49ers

49ers' George Kittle questions social distancing in 2020 NFL season

49ers' George Kittle questions social distancing in 2020 NFL season

It's the question football fans and players alike can't stop asking. How will the game work amid the coronavirus pandemic? 

George Kittle is wondering the same thing right now. 

"At the end of the day, I think the biggest thing is social distancing and wearing a mask," Kittle said on the latest episode of The 49ers Insider Podcast. "It's hard to play football while social distancing, so I think that's what I'm really interested in seeing." 

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Kittle said to NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco that he tries to stay as up to date as possible with continuous safety protocols being added ahead of the supposed upcoming season. His No. 1 goal is player safety and being smart about this. But it's not that easy. 

The 49ers are set to open training camp at Levi's Stadium on July 25, and there already have been nearly 6,000 cases of the coronavirus in Santa Clara County, with 167 deaths at the time of this article's publishing. Even if the 49ers go above and beyond with safety measures, everything goes out the window once players step on the field. This is a game that's not built to deal with a virus. 

"Whether your lockers are six feet apart or not, you still have to get in a huddle and I still have to block Nick Bosa and I still have block Arik Armstead in camp," Kittle said. "It's hard to social distance when you're on the line of scrimmage. That's the one thing I'm most interested in seeing how it plays out."

[RELATED: Sherman calls out report on 2020 NFL season negotiations]

One unnamed 49ers player tested positive for the coronavirus on June 19 after participating in a large group workout in Nashville. This goes back to Kittle's point. If a player tested positive after a workout, what about when you're shoulder to shoulder on the sidelines, and then hitting each other and in piles of players on the field? It just doesn't make sense. 

The NFL can make attempts that they care with goofy rules like eliminating jerseys swaps after games, but there are plenty of concerns on how this all will work. These questions aren't going away, and the list likely only will grow.

49ers' Trent Williams posts Instagram story appearing to drive 125 mph

49ers' Trent Williams posts Instagram story appearing to drive 125 mph

Trent Williams seems to have a need for speed.

The seven-time Pro Bowl left tackle, whom the 49ers acquired in a trade with the Washington Football Team, appeared to share a video on his Instagram story from the driver's seat of a Ferrari, whizzing past cars on a freeway with the speedometer showing the car going as fast as 125 mph. Williams since has deleted the video, but TMZ Sports managed to record it prior.

Back in January, Williams shared a photo sitting on a 2019 Ferrari 488 Pista, which TMZ Sports noted appears to be the same car featured in the video.

[RELATED: Why Kittle's record-setting 49ers contract still a huge steal]

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NeighborHood Hero 🦍💙

A post shared by Trent Williams (@trentwilliams71) on

It's unclear where the video took place, but given Williams reported to 49ers training camp earlier this month, it likely is on a Bay Area freeway.

Williams has battled some scary injuries during his NFL career, so coach Kyle Shanahan probably doesn't love seeing what appears to be his new left tackle driving at such dangerous speeds.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Source: 49ers plan to sign Tavon Austin, J.J. Nelson to contracts

Source: 49ers plan to sign Tavon Austin, J.J. Nelson to contracts

The 49ers were down three wide receivers at the opening of training camp.

The 49ers will be adding two veterans to the competition, pending physicals, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Bay Area on Friday.

The 49ers plan to sign wide receivers Tavon Austin and J.J. Nelson, ESPN’s Adam Schefter first reported.

Austin and Nelson took part in a workout at the 49ers’ practice facility on Friday with free-agent quarterback Luke Falk throwing them passes.

Deebo Samuel and Richie James open training camp on the active/non-football injury list. Samuel sustained a Jones fracture in his left foot, while James sustained a fractured right wrist. Both injuries occurred in June workouts away from Santa Clara.

Also, the 49ers lost the services of speedy receiver Travis Benjamin, who opted out for the season due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.

[RELATEDGeorge Kittle, 49ers get to only reasonable destination with extension]

Austin, 30, is a seven-year professional who broke into the NFL as a first-round pick (No. 8 overall) of the St. Louis Rams in 2013. In his career, he has just 215 receptions for 2,006 yards and 15 touchdowns. He played for Dallas the past two seasons after spending his first five years with the Rams.

Austin caught just 13 passes for 177 yards and one touchdown with the Dallas Cowboys. He averaged 4.9 yards on 17 punt returns.

Nelson, 28, was released by the Raiders midway through last season after missing significant time with an ankle injury. He played his first four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, catching 85 passes for 1,475 yards and 11 touchdowns.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]