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Aiyuk, Warner instigate intense fight at 49ers practice

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Two high-profile members of the 49ers squared off in a tussle on the practice field for the second time in the day, resulting in a melee that involved a dozen players.

Seated on the grass near the dustup that featured linebacker Fred Warner and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk was 11-year-old Eli Alonzo of San Jose.

“You guys are teammates,” shouted Alonzo, his soft-yet-stern voice rising above the den.

Coach Kyle Shanahan could not have agreed more.

He stopped practice and called the team together for a lecture on how he wants the club to take of each other during practice and not subject anyone to unnecessary physical risks.

Warner has singled out Aiyuk from the beginning of training camp. Aiyuk labeled Warner as “annoying.” And Warner explained why he has pestered Aiyuk so much.

“Specifically with Brandon, I chose him out,” Warner said “And I’ll say why. I think he’s ready to make that next step and to play at an elite level.”

The first scuffle occurred early in practice Tuesday after Aiyuk caught a short pass over the middle from Trey Lance and received what Aiyuk considered too much contact during the team’s second padded practice of training camp.

On the previous play, Aiyuk went after safety Talanoa Hufanga as he was blocking on an Elijah Mitchell run play. That appeared to upset Warner, who went after Aiyuk on the next play.

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Several minutes later, Warner thumped receiver Marcus Johnson to the ground, which prompted Aiyuk to confront Warner. And the two players squared off. They were soon joined by players on both sides of the ball, including fellow linebacker Dre Greenlaw and Azeez Al-Shaair. At one point, assistant defensive line coach Darryl Tapp had to forcefully remove new defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche from the scrum.

 

After Shanahan’s warning to the team, the club returned to practice and there were no further incidents.

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