Kyle Shanahan

Shanahan confident 49ers will return ‘hungry' again for 2024 season

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It was difficult to find any reason to feel upbeat as the 49ers cleaned out their lockers and prepared for another Super Bowl-less offseason, but coach Kyle Shanahan and many key players were confident that their championship hunger has not subsided.

Shanahan emulated the same stance as his players in an exchange with reporters during the press conference that capped clean-out day in Santa Clara on Tuesday.

“It definitely would be [hard to pick ourselves up] if we had to do it right now," Shanahan said. “That's why guys need to get away. This is real. You do have to grieve this. Our guys, one, they have jobs to do just like we do. And two, I think our guys really are passionate about their jobs and enjoy football a lot.

“So, I think our guys are going to be hungry as ever coming back from this. Just like they were as hungry as I've ever seen a group of guys come into last offseason after how our offseason in Philly finished the year before. When you’ve got guys who really love what they do, that's what brings that passion. You’ve just got to put together a group of guys that are also good at it.”

Brock Purdy, Christian McCaffrey and Trent Williams each echoed a similar sentiment that the team will be very motivated to get back to the Super Bowl after another crushing defeat.

Purdy explained the bad taste left in his mouth from the big game, which saw the Kansas City Chiefs defeat the 49ers for the second time in five seasons in the Super Bowl.

“For the coaches, our fan base, everybody, it sucks. We were right there, [the game] went to overtime, [we] had an opportunity, it sucks,” Purdy said. “But that's the game that we play. You have to find a way to sort of have it fuel you and, and have that roll in the next year, like with that taste in your mouth.”

When McCaffrey was asked about how playing in his first Super Bowl gives him a different type of hunger to get back to the biggest stage in sports, the veteran running back spoke to how much the hurt of losing fuels him.

“Yeah, I think you're always hungry, that's the feeling you always want,” McCaffrey explained. “I think when you get there, you now know what the deal is, but it definitely makes you more hungry and it definitely hurts worse [to lose the Super Bowl].”

Williams said much of the same, stating that the raw emotions from the loss will pass and it will not be any more daunting for San Francisco to make it back to their third Super Bowl in six seasons.

“At the end of the day, like you said, the feeling that shall pass and, once spring rolls around, everybody is going to have that same hunger to get back and, have a chance to try to win the Super Bowl,” Williams said.

The road to the top of the NFL will not get any easier for the 49ers as recent history is not on their side. Only one Super Bowl loser in the past 25 seasons has made it back to the championship game the following year.

San Francisco has now joined the Buffalo Bills, Minnesota Vikings, Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos on an infamous list of teams who have lost three or more consecutive Super Bowl appearances.

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