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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers Notebook: Fire alarm sabotage? Practices heat up; Bringing their A-game; Shanahan’s legacy

Feb 8, 2024 at 9:25 PM--

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Thursday brought another small dose of adversity for the San Francisco 49ers as they continue preparations for the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII (Sunday, 6:30 p.m., CBS), with a fire alarm providing an unwanted early morning wake up call for most of the team's players.

While the alarm affected some members of the team more than others, there's no question that several of the team's players weren't exactly happy with what happened.

"A fire alarm going off at six in the morning? For what? I didn't understand that," wide receiver Deebo Samuel said Thursday. "That s*** kind of pissed me off. I'm not lying."

The fire alarm was a popular topic of discussion as the 49ers met with reporters at length on Thursday at the Hilton Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa. We'll have a rundown of what the players as well as head coach Kyle Shanahan said about the alarm in this version of 49ers Notebook, and much more.


Thursday's fire alarm added another unexpected twist to the 49ers' Super Bowl week, which began with concerns about the playing surface of their practice field at UNLV.

What (or who) caused the fire alarm remains a mystery, but 49ers players seemed to be in agreement that someone pulled it on purpose.

"I'm sure somebody did it," defensive end Nick Bosa said (via NBC Sports Bay Area).

The alarm went off around 6 A.M. and lasted somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 minutes. Samuel told reporters it was the third time he's heard the fire alarm go off this week.

"I don't think it's a coincidence either," Samuel said. "I think somebody did it because yesterday it happened in practice, then the other night, Monday night, it happened again. It's like, what's going on?"

Reports on the event stated that guests weren't required to leave their rooms due to the alarm, but it doesn't sound like everyone on the 49ers stayed put.

"Had no clue what was happening when the fire alarm went off," safety Tashaun Gipson said. "We just know it went off for about 15 minutes. You naturally wake up and you panic. You go outside, and they assured us that 'Hey, it's just a malfunction.' You're surely thinking it'll turn off in another minute or two and it went for probably 15 minutes, and I think everybody came down. I've never seen so many sleepy faces in the morning as I did today, so it was tough, man. It was tough."

Unwanted noise can come with the territory of playing on the road, although certainly it isn't an ideal occurrence during Super Bowl week. Still, it's the type of thing the 49ers have been through before.

"It kind of reminded me in Philly when they had this construction going on outside through the entire night and early in the morning, and it's like they're demolishing a bridge right outside of our (hotel)," Bosa said. "So we haven't had the best luck, but no excuses. I'm not making excuses; I'm just explaining what happened."

Running back Christian McCaffrey said, "As soon as the fire alarm went off, I just laughed. I'm like, 'Of course this would happen,' you know what I mean? It's part of it. Is it random? No. But it's part of it. It's just more wood thrown in the fire."

49ers coaches were already awake when the alarm went off, so they were spared the same type of unpleasantry that the players experienced.

"We're in the basement, so we didn't actually hear it," Shanahan said. "But by the time I saw the players at seven and asked them how their night was, they all were complaining about the fire alarm and all having to go outside and everything. So I didn't realize how big of a deal it was until I met them and they showed me the video. So I think it was a pain for them. Just no one wants to get up at six and have to go outside when we don't have meetings until eight. But it is what it is."

But not every player on the 49ers was upset about the alarm. Tight end George Kittle, who tries to turn everything into a glass half full situation, said he was about to wake up anyway and didn't mind at all that the fire alarm did it for him.

"It went off seven minutes before my alarm went off," Kittle said. "So I was like, 'Ah, at least I won't have to sleep to my alarm.' I try to make everything a positive. Got to sit down for a bit and wait for it to turn off so I could use the elevator, and my day was started. It's great for me."

The 49ers were able to shake off their wake-up call and get through their scheduled practice, hoping that things will get back to normal tonight.

"Practice seemed a little harder," Gipson said. "Our bodies were a little tired, but I think we'll get caught up on our sleep today. Whoever did that, shout out to them. Good job. That's a heck of a prank, whoever did that."

Practices heating up

Despite any hangover they might have felt from the fire alarm, the 49ers apparently had a spirited practice on Thursday. Left tackle Trent Williams (via 95.7 The Game) said Thursday's practice was "super intense."

"I think it's just the same way with anybody," Williams said. "You get to this stage, we're practicing with a purpose at this point. We know what's at stake. We know we've got a chance to do. I'm pretty sure Kansas City practiced hard today, and this is what's required to get to this spot."

Williams was right about that, based on comments from Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. With kickoff just over two days away, Kelce told reporters Thursday that players have been getting after each other a bit, and it's gotten him revved up as a result.

