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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Colton McKivitz reflects on rookie season with 49ers

Jan 22, 2021 at 6:51 AM--

San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Colton McKivitz spoke with Metro News in West Virginia and reflected on his wild rookie NFL season. It wasn't a typical rookie campaign. Even the offseason was abnormal, as McKivitz and his new teammates didn't even get together for the first time until training camp in late-July.

Then, when McKivitz had an opportunity to finally step onto the football field in a pro game for the first time, it was in front of ... no one. Levi's Stadium was empty due to the ongoing pandemic.

"It was wild, thrilling, and confusing," McKivitz told McKivitz, Brad Howe, and Gregory Hunter. "It is everything you wanted it to be as a rookie year, except for the uncertainty of if you're going to play this week or next week because of COVID and all that stuff, but it was amazing to finally reach the top and get to play.

"And then getting my first start against probably one of the best defensive players to ever play the game. To come in like that and get a few starts and test the waters out of what pro football is like. I think, hopefully, it's going to be a long-lasting career, in my opinion, which it hopefully will be. So, I am excited for what else is coming forward to me, and then also just reflecting on what a crazy year it's been, but also a great year."

McKivitz was asked to identify the biggest transition from the collegiate level to the pros. Was the physical or mental difference the biggest hurdle to overcome?

"It's mental," McKivitz responded. "Of course, you are going to have the bigger guys and everyone, they deserve to be there as pro athletes and all that, but just the mental aspect of showing up every day. In college, you could get away with stuff, like walking through things or just getting by, but in the NFL, you get exposed pretty quickly, and you learn fast that every day you have to come mentally prepared at the highest level you can."

McKivitz also shared a couple of his I'm-in-the-NFL moments from his first year in the NFL. The first was a bit of an embarrassing introduction to the strength and speed of the game.

"I think it was probably (training) camp practice in the second week," McKivitz shared. "I got thrown around for one play, and I was like, 'Man, OK, yeah, this is what the NFL is.' That was probably one of the not-so-great moments, but it was definitely an eye-opening one.

"And then also the first game. It's the NFL, you run out, you expect 60,000 fans (with the 49ers) coming off playing in the Super Bowl, and then there's no one there. But also, the same aspect of it is it's still just a great feeling to run out of an NFL tunnel, be on a pro team, and to be at that level. Just a few snippets of what this year has meant to me, and it's just been awesome so far."

You can listen to the interview with McKivitz below.

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