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SAN JOSE — Here is a running thread of what’s going down Wednesday night at the 49ers second annual State of the Franchise address, being held amid 2,000 rowdy fans at the California Theater:
— The two-hour affair ended without an appearance by Jimmy Garoppolo, who had a previous commitment. But it did have Jerry Rice make a surprise cameo as he joined other players donning this year’s alternative jersey: a white-clad throwback from the 49ers’ last Super Bowl-winning team from the 1994 season.
— Cam Inman (@CamInman) May 24, 2018
— The top four draft picks took the stage: Mike McGlinchey, Dante Pettis, Fred Warner and Tarvarius Moore, the latter of whom said of playing in the secondary with Richard Sherman: “It’s a surreal feeling. He’s an awesome mind, a genius, really. He’s going to be a defensive coordinator someday.”
— Mike McGlinchey on Joe Staley: “Joe is an absolute stud athlete in his own right. It’s pretty cool to work with a guy like that.”
— McGlinchey on not playing as a freshman at Notre Dame: “I don’t think that was really my choice. I came to Notre Dame as a taller, lankier kid. I was about 265 pounds. (Crowd chuckles).” Asked who is the class clown of the rookies, he said he’d take that title.
— Dante Pettis on 49ers receiving legacy: “It’s awesome. You walk through the hallways, see names of the great players, it’s crazy to be a part of that.”
— Joe Staley on 2018: “This season coming up I’ve never been more excited for a football season to get here. The locker room, the energy, the closeness of the locker room, not only do we all get along, it’s all built on respect of work. It starts with our leadership we have with Kyle and John. I’m really excited.”
— Robbie Gould on the team’s recent training with Navy Seals: “We didn’t wear the right outfit and did a lot of pushups.”
— Kyle Juszczyk on the running back class: “If I had to give you one word: speed.” He notes that Kyle Shanahan says only one guy runs a 4.9 40-yard dash, and Juszczyk confirms that is him. Juszczyk sayd he’s like 100 catches this season, half-jokingly (or half-seriously).
— Robbie Gould calls this the best locker room in his 14-year career. “You have guys crazy, outgoing and over the top, like Joe who will break out singing in the training room. Sherman will hang with the kickers teaching them how to kick. DeFo will play ping pong, and Juice is somewhere doing biceps curls.” Gould credits the culture Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch have installed.
— DeForest Buckner loosened up talking about his dog named Kimo. As for football, Buckner said: “I’m excited to show everybody what I can really do. … It’s going to be very exciting this year.”
— Joe Staley, amid the evening’s numerous cat calls from the audience, says: “Can I say one thing? There’s so much energy here.” Staley will have more to say as his “Joe Show” locker-room interviews are returning, and they’ll include Richard Sherman and Jimmy Garoppolo.
— Richard Sherman on coaching young DBs: “They won’t let me play ball so I’ll do my best to go out there and make an impact.” Sherman calls K’Waun Williams “incredible” at the nickel spot.
— Joe Staley leads off a five-player panel: “It is awesome right now. We started OTAs and the atmosphere is great. Guys are putting in the work. … I’m real excited about my guy, McGlinchey, in my room. My little brother. I’m excited I have a little brother.” Also on the panel: Richard Sherman, DeForest Buckner, Robbie Gould and Kyle Juszczyk.”
— Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, citing players’ second year in his system, says of 2018: “What you should see is a much faster and more violent product.”
— On what it will take to dethrone the NFC West-champion Rams, Kyle Shanahan said: “Everyone knows already. You saw our last five games. … I’m as pumped as you guys are.”
— Richard Hightower on special teams’ most underappreciated guy: “I’ll always say on any team it’s the long snapper. You never notice him until something goes wrong. We’re fortunate our guy (Kyle Nelson) is pretty good.”
— Saleh on Richard Sherman: “If there’s anyone I’d expect to come back from what he’s gone through, it’s Sherm. He’s an animal. If people only knew what he’s played through, they’d understand it. … There’s no doubt in our mind he’ll be able to (come back).”
— Saleh on Solomon Thomas: “Solly goes through what a lot of rookies do, lot of bumps. He’s much more comfortable in the system in Year 2. We’re expecting him to get better. Solly has a tremendous gift athletically, he’s tremendously smart and the production will come with a player of his caliber.”
— Special teams coordinator Richard Hightower on second-round pick Dante Pettis: “He was a great college returner. We’re really excited about him. We’re excited about all our returners. We’ll see, when we put pads on. He’s been in the end zone a couple times.”
