San Francisco 49ers wideout Dante Pettis received plenty of criticism over the past calendar year. Some of that wasn’t deserved. Fans have been overly harsh on Pettis, compared to other players on the roster. Pettis admitted himself that some of the critiques he received were fair.
I couldn’t tell if Pettis was nervous or shy during his interview on Friday. He opened up about his struggles last season, his relationship with Kyle Shanahan, and much more. Let’s start with being inactive for the Super Bowl. Here’s Pettis’s response:
If that doesn’t change how someone approaches the offseason, then they don’t really want to be in the NFL. There’s not too many things worse than that football-wise that can get you going than being inactive for the Super Bowl. That was the final straw, I guess, you could say, especially heading into the offseason. There’s not much more than could get someone going.
Where the interview took a turn was when Pettis was asked what he worked on during the offseason. He said, “that’s something I’ll get into eventually. Basically, I allowed myself to be who I know I can be. Last year I wasn’t playing the way I know I could’ve. I know I was capable of more, and I wasn’t allowing myself to do that. This year, the whole quarantine process really helped me just being able to step away from everything, step away from distractions, and go 1-on-1 with myself.”
You could tell by the tone of his voice that Pettis wasn’t comfortable speaking on the topic. He said he didn’t want to talk about it anymore, but that didn’t stop the media from pressing him. Multiple times Pettis had to say, “like I said, that’s something that I’ll eventually get into. I don’t feel like that’s something that’s necessary right now.”
Let the speculation begin. I respect his personal life and don’t think we need to dig any deeper until Pettis opens up about whatever issues he was going through last year. Whatever they were, it’s evident that those issues took a toll on Pettis. He did admit in the interview that part of not playing and being successful had an impact, but that’s as far as we got.
Pettis said he feels stronger and is more confident this year. You can tell the difference in his upper body, and he’s more aggressive as a blocker in the couple of practices I’ve been to. What was nice to hear about Pettis is that he didn’t make any excuses for his play last season. He took full responsibility for not playing well and even admitted to not handling Kyle Shanahan’s coaching the correct way.
Pettis said he took Shanahan’s coaching the wrong way last year. He took his coaching too personal and got caught up on how Shanahan delivered his message instead of focusing on what Kyle was saying. Now, he said their relationship is really good after a talk before training camp. Shanahan was a tough critic on Pettis last season. When a coach comes out publicly in a way Shanahan did, it’s generally because they know that the player they’re talking about can do more. In Pettis’s case, that’s true. Hopefully, we can see Pettis put together a season similar to his rookie year.
Consistency is key for Dante. He appears to have his confidence back. Now, it’s about putting it all together.