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Kyle Shanahan emphasizes importance of staying in shape before training camp

NFL: San Franciso 49ers-Minicamp Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up their offseason workout program on Thursday, and the players are headed their separate ways. Some will stick around the team facility to work out over the next month, but there is no football interaction with the coaching staff.

This is the last stretch of down time for players until January or February. Players are likely to mix in some vacation time, but there will still be the expectation that players remain in shape. Training camp will get them more in “football shape,” but at the very least they just need to have their conditioning in place for the start of camp.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan met with the media on Wednesday to close out the offseason workout program. He was asked if he had a particular message for the players, particularly as it relates to not getting out of shape. Here’s what Shanahan had to say:

“Just how big of a deal it is. I went through it last year. The more you’re in the NFL, the more you see it. It always happens to a bunch of guys. We had 90 guys work as hard as they could for these past two months or whatever it is and now they’re going to still work, but we’re not going to be around them for a month. Most guys are fine, but there’s always that small percent that hasn’t been scarred, that thinks they can just, A, relax and rest and be ready for training camp. What those people don’t realize is that you come to training camp thinking you’re going to get into shape in training camp and you usually pull a hamstring on the first couple days, then you’re out for three weeks, then you come in for the last preseason game and you don’t totally feel right and then you either don’t make the team, you don’t make practice squad or you make it because of your history but you don’t look like the same in Week 1 because you haven’t gone through it all. It’s a trickle-down effect throughout the whole year. I can’t express it any more than I will tomorrow when I talk to the guys like we do all the time, that you can’t recover if you take a month off. If you don’t come to training camp right, it will affect how you play in Week 16.”

The note about injuries is a big one. If a player comes into camp and injuries himself during the conditioning test, they can place him on the Physically Unable to Perform List. On the other hand, if he passes the conditioning test but then injures himself in the first practice, the team cannot use the PUP list. And while he might be healthy for the start of the season, as Shanahan pointed out, he will be left playing catch-up.

So, long story short, stay in shape over the next 5+ weeks, 49ers players!