Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan pitches 49ers to free agents who might be concerned by 2020 relocation

Jan 6, 2021 at 3:22 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers spent the last month of the 2020 season in Glendale, Arizona. The team was displaced from its home due to Santa Clara County COVID-19 restrictions banning contact sports. Kyle Shanahan and company tried to make it business as usual, even though the situation was about as unusual as it could get.

Even stranger was the fact that, at the time of the move, Maricopa County in Arizona was worse off when it came to COVID-19 than Santa Clara County. So, for the 49ers, their month-long home wasn't going to be any safer.

On Monday, Shanahan and general manager John Lynch sat down and spoke at length with reporters — via Zoom, of course. It had been less than 24 hours since the team arrived back in the Bay Area after completing the 2020 season and what probably felt like a whirlwind month. They were asked if there is any concern that being forced to relocate by the county this past season might have a trickle-down effect on any free agents who might be interested in joining the team. Could the situation harm the appeal of joining the 49ers?

Shanahan was also asked who paid for the move to and stay in Arizona? Was it all 49ers ownership, or did the NFL help with the relocation costs?

"No, that's all by the Yorks. I'm pretty sure of, yeah," Shanahan responded. "We lost our home, and we had to deal with finding a new home, and they're in charge of this organization."

As for the organization's appeal after such an ordeal, the coach spoke from experience, saying that there probably aren't a lot of organizations that treat their players, coaches, and staff better than the 49ers.

"When you talk about situations like with free agents and stuff, I think that's the stuff that helps us," Shanahan explained, as he started a pitch for his team. "You can talk to our players. None of them were very happy at all, being in that situation, but none of them are upset with the organization, and it's because of how they're treated.

"I've been in buildings where you can feel guilty taking two water bottles instead of one. Just little things where you can feel it's, I keep asking our assistants for a pen, and they're having such a hard time bringing you one, and it's because we've got to order some new ones because it was always the minimum. Those are the things that you don't have to deal with here."

Of course, Shanahan didn't name any specific organization while sharing those examples, but you can probably figure out which of his former teams the coach referred to. He obviously loves being a part of an organization that supports its employees to the level the 49ers do.

"That players, if they came straight from college, like some of these big schools, they don't realize it yet, but if they'd been in other NFL teams, you see each one is its own company, and that's why we always say we believe we're a first-class organization and do things right way. That's what I always thought the Niners were just growing up and hearing about it. It was one of my most excited things when I heard (49ers CEO) Jed (York) talk that way."

Shanahan shared that the Yorks didn't just pay to lodge the team for a month. They paid to have the team's cooks in Arizona so the players, coaches, and staff would have all of their meals provided. The players definitely noticed that. And there is a lot of communication between players across the league, so others will hear about it.

Shanahan added that he's been in buildings where irritated players have come to him complaining about little things like having to purchase their own food.

"You're like, 'Man, I'm buying my own meals, also,'" Shanahan said. "That's not the case here. That's a feeling we don't have to deal with. So, that word spreads, and I know that's something players talk about, and I know that's stuff other players hear in this league. And that's why they can take the risk of getting kicked out of our county again, which hopefully this vaccine works, so we don't have to worry about that."

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