SANTA CLARA — You know it’s deep into training camp when several questions revolve around the excessive sweat on Alex Mack’s backside.
The fact that 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo seemed surprised these questions came up after being discussed in three consecutive media availabilities adds to the humor of the scenario. But he handled it well.
“I don’t know, I get a lot of sweaty centers,” Garoppolo said suppressing a smile. “It’s unfortunate at times but we make it work. Alex is no sweatier than -- that’s a hard one to answer."
Mack sweats - a lot. It has caused issues with the quarterback-center exchange on a few occasions during training camp. On Saturday during the open practice at Levi’s Stadium, I noticed a trainer straining to pull a large towel from the back of the veteran’s pants and eventually replacing it with a new one.
Previously, offensive coordinator Mike McDaniels had explained the reason for the center-quarterback exchange problems was a sweat issue, and at that moment I clearly understood.
As uncomfortable as this topic might be, it could affect how a game could unfold and Kyle Shanahan’s explanation was needed.
“He works hard out there and has a little bit of a sweating issue,” Shanahan said Sunday. “And we need like a beach towel. The quarterbacks are working through that. And honestly, it happens with almost all centers.
“Maybe Mack is a little worse than others. [Atlanta Falcons QB] Matt Ryan used to make him change his pants like every period. It doesn't stay dry too long. It’s part of football.”
On Tuesday, Garoppolo and Mack didn’t have any exchange issues. The center was seen with a towel tucked in his backside, as usual. The two players seem to be growing accustomed to each others habits.
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While Garoppolo hopes to not need Mack to change pants between periods, he had an excellent analogy on how it can affect how the signal-caller handles the ball.
“It definitely makes it different if you’re not ready for it, I’d say,” Garoppolo said. “I think I’ve kind of learned through my career how to deal with it. The best way to describe it is you’re playing in a dry game and all of the sudden it’s a rain game when you get the snap so if you’re not prepared for that, it can throw you off at times.
“I can’t believe we’re talking about that.”