Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

49ers’ handling of COVID-19 gives George Kittle faith NFL season will happen

Aug 24, 2020 at 5:18 PM--

What is it like taking part in an NFL training camp amid a pandemic? San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle describes it as "normal."

That's not to say that things are business as usual. Players have to undergo daily COVID-19 testing to get into the building. They wear trackers that notify them as soon as they come within six feet of another person. Kittle may take part in meetings with teammates in the Levi's Stadium press box rather than a meeting room at the team facility next door.

Things are not normal.

Kittle's point is that, even with all the precautions in place, once they get onto the football field, it's a return to something very familiar — football.

So the question is: Is this sustainable?

Other than a minor glitch with some false positives across the league on Sunday (which did not impact the 49ers), the NFL has done a good job navigating through the pandemic. At least, much better than many anticipated.

How does that bode for the possibility of the NFL making its way through a 17-week season and postseason? Kittle sounds optimistic that it will happen.

"I think it all depends on how seriously the teams and the players take it," Kittle told Rich Eisen this week on The Rich Eisen Show. "You've got to kind of shut off some of the outside distractions more than you would in a normal season, and it's definitely going to change the livelihoods of a lot of people in the NFL."

Kittle gave the example of a player potentially going to a bar on a Friday night, contracting COVID-19, getting tested the next day, and not learning that he is infected until the results come in. All of a sudden, the team has to figure who he has been in contact with and eliminate them from playing on Sunday.

"I guess, at the end of the day, you just have to be responsible," Kittle continued. "If you want to play football, then you have to follow these rules. You can't ruin it for anyone else, and I think if all the teams and all the players do that, 100 percent I think there's going to be a season.

"I know there's variables with traveling and hotels and stuff like that, but the way we have it set up here, it gives me a lot of faith that it could actually get done."

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