— Saleh on Richard Sherman coaching up DBs: “Anytime you get a guy like Sherm, it’s really a gift not only to players but the coaching staff. You’re adding the fact he knows our system inside out like a coach does. We’re so young on the back end and for players to go up and absorb info and tips he has, that means a lot. It’s a gift to everybody.”
— John Lynch on Jerick McKinnon: “When a guy’s nickname is ‘Jet,’ it explains who he is. The man can roll.” Lynch also credited McKinnon for being a strong, powerful guy who is a match-up problem for opponents by being able to play receiving positions. Kyle Shanahan noted how an expensive investment in McKinnon is paying off, saying: “What I’ve been so happy with ‘Jet,’ this month, he’s tied for hardest worker in the building, with 20 others.”
— On 0-9 start, John Lynch said: “We talked about, ‘Let’s focus on what we can control.’ Every day these guys came, despite what happened, remember there were historic losses, five games in a row by three or less, and that’s gut wrenching. We were injured. We kept fighting and battled through it. It made it all the more sweet when we turned it around.”
— Coach Kyle Shanahan on Jimmy Garoppolo: “He played pretty good in those five games. Part of being a successful quarterback is sustaining success. Jimmy’s really worked this offseason and it’s been great. He’s done everything possible and it’s impressive how far he’s come. He really knows it and it helps him take more ownership and communicate with players.”
— Coach Kyle Shanahan’s hope for Year 2: “The key for myself and everyone is we improve. We never want to take a step back. I hope it’s a huge step forward.” (Crowd yells: “Super Bowl.”) Kyle: “You know what our goal is every year. We turned a lot over last year, grinded hard, had a lot of ups and downs but finished as a better team. … We’ve put ourselves in a situation to be a lot better. Now we have to go out and do it.”
— Coach Kyle Shanahan credits trust for his strong bond with GM John Lynch.
— As John Lynch concludes his remarks, a fan shouts out: “Super Bowl!” Another fan counters: “6-and-10!”
— John Lynch on Jimmy Garoppolo’s 5-0 finish and subsequent deal: “The man can throw a football. He was blessed to throw a football. He’s been blessed with a lot of things.” Laughter ensued from the crowd.
— Adam Peters, the 49ers vice president of player personnel, is a new father. On the draft class, he said: “They’re really athletic, much faster. Our scouts really identified these guys as smart, tough, competitive players who love the game.”
— Paraag Marathe talked about how impressive he was with Richard Sherman during contract negotiations, saying the only other player who knew as much was Frank Gore in 2006. John Lynch talked about how at one stalemate during the deal, Sherman’s soon-to-be wife Ashley suggested an idea that solved the issue.
— Levi’s Stadium changes: More signage drawing on the 49ers’ storied past, at a cost of over $10 million. Guido apologizes for the first year of parking and transportation issues, and claims the 49ers are in the top 5 for exiting a stadium, as well as in fan satisfaction. The multi-use development next door should enhance the game-day experience in future years, once it’s completed (and started). Levy Restaurants, the “best in the business,” has been hired to help reverse fans’ dissatisfaction over food and beverage.
— Andy Lansing of Levy Restaurants warms up the crowd by saying 49ers legacy is second to none. OK, so what’s going to improve the stadium menu’s legacy? More local flavor, more pop-ups.
— Team president Al Guido announces Levi’s Stadium will be sold out for every game for its fifth straight year of existence.
— “Jimmy’s the G.O.A.T.!” a fan shouted at the end of York’s video interview. Anyone here remember a QB named Joe?
— A pre-recorded interview with CEO Jed York opened the show. York commended the relationship between coach Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch. As for the offseason moves, York said: “Honestly it goes back to everybody being on the same page. Kyle has a clear vision what he wants this team to be about, and John and the personnel department find the right pieces.”
This season’s goal: “Honestly it’s about getting better each and every day. Last year, no one would say 6-10 would be exciting. But if you looked at ours and winning 6 of the last 7 .. ..” York apologized for not being present; he was at owners meeting in Atlanta and heading next to Ohio for his mother’s annual charity dinner and auction in Ohio.
— About 2,000 fans packed in and celebrated with applause when it was mentioned that Reuben Foster should rejoin the team Thursday. A few hours earlier, his domestic-violence charge was dismissed in Santa Clara County Superior Court.
— Team mascot Sourdough Sam warmed up the crowd by spitting into the mic.