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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers players discuss UNLV fields: “It’s something that we have to deal with”

Feb 6, 2024 at 12:42 PM--

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On Monday afternoon, San Francisco 49ers players and coaches got a firsthand look and feel of their practice fields. The team held a walk-through at their temporary home away from home, UNLV, and remains unsatisfied with the conditions.

Hours earlier, news leaked that the 49ers were concerned about their designated practice fields as they prepare for Sunday's Super Bowl showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs. While the designated home-team Chiefs enjoy the luxuries of the Intermountain Health Performance Center in Henderson, Nevada, the Las Vegas Raiders' facilities, the 49ers are stuck on collegiate fields, where the NFL laid natural grass over the artificial turf for the NFC champions.

RELATED Shanahan on concerns over UNLV field: "We're not worried about it at all"

Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports reported that the 49ers found the UNLV fields "a bit soft for their liking." Commissioner Roger Goodell stated they were deemed "playable" while comparing them to MetLife Stadium in New Jersey and Nissan Stadium in Nashville.

Yes, the same MetLife Stadium that was the catalyst for the 49ers' injury-plagued 2020 campaign. Both stadiums have recently undergone surface overhauls to reduce injuries. That was probably not the wisest comparison.

When asked his thoughts on the UNLV fields, fullback Kyle Juszczyk stated, "We did walk-throughs on it today (Monday), and I wouldn't say it was the best. But it wasn't the worst."

That's not exactly a ringing endorsement from one of the team's longest-tenured players. On Monday, the field they held their walk-through on was wet, which didn't make the situation any better.

"It's something that we have to deal with," Juszczyk continued. "Granted, we weren't going full speed today, so hopefully, things dry up in the next couple of days, and I think it's all gonna work out."

RELATED 49ers insider provides insight on concerns surrounding UNLV fields

Safety Tashaun Gipson expressed his opinion on the wet field from Monday's walk-through.

"It was a little softer than guys would probably like," Gipson added. "Not Santa Clara feels, just put it like that. No excuses. Obviously, this week is Super Bowl week. We just got to make do with what we got. Obviously, if it don't change, if nothing can change about it, that's nothing that we can control.

"We just got to go out there, be smart about it, and make sure that everybody stays healthy. But we also know that we got work to put in. It's a hell of an opponent that we got, so can't take any days off, can't use anything for an excuse. We got to go out there and do what we do."

Offensive lineman Spencer Burford chimed in with his thoughts, saying, "We just going to deal with what we deal with. At the end of the day, we can't cry. ... The field conditions are going to be what they are, and we're just going to capitalize on the situation and make the best of it."

The 49ers will hold three full practices this week, with the more intense session on Thursday. Michael Silver of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that shuffling the 49ers' schedule to have them practice at the Intermountain Health Performance Center remains a possibility.

Not everyone has concerns over the UNLV fields. Defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw remarked, "It was cool to me. It felt bouncy, felt good on the joints, I know that much. But it felt good to me."

Linebacker Dre Greenlaw said, "It's looking good, looking solid for the most part. We practiced on it today (Monday). I didn't really have a problem with it."

The 49ers and Chiefs will clash in Super Bowl 58 on Sunday, with kickoff scheduled for 3:30 p.m. PT.

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