Kyle Shanahan praised the aggression of his San Francisco 49ers, but warned he should channel it appropriately after stopping practice earlier in the week because of a fight.
Tuesday’s practice was reportedly halted by a scuffle between linebacker Fred Warner and receiver Brandon Ayuk, in which punches were thrown.
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Shanahan said he wants his players to figuratively push each other, but that’s too far from when they could potentially hurt each other.
“I want everyone to challenge each other,” Shanahan said. “I don’t care how much of each other’s bullshit is; I don’t care how close they come to a fight.
“They can do whatever they want as much as they want and bring out the best from each other, which happens a lot like this. And it’s the same on the field.
“But once you throw a punch, you get evicted or you get punished… I want people to be irritable, I want people to be as close to all those things. I want That people go to the line where they’re going to black out, but you can’t black out on the football field or you’ll have to pay the price for your team.”
Disagreements between Warner and Ayuk reportedly flared up after a late arrival from former hit receiver Marcus Johnson put Johnson on concussion protocol.
“I love the intensity of it,” Shanahan said. “I don’t think you have to fight to be intense, though. Melee is melee but then they lead to other things.
“I think that’s why we got a guy in protocol, because he took an unnecessary shot at someone, that led to a big fight and then we had a bunch of throwers in there and stuff that only breaks hands.
“I think our team is tough enough. I think we’re quite physical. Probably the most [we would be] Voted the most physical team on tape last year, I think we’ll win most of that, and we didn’t meet in a fight last year. So, I don’t think it’s entirely related to stiffness.”