San Francisco 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk joined the media Tuesday afternoon to discuss COVID-19, Zoom meetings, Jimmy Garoppolo, and much more.
Juszczyk said the biggest challenge has been not being able to be with his teammates and get on-field reps. Kyle said he’s been able to go on the field and get physical work in, though. If you remember him working out in late March in ala Rocky, Juszczyk said he and his family moved into a house in New York this year. Juszczyk said the team still has great banter back and forth and that the Zoom meetings are very productive, but the obstacle has been not being with each other on the football field, where you can react to a defensive guy in front of you. You can’t simulate those movements through Zoom.
Juszczyk hasn’t given much thought about entering the final year of his contract: “I focus on what I can control. That’s what I do on the field and how I’m able to help this team. As long as I’m able to do that and help this team win, I know that those things will take care of themselves. I know that Kyle and John look at me favorably, and I think they’ll take care of me.”
Speaking of Zoom, Juice said Kyle Shanahan loves to come interrupt positional meetings where he cracks jokes and keeps things loose. Shanahan will check in with the players on a personal level as well to make sure everyone is doing okay as a break from football. Recently, the team has been doing offensive skill meetings together where Shanahan will run the meeting himself. Juszczyk said those start out with great banter, and Jimmy Garoppolo is always involved. Juice said, “we have a close-knit group. We can all poke fun of each other. People love throwing up old pictures as their background. Kittle is the king of it, as you can imagine, keeping things light, putting up pictures of Jimmy from middle school or high school prom. WE have a really good time, but then we buckle down and get a lot of good work in. It’s been super refreshing to be totally honest with you with how much work we’ve been able to get done in these Zoom meetings.
Juice, on what he makes about everything surrounding Jimmy G this offseason: “I was disappointed. I saw a headline recently of an article that said, ‘I was tired of being Jimmy’s bodyguard’ That’s absolutely not what I said. I said I feel like I’ve been Jimmy’s bodyguard this offseason, and I’ll do it again now. It’s crazy to me that he doesn’t get the respect he deserves. The way he led this team and no doubt he was our leader on offense. He brought us to a Super Bowl and was within seven minutes of winning one. For him not to get the respect, it’s pretty wild to me. He’s only going to get better. There’s time to really dive into the nitty-gritty. We have a full season of him starting where he can go back and re-watch the tape and spend extra time on watching himself. Sometimes it is tougher when you’re watching someone else play your position, and you’re trying to learn the offense. Now, he’s actually watching himself. You know what you’re feeling, and you got to experience that yourself.”
Juszczyk said Joe Staley is one of his favorite teammates of all time and kept things light. “I’ve seen him battle through so many injuries. He had an unbelievable career and has been a phenomenal teammate. I think one of my favorite memories was right after the Super Bowl, where he was contemplating his retirement. I think it was in the morning and we were on a bus ride to the airport and Joe said, ‘I think I’m going to retire,’ and I’m like ‘come on Joe, we still need you, we need you for another year.’ Ten minutes go by, and Joe’s like, “Ah, I don’t know, I’m 50/50.” Another ten minutes go past, and he’s like, ‘Ah, I might come back.’ By the time we got to the airplane, Joe was like, “I gotta play, I gotta play.” Obviously, things didn’t turn out that way, but you could see the wheels turning in his head and see the type of competitor he was and how much he loved the game. I’m sure under perfect conditions he’d like to be out there with us. Joe will have a lasting impression with me, and I’m happy to have him as a teammate.