Coronavirus: Can Santa Clara's lack of nightlife protect 49ers?

Cam Inman, The Mercury News on

Published in Football

How do you protect young, vibrant athletes from carousing and potentially contracting COVID-19 that could infect teammates?

Silicon Valley's miro-nightlife might help.

"On a team like ours, we're uniquely constructed to deal with this, because obviously we're in Santa Clara," cornerback Richard Sherman said Tuesday on a media video conference. "There's not a huge nightlife.

"It's not like we in Atlanta or Texas or Miami or Las Vegas or L.A., where there are a lot of distractions and a lot of things you can do to get yourself in trouble."

Sherman wasn't a 49er when multiple players ran afoul of the law in San Jose and San Francisco bars earlier this decade, but he played at Stanford from 2006-10, so he indeed is familiar with how subdued the South Bay can be.

Only two 49ers have gone on the NFL's COVID-19 reserve list since players began reporting for training camp two weeks ago. Wide receiver Richie James Jr. has since been cleared off that list (and moved onto another injury list for a wrist fracture), and running back Jeff Wilson Jr. has been on it since only Thursday.

What else can motivate the 49ers from straying in the South Bay streets? Their Super Bowl loss six months ago.

"Our team is incredibly focused because of how close we were to winning a Super Bowl last year and how that taste in their mouth is a bitter discipline in itself," Sherman added. "That hunger, that angst is discipline in itself. Our team is incredibly committed and driven toward that goal."


Sherman noted players already have been tested for COVID-19 about eight to 10 times, and daily tests will continue for at least another week, after which every-other-day testing could happen if fewer than 5% of the tests are positive.

"I feel relatively safe, just as I do in the rest of society, honestly," said Sherman, whose wife and two children are remaining at the family's Seattle home rather than return to the Bay Area.

"Once you get through all the hoops you have to jump through and protocols, football is football as you know it. This is in place to make sure the season can go on. There's been a lot of chatter about baseball and all this, but I think it's been fine."

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