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‘That scared the hell out of me’: Encounter with kid during 49ers-Texans shocked Kyle Shanahan

Jan 2, 2022 at 5:33 PM--

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San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan admits to being pretty locked in come game time, to the point where players and other coaches will often leave him to do his thing unless there is some crucial piece of information they need to relay to the coach.

Every NFL game is full of surprises. But for Shanahan on Sunday against the Houston Texans, one surprise nearly caused him to lose that laser focus. It came in the form of an unauthorized fan coming up to him on the field while the game was still in progress. Usually, that might be enough to upset the sometimes volatile (at least, during games) head coach. But this encounter left Shanahan frightened and then impressed.

That's because it was a child.

"That scared the hell out of me," Shanahan told reporters after the game. "It threw me off so bad. I didn't know what was going on. And now I feel bad. I wish I had [fist] pounded the kid and [told] him, 'Respect.' I don't know how he got down there, but I was just looking at my call sheet, and I hear a soft voice in front of me, saying, 'Holy cow, Kyle Shanahan!'

"I didn't know if it was my son at first or what, but it startled me a little bit. Then I realized it was a kid. I've never seen a kid run on the field. So then I said, 'Wow, man. How did you get down here?' Then security got him. I wish I was able to give him something."

Players were just as surprised as Shanahan.

"Yeah, I saw that," tight end George Kittle said when asked about the encounter. "I was talking to Tom Compton, and then all of a sudden, all I heard was, 'Deebo, I love you,' and I was like, 'What?'

"And then they were like, 'Dude, get that kid off the field,' and I said, 'What kid?' And so I look over, and there's a kid talking to Kyle, and I was like, 'Yeah, back to our regularly-scheduled programming. This was super interesting. Awesome.'

"I would have really liked it [but] the pandemic thing makes it a little weird. But I guess we're good. I had hand sanitizer. I was fine. Just definitely weird. Good for that kid, though. Hopefully, they were nice to him."

Kittle admits that he also thought the child was Shanahan's son, Carter, at first.

The tight end then realized, "No, that's not his son. That would be aggressive."

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