Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan outlines 49ers’ move to Arizona, promises players Christmas with their families

Dec 1, 2020 at 10:39 AM--

On Wednesday, the San Francisco 49ers will board a plane bound for their new home in Arizona. New Santa Clara County COVID-19 restrictions ban collegiate and professional contact sports in the area, forcing the team to play at least the next two home games at State Farm Stadium.

It's not just the games, though. The 49ers can't practice at their facility in Santa Clara either. That means the whole team has to uproot itself and move to the desert.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke with reporters via Zoom on Tuesday and broke down the team's moving plan on short notice.

  • The 49ers will fly to Arizona on Wednesday around 2:30 p.m. PT and plan to remain there for at least three weeks.
  • The team's first practice will be on Thursday. Shanahan expects a normal week of practice after the 49ers' arrival.
  • Shanahan believes they will be practicing and staying at the Renaissance Hotel next to State Farm Stadium. That's where the team will hold its practices. The coach says they will be allowed to use the stadium for some things, too.
  • Shanahan said the team looked hard into options for practicing outside of Santa Clara County but remaining in the Bay Area. Nothing seemed practical or particularly beneficial, though. Right now, heading to Arizona is the best option since the team has to start preparing for the Buffalo Bills.
  • The entire organization is headed to Arizona. That includes trainers, cooks — everyone who can get out there.

Shanahan added that he didn't have a definitive answer regarding the possibility of family members joining the 49ers in Arizona. The team will use this week to figure out the situation there and the logistics.

"I would be pumped if my family could end up coming down a week or so from now," Shanahan said.

The coach cautions his players, though. The team has a routine established for its COVID-19 protocols, and now it will be in a new environment.

"It's still the same exact rules," Shanahan said. "But I think COVID is a little bigger there than it is here from statistics that people have told me, so we've got to be smart. We're not trying to go anywhere. So I plan on guys staying in that hotel and being safe."

If players do end up making arrangements for another place to stay in the area, they will probably be allowed to do so. However, they will still need to make sure to self-quarantine outside of team activities.

Shanahan also said that while the future is uncertain, one promise he made his players is that, one way or another, they will get to spend Christmas with their families. The coach admits that he can't predict what might happen with the county's rules moving forward.

"I just try to tell our guys that I don't care what happens; we're not going to spend Christmas without our families," Shanahan said. "We'll figure it out. That's really what I tried to give to everyone just so they can say that to their families because I think that is the concern.

"We had our game on the 27th — I think it was on the 27th — got moved to the 26th, so we were going to be traveling to Arizona (on) Christmas afternoon anyways. So, if we are able to come back and then go right back out, I don't know what that deal is.

"But I know our organization, and they'll do whatever they can to figure out whether we're here with our families for that week or whether we have to get all of them to us, and go through whatever we have to do to do that. I know that will be worth it, and I know Jed (York) will help us out with that."

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