San Francisco 49ers prepare for off-season after Seattle loss
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers will soon leave for their off-season homes after coming close to a return to the Super Bowl.
The players were at the team headquarters Monday morning, cleaning out their lockers and meeting with the media for the final time this season.
Outside, fans were there to congratulate the players on another fun and successful season. It's not the end of the season celebration they had hoped for, but the 49ers faithful still showed up early at the team's headquarters.
The Garcia family drove all the way from Fresno to Santa Clara to say thanks for the memories.
"[Because] we're a real fan. Win or lose we're a fan," said Angela Garcia.
"Win or lose I'm still a Niner fan and yesterday, you know, it was just, it wasn't our day. It wasn't our game yesterday," said Alex Garcia.
The team arrived at Mineta San Jose International Airport just before 11 p.m., after the season ending loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Cheering fans greeted them at the end of their short trip to Santa Clara, as the players, coaches and team personnel were driven inside the gates of their headquarters.
"I'm sure they're feeling depressed and down after such an awesome game, and a tough end to a game. That what better way to come home than all of us cheering them on. Because that's what they need," said 49ers fan Claire O'Hara.
The team responded to the fans on twitter. Linebacker Aldon Smith tweeted, "Thanks for your support."
Safety Donte Whitner said, "Great season faithful. We appreciate all of you."
Team CEO Jed York said, "Thanks 49ers faithful for cheering us on this season."
The loss to Seattle marked the end of this year's playoff run, but fans see a bright future.
"They're crystal and bright just like my shades. So, we're going to come back stronger next year in Santa Clara. I've got season tickets so it's going to be a blast. It's just what we got to look forward to, the new era," said fan Sam Baeza.
That new era will start at Levi's Stadium. The first preseason game for the 49ers new home will be this August.
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