WR Dante Pettis
January 1, 2021
Q: This is obviously the first time we’ve talked to you. I’m just curious obviously, this last year has been crazy for everybody. But you went from being on the 49ers where you weren’t getting as much playing time as I’m sure you would have liked. Then you got cut, claimed by the Giants, you got COVID, finally made your debut this past week. How would you describe how this last year has been for you?
A: You hit it right on the nose. It’s been crazy for everybody, not just me. No one really saw any of this coming. There were certain things that threw me for a loop in particular with just the way the season started for me, getting cut and all that, coming out to New York. But I’m happy with how everything has turned out. I like being here. Like I said, I’m happy with how things have gone.
Q: What did you think when you were claimed by the Giants and what has the experience been like since you got here?
A: I was excited. Obviously, I know the Giants have such a big history and all that, so I was excited to be a part of that. It’s been good being here. All the teammates and coaches, everyone’s been helping me get caught up to speed and all that. It’s been really good.
Q: How did it feel to get your first catch, your first couple of catches, when you played the other day?
A: It felt good. I don’t know the last time I had a catch. It felt good to just be a part of the team and contribute. Like I said, it’s been a while since that had been a thing. I wish we would have been able to get the win, obviously. But it did feel good to at least be out there with everybody.
Q: Obviously, the thing you’re most known for is special teams returns. How quickly have you been able to pick that stuff up? Is it like when an offensive or defensive player has to learn a whole new playbook on a new team or are returns not quite like that? It’s catch the ball and run.
A: Return is more simple I think. There are going to be things that are specific to what certain coaches like, whether it’s they like catching the ball a certain way or they like certain returns. But for the most part, I guess punt returning especially, it’s mostly like you catch the ball and find space based on the return.
Q: How comfortable are you as a kick returner? I think you did that at Washington, but I think you only had one and it was this year in San Francisco. I don’t think you ever did it for San Francisco kick returning before this year.
A: I actually didn’t even kick return at Washington. I did it in high school. I don’t know why I didn’t really do it in college but it just didn’t happen like that. Yeah, this year was the first time I actually returned a kick for the 49ers. I’ll do it. I have no problems with it. It was just something that they felt like they had other people or something, I don’t know.
Q: So, all eight of those touchdowns at Washington were punt returns?
A: Nine, but yeah.
Q: How difficult was it to kind of come into this offense so late and trying to mesh with Daniel (Jones) and the guys? What were the main difficulties associated with that?
A: I think just the terminology in the first week and a half. It almost felt like I was learning a new language for the first couple days. I had no idea what certain words meant and all that. But everybody was very helpful with trying to get me up to speed. If I had any questions, they would always help. They would be like ‘Oh no, you got this.’ All the receivers too, if I was lined up, they checked in like ‘You good? You got it?’ Yeah, so the first week and a half was rough but after that, extra meetings and everything it kind of went a lot smoother.
Q: Obviously, the football thing is the football thing. But personally, did you know anyone with the Giants when you got claimed and when you came here? How hard is it to develop relationships beyond football when you guys, Kevin Zeitler was just in with us telling us it’s hard for guys who were here last year to continue to develop relationships. For you coming in the way you did, what has that been like?
A: I knew a few of the guys on the team. There were some guys that were on the 49ers before or that I trained with, been at the same agency. There were guys that I knew, some that I was familiar with, and so that helped a lot. Then the receiver group at least, I feel like we’re very close. They were very welcoming. There are a lot of guys that live at the same apartment that I’m at, so it was easy to just kind of go to their room, stop by, hang out for a little bit. I didn’t think it was too hard. I feel like we have a lot of good guys in the locker room that have really just been welcoming.
Q: A lot of guys who have had experience with being in quarantine say it takes a lot out of them, just sitting around a hotel room. You had to go through that twice. Once when you got here and then once with the actual COVID. What was that like and how did that affect your body and your athleticism?
A: The first quarantine wasn’t too bad. It was like six days, and I could still do workouts. I could do pushups in my room or something like that. So, that one wasn’t too bad. But then the second one when I actually got COVID was a little rougher because I wasn’t supposed to work out or anything. I was just in my room for, I think it was 10 days. After about six days, I started to feel better so I could walk around and everything. But I lost probably eight pounds. When I came back, it was just my body was a little weaker. It took a while to kind of get back up to speed after that.
Q: Do you feel like you’re back to where you were before COVID?
A: Yeah, I feel perfectly fine now.