SANTA CLARA — Kyle Shanahan was scared for a moment in the 49ers' 23-7 win over the Houston Texans, but it wasn't because of what his players were doing.
An adolescent boy somehow gained access to the 49ers' bench at Levi's Stadium during the fourth quarter of Sunday's game, and ran up to the coach. Shanahan, who's generally very focused while coaching a game, was startled, to say the least.
“That scared the hell out of me,” Shanahan said. “That threw me off so bad, I didn’t know what was going on. Now I feel bad. I wish I pounded the kid -- respect. I don’t know how he got down there, but I was just looking at my call sheet, and I hear a soft voice in front of me saying, ‘Holy cow, Kyle Shanahan!’
“I didn’t know if it was my son at first, or what. But it startled me a little bit, then I realized it was a kid.”
Usually when a fan somehow gains access to the field during a game, it's an irresponsible adult, not a young boy. It seems the boy went unnoticed for some time, too, with others having mistaken him for Shanahan's son, Carter.
Shanahan wasn't the only person the boy approached on the 49ers' sideline. Tight end George Kittle shared that he saw the youngster talk to Deebo Samuel, too.
“I was talking to Tom Compton, and then all I heard was, ‘Deebo, I love you.’ ” Kittle said. “And then I heard, ‘Get that kid off the field.’ And I said, ‘What kid?’ And then I looked over, and there was a kid talking to Kyle.
“That was super interesting. Awesome. I would have really liked it, but the pandemic thing makes it a little weird, but I guess we're good. I had hand sanitizer.”
While not trying to encourage disorderly fan behavior, Shanahan was incredulous about the boy’s tenacity in trying to meet him and other 49ers. If he'd thought about it at the time, the coach said, he would've gifted the boy some sort of team paraphernalia.
“I’ve never seen a kid run on the field,” Shanahan said. “I said, ‘Wow, man. How’d you get down here?’ And then security got him. I wish I was able to give him something.”