Hard hats are becoming mandatory at 49ers headquarters, which has undergone a sea change in the last month. I and several other writers stopped by today to clean out our cubicles from the media trailer, which is in the path of construction and which will be moved -- where, I don't know -- in coming days.
It's all a part of the make-ready work for the new stadium, which will be built in a parking lot across the street from the team's practice facility and headquarters. Actually, "across the street" isn't exactly correct. The new venue will stretch from the parking lot, over the street -- Centennial Boulevard -- and will be connected by a short passageway to the headquarters building. That is, the street will soon cease to exist.
Right now the work has been knocking down walls, ripping up parking lots and chopping down trees in an effort to make that area level. In the back of the building where the practice fields are located, there also have been changes. The hill -- dubbed Mt. Pain -- that Mike Singletary built in 2009 has been removed. It went unused in Jim Harbaugh's first season as head coach and was in the way of the new road to the facility. (More photos at the end of this blog).
Every soon-to-be 49ers free agent I've spoken to in recent weeks says he wants to return to the 49ers. I bumped into one of them, right guard Adam Snyder, at the 49ers facility today as he was leaving after a workout. Snyder, who is close to Joe Staley and Alex Smith among others, said talks have not yet begun on a new contract.
Those discussions usually begin at the scouting combine at the end of the month. This year, there is even less pressure right now because free agency begins two weeks later -- on March 13 -- than it has in recent years. In a few days, Snyder and his family will head to Oahu to attend Mike Iupati's wedding. Isaac Sopoaga, Anthony Davis and other 49ers players will also be there. Snyder, who surfs, said he's going to attempt to teach the young 49ers' offensive linemen the sport. Three hundred-pound guys on the North Shore? I can't wait for the video.
Defensive end Ray McDonald was one of the 49ers who worked out today. McDonald couldn't explain his arrest a day earlier (see previous blog post). He said the paperwork that showed he had completed a court-mandated DUI class had indeed been sent to the proper place. The San Mateo County District Attorney's office, however, said it never received that paperwork, hence the outstanding warrant that landed McDonald briefly in jail.
Here are two more photos of the make-ready construction. The first is the back of the 49ers' facility where Mt. Pain once stood. The second is looking east toward the front of the practice facility across the parking lot on which the stadium will be built.
-- Matt Barrows