the time is right.

Pettis also acknowledged that he probably took head coach Kyle Shanahan's tough coaching last season the wrong way.

"I made it more personal and about me than about me realizing how good he knows I can be," Pettis explained. "I got caught up in the way he said some things, and not the actual message that he was trying to get to me. And once I realized that, everything kind of changed. I think our relationship is really good. It's open, and we can communicate."

RELATED Pettis sought out Shanahan upon reporting to the 49ers and left the coach impressed

Shanahan recently revealed that the receiver sought him out upon reporting to training camp, and the coach noticed that Pettis had been working hard during the offseason.

"When I came back, we had a good talk, and I think that we have a really good relationship now," Pettis added.

That hard work has resulted in a nice training camp for Pettis, so far. He said he feels stronger and more confident this offseason. He's also more in-tune with himself.

"This offseason was more purposeful," Pettis explained. "I did my workouts with a purpose. Every single rep was for a reason, instead of just going through the motions."

While Pettis doesn't have any statistical goals for the 2020 season, he did share what he hopes to accomplish.

"To play free, without anything holding me back," Pettis said. "... Going in every day, and getting to a point to where, coming into practice or the weight room or whatever, getting to a point to where I know that I got better ... You need to get to the breaking point each day and get past that. That's kind of how I would measure my goals for this year."

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