Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan 

Press Conference – December 23, 2023 

San Francisco 49ers 

Listen to Audio I Media Center 


Opening comments: 

“The injuries for the game. [DL] Arik Armstead will be out. [TE Ross] Dwelley is out. [LB] Oren Burks is out. [WR] Jauan Jennings is out. [DL Javon] Hargrave and [RB] Elijah Mitchell are questionable. Go ahead.”


With Arik, is it more the foot or the knee? Is it something that you’re concerned is going to be kind of a long-term thing at this point? 

“Yes, we’re concerned. We do think he has a chance each week, but I’d say it’s a little more the foot than the knee. Something that’s bothered him for a little bit. I’m just hoping the pain will go down.”


Is it similar to what he was dealing with last year? 

“I believe so.”


You guys played on Thanksgiving and on that holiday players and coaches talk a lot about what they’re thankful for. Now you’re playing on Christmas. Have you guys talked at all about the significance of playing on this holiday and sort of what it means to people? 

“No, we haven’t. We addressed the situation. We all love Christmas. We all love spending time with our families and all that, but we play on Christmas this year. It is what it is. We’ve been real lucky the last few years. I feel like it’s just worked out the way where we’ve had Christmas off as a whole building I want to say like the last four years in a row. I think two years ago we played on the 23rd on Thursday and got the whole weekend off. Last year, I think we played on Saturday, got the whole day off. This year we play on Christmas. It is what it is. We’re going to take care of business and have a lot more fun doing that.”


You haven’t deviated from the schedule. So in other words, everybody’s got to report to the team hotel tomorrow night, you’ll spend Christmas Eve sequestered and then you wake up in the morning and all open presents together? 

“No. First of all, I think it’s very good that we have a rule that you have to stay in the hotel the night for the game. I get the people who will get probably a lot of stuff from their wives and everything. But, I’ve spent those nights at home before and you think you’re going to finish that dollhouse fast and it takes about three hours and all of a sudden it’s three in the morning. So, it’s good that they don’t have that option. Everyone can be upset with me. But, I do think it’s cool that we play a night game. Whenever those guys get up, they do have time to go home and see people real quick. So, if they have some young kids and everything if they want to do that, that’s fine. That helps.”


Do you remember 30 years ago what you were doing when your dad was coaching in the game? 

“Yes, I was complaining that I had to wait until that night to open up presents.”


Were you ball boy on that game? 

“No, I was only ball boy during training camp, but he always snuck me onto the sidelines and gave me a media pass. So I’d sit past the 30 and always hide there. I can still remember Z [49ers Team Photographer Michael Zagaris] M-Fing me one time for jumping in front of him cheering and blocking one of his photos. He doesn’t remember it, but I do. He got on me hard.”


Did you go to that game?  

“Yeah, I did go to that game.”


On the sideline?  

“Yeah, I’m sure I was. I think they did something before the game we had to take a big picture. I think for a national anthem, maybe. I was extremely embarrassed about it because I was one of the older kids. I was like in eighth grade, so you wanted to look cool and I was with young kids, so I didn’t feel cool at the time. But, that’s what my kids do now when I make them hang out with me.”


That was before you got your former NFL DB Deion Sanders jersey? 

“Yes. I didn’t get that until my freshman year. Yeah, that’s when people started liking me.”


You don’t think Zagaris remembers it? 

“He does because I’ve brought it up to him. Oh yeah, because he got on me hard. Told me I was ruining his job. What the hell am I doing there? I said I have a media pass. Leave me alone man.”


It’s a real honor to get a media pass. 

“It is. I still have it.”


Did you keep it? 

“No, I’m just joking.”


How did Hargrave make it through the last few days? Is he looking okay? 

“Yeah, he did good. He was able to get that out there today. Got the most work in there today, but it’s all walk-through. So he’s still questionable.”


Has Jauan made any steps through the protocol? 

“He’s made steps, but that’s why we had to rule him out just with the protocol and stuff. Not enough to be able to play.”


Do you feel like WR Ronnie Bell is ready to step up in that position? 

“Yeah, I do. It’s not just Ronnie, but we’re going to have the other guys that need to. We’ll get another guy out from practice squad and we’ve got [WR] Chris [Conley] out there too. So, we’ll be able to move guys around a lot.”


Was CB Jason Verrett one of the scout team stars of the week? 

“Yep, we do the scout team player of the week every week. He got it for defense and he’s been looking good. He’s had two good weeks here and pumped to have him in our building.”


With Ronnie Bell, are you still comfortable with him as a punt returner? 



I saw WR Brandon Aiyuk doing punt returns a little earlier in the week. Is he an option? 

“Yeah, he’s always emergency and stuff. I think he just went back there to get some work to keep doing it just in case. You never know who’s got to be available in games depending on what happens.”