"It's chaos, man," Kelce said. "It's a lot of fun, a lot of energy at practices, everybody's focused and dialed in at their job at hand. I'm not even going to lie -- things got a little chippy. I'm not going to say between who, but the offensive and defensive lines are trying to get their work in. They're trying to make sure everybody's ready for the game. I mean, it just got me fired up yesterday seeing everybody locked in and wanting to get their work in -- making sure everybody is ready for the task at hand on Sunday. I just love the focus and the energy of the team right now."

Will the 49ers' "A-game" come this week?

The 49ers would be first to admit they haven't been at the top of their game to this point during the postseason, but perhaps Super Bowl LVIII will bring out the best in them. The Chiefs could be in trouble if it does, seeing as how the 49ers don't even think they played their best when they put 40-plus points on the board in blowout regular season wins over the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.

"I don't think we necessarily played our A-game all year," Shanahan said. "I thought probably in all three phases it was maybe Dallas. We got there I think in the second half of the Philly game -- didn't start out right that way. We've been able to win a lot of games and win a lot of them that weren't very close... those two games in the playoffs definitely weren't our best all around in all three phases. But you're also going against some better teams, too."

The 49ers may not get to what they'd consider "A-game" status against the Chiefs, but they're going to continue to try to get there, just as they've done all season.

"It always does get harder," Shanahan continued. "But our team, we haven't sat here and said, what do we got to do these last two weeks? This is what we do every single game, even games that people think we're doing real good in. We don't always look at it that way. So we're pretty hard on each other. There's nothing new that we're seeing like, 'Oh, we got to fix this.' Every single play, whether it's practice, whether it's walkthrough whether it's the game, it's always accounted for.

"So we got guys that like football, they don't mind getting corrected, and we just keep working at it, always trying to have that perfect game, which probably never will have. But hopefully we can have as good of a one this week, and that'd be our last one of the year."


Pro Bowl defensive lineman Chris Jones is an unquestioned force for the Kansas City Chiefs on the field, but off it he undoubtedly has an engaging sense of humor. It might have been on display yesterday when he told reporters with a straight face that he was worried about matching up against elite 49ers left tackle Trent Williams.

"He's scary," Jones said. "He's vicious. He's one of the best players I can face, so I'm a little nervous, man. A little nervous. I'm going to pray about it a little more and continue to prepare."

Williams was asked Thursday about Jones's comment. He made it clear he wasn't buying it.

"Look, I know Chris," Williams said. "He's being facetious... sarcasm. It's part of his personality. We do have a great respect for each other. He's the best at his craft. I try to be the best at mine. But it was more so being sarcastic than him being scared of me. I know he's not scared of me."

An old friend shows his support

DeMeco Ryans may not be a part of the 49ers anymore, but he's still going to be cheering them on in Super Bowl LVIII.

Ryans is coming off an unexpectedly successful debut season as head coach of the Houston Texans after spending six seasons with the 49ers, which saw him go through a rapid rise of starting his post-playing career as a quality control coach to taking on a role as defensive coordinator in 2021 and 2022. Ryans was in Las Vegas Thursday night as he was up for the NFL's Coach of the Year award (an honor he very narrowly lost to Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski) and told NBC Sports Bay Area he'll be backing the 49ers in the Super Bowl and thinks they'll be able to finish the job.

"I still watch the Niners," Ryans said. "A lot of love and appreciation for the organization, first off to Kyle for giving me an opportunity to start my coaching career there. So many great players there I had the opportunity to work with -- Fred (Warner), Dre (Greenlaw). I'm pulling for them. This is their year. You just watch the entire year, how the season has gone, I think they're destined to get it done this year."

Not the end of the world

Shanahan will undoubtedly get his share of criticism in the press if the 49ers lose to the Chiefs, given the fact the 49ers weren't able to hold onto a lead in a loss to the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV and that he was the offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons when blew a 28-3 lead in their defeat at the hands of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI. But whether the 49ers win or lose, he doesn't plan on letting any naysayers control how he approaches Sunday's game or how he will view his life afterwards.

"I deal with it the same way if we win," Shanahan said Thursday. "I celebrate with our team, I celebrate with my families, and I move on with the rest of my life, which is being a father or son and coaching and working, doing all that. Narrative, good or bad, is just a narrative.

"And that's my biggest thing with everything. When you go into these games, what makes you prepare? I just don't want regrets. I want to do everything that makes sense to myself, that makes sense for our team. And when you do that, that's what I have found -- no matter how hard something is or good something is, you always keep perspective of what it really is. If you want your perspective to be someone else's narrative, good luck being happy in life or successful."

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