49ers' nearly perfect OTAs attendance reflects locker room attitude

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49ers' nearly perfect OTAs attendance reflects locker room originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

After the NFLPA posted announcements that many players would be boycotting offseason training activities, the 49ers recorded nearly perfect attendance. 

Only Nick Bosa, Robbie Gould and Weston Richburg (who plans on retiring) have not been present in Santa Clara. Bosa visited the facility not long ago for a progress check and returned to Florida to continue rehabbing from ACL surgery. 

“Our guys came in, they wanted to work,” Shanahan said. “They wanted to see what our plan was. I told them some of my concerns, which was mainly this first week with the soft tissues and stuff. I think they agreed. I think they like how the plan is that I've set up.”  

Nearly complete attendance at OTAs appears even more significant after the Seahawks reported having less than 40 players at their facility. Marquee players like Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson have yet to report to Seattle while headlines of Aaron Rodgers' absence from Green Bay run rampant across the country. 

Shanahan’s biggest concern is avoiding the injury woes the team experienced last season, which could be due in part to a very truncated offseason. The head coach limited player reps the first week of practice to 10 plays with all 22 players on the field and 12 reps of 7-on-7 work.

“I was really happy,” Shanahan said. “For our guys to show up like they did—my biggest concern was only getting a week with the guys. I've never had OTAs without being around the guys for five weeks prior, so you've got a very good idea of where they're at.

“We've only been around these guys for four days until our first OTA. So that's what made me really nervous in terms of just putting these guys out there. That's why we've had to take some reps away and hopefully we'll get to normal OTAs next week.”

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When Shanahan and John Lynch took over their roles with the club, their priority was to bring in players that love the game of football. The choices the front office has made are reflected in the locker room attitude. 

When the team was in the middle of a nine-game skid in 2017, there always was hope amongst players. When team practices have been optional, players have shown up in droves. The 49ers haven’t had an issue with a lack of desire to play the game since the new regime took over in 2017. 

Team captains like George Kittle and Fred Warner have participated in team activities prior to their second contracts being inked. Their leadership has a trickle-down effect throughout the roster. 

Shanahan is thankful and hopes they all benefit from their time working together during the offseason. 

“Our guys came in, and we got guys who really enjoy football,” Shanahan said. “I know there's a lot of different opinions on all that stuff, but it's hard to get better at football if you don't practice it. It's hard to get better at any sport if you don't practice playing the game.

“I'm just pumped that we did get a big turnout of guys."

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