On Tuesday, San Francisco 49ers players used the day to clean out their lockers, say goodbye to their teammates before spreading out over the offseason and spoke with the media for the last time of the season.
Here's what the players had to say about the team that was built, the adversity they faced and what they accomplished in the 2022 season:
Quarterback Brock Purdy on the emotions he feels surrounding leaders of the team:
"I'm just so sad for the older guys, Fred Warner, Trent Williams, George Kittle, Arik Armstead, everyone – all the guys that have been through this. They've obviously been in the Super Bowl in 2019 and then last year in the NFC Championship. For this to happen, I'm sad for those guys more than anything because they deserve to go and win the whole thing."
Purdy on his reflection of the 2022 season:
"The next challenge ahead is what can we do to to win for next year, finish the whole thing and do it the right way. I feel like we did do that this year, we got to learn from this year, and we did so many great things this year. At the end, some things didn't line up and I think some things were just out of our control that we have to live with, sadly. But we can look at this year and understand what it looks like and what it takes to get on a streak, get hot and win big games, so we'll definitely learn from it. There's a lot in front of us in terms of grinding and getting better."
Purdy on the support he's gotten from the locker room:
"I love these guys, I appreciate them and their leadership. They've been through this year after year, and for them to have respect for what I've done and the way I've handled my stuff, I appreciate that about them. I've learned so much from them. George Kittle has taken me in, Fred Warner, Arik Armstead and all those guys have just shown me what it looks like to be a pro and I appreciate them for that. They've got my back. You can do all this talking, but it comes down to going out on the field, doing your thing and producing for the team, so for them to have respect for what I've done, I really appreciate that, it means a lot to me. It doesn't get any better than this locker room right here."
Running back Christian McCaffrey on the team welcoming him mid-season:
"Obviously, it's disappointing and we wanted to be playing and have a shot to play in the Super Bowl. At the same time, I'm unbelievably grateful for the way this team took me in in the middle of the year. It feels like a family in there, from the coaches and the ownership to the players, I'm grateful for everyone in that locker room."
McCaffrey on what his first season was like with the 49ers:
"It was very special. I just go back to the practices when I first got here, I didn't know a lot of people and I was just observing – There's a reason why this team has a shot every single year. I know why now. The fight that's in the locker room is amazing."
Tight end George Kittle on his optimism for the 2023 season:
"It's a hell of a team. I think we'll definitely come back. We have a great foundation with this team and a great locker room, so it's just on to the next one."
Kittle on his reflection of the 2022 season:
"I'm just very appreciative. To string along 12 wins, especially after starting the way we started, it was awesome. Great memories, getting a guy like Christian McCaffrey midway through the season, to see the way he affected our offense, the way he changed some stuff and helped our team was awesome. Seeing the team to go through three-plus quarterbacks and to respond and still play at a high level was awesome. I know fantastic people in this building showed up every single day trying to work at their highest level and that's inspiring. It's really fun to be a part of something like that."
Kittle on the brotherhood in the locker room:
"When you put yourself out there all the time, it does drain you on a little bit. But when you're in a locker room full of guys like this and an organization like this, guys that build you up and keep you positive and keep grinding every single day. That's how you string together 12 wins and there's definitely a lot of great memories."
Quarterback Trey Lance on what the season's been like for him:
"Watching these guys play, watching these guys locked in meetings, watching these guys just on the practice field from afar, it's inspired me the whole year. It wasn't hard for me to keep going, I see it as it being my only option. It was never really hard mentally from that standpoint. I've just got such great people around me and great people in this organization, so I really didn't feel like I had anything to worry about."
Lance on what's impressed him about Purdy's performance this season:
"Just how he handled himself. We can talk about throws all day, he can make every throw in the world and he showed that throughout the year, but just how he handled himself. The way he inserted himself in the offense, the way he was treating other people. He treated guys from guys' first day in the building on practice squad the same as Nick Bosa. I think that says a lot about him as a person."
Lance on his takeaway from the season:
"I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and that we're all getting better from it."
Running back Elijah Mitchell on what he enjoyed most from the 2022 season:
"The brotherhood. Everybody in the room is always willing to go to work, that's one thing I enjoyed."
Mitchell on what made this season stand out:
"We had a good team last year, but this year was the year. What made it so special was the effort everybody gave on and off the field. You can see everybody, even on off days, everybody's in the building trying to get their body right. It was amazing."
Mitchell on how he's improved since his rookie year:
"Just seeing more and slowing the game down. From my rookie year to this year, the game is a lot slower to me, so that's what really helps me out."
Offensive lineman Jake Brendel on how San Francisco's offense handled adversity:
"Honestly, it couldn't have been handled better. It's obviously not something you go into the season wanting to happen, but I think the whole offensive staff did a great job of preparing those guys in the quarterback room to be ready when they were when they were called upon. Starting with Trey, going to Jimmy Garoppolo, then going to Brock, then going to Josh Johnson, then back to Brock, it's pretty wild to look back and see just a performance that came out of the offense regardless of the circumstances."
Brendel on winning the 49ers Bobb McKittrick Award:
"It caught me off guard a little bit. I go into every season hoping to make an impact in the room I'm in and I'm just very grateful that the guys around me thought that I was deserving of such an award. I know (former 49ers offensive lineman Laken Tomlinson) won it last year and Laken was a baller, he was a leader in that room. Just looking at what that award stands for and the type of guys that are on the wall out there, it's just an honor to be listed with those guys."
Left tackle Trent Williams on what he learned from the 2022 season:
"I wouldn't say learn, but I think it confirmed the talent that we have on the roster from top to bottom. The way that this team comes out and competes, the brand of ball that we play, we know that's conducive to winning. We know we're a resilient bunch, that we've been through a lot... We roll with the punches and we did what we could do. We ripped off 12 games in a row which is hard to do in this league. I'm super proud of this team and the season that we had. Unfortunately, we couldn't finish it the way we wanted to. When you look at it in this totality, we don't have anything to hang our head about."
Linebacker Fred Warner on Purdy being sad for the veterans on the team:
"He ain't got nothing to be sad about. He's the reason we even got to this game. When Jimmy Garoppolo went down against the Miami Dolphins, we didn't know what our season was going to be. He came in and did a heck of a job and he's the reason we're here right now."
Warner on how he's feeling after a loss in the NFC Championship Game:
"You want to remember things like this for later on. These types of things make you stronger and you learn a lot from them. There's so much time to move past it and get on to the next, but I think this is the time right now I want it still fresh, to sit in it and reflect. That's what I've been doing."
Warner on what his favorite moment from the 2022 season was:
"The Divisional Round against the Dallas Cowboys. Being at home against a historical rival for us, it was electric all the way through. I will always remember that game."
Defensive lineman Nick Bosa on winning the 49ers Len Eshmont Award:
"It means a lot especially when you sit in a room with all those guys on our team... The fact that I got chosen out of all the amazing people in that room, it definitely hits me pretty hard. It's awesome."
Bosa on his reflection of the 2022 season:
"It was an unbelievable season. I think we have a lot to be proud of and a lot to build on. I think there's going to be a lot of the same guys back, so that's exciting. It's obviously never the same group which is what makes the NFL tough, just gotta appreciate life and keep living."
Bosa on his biggest takeaway from the 2022 season:
"That you could really fight through anything that this league throws at you. You shouldn't give up at any point, no matter who you lose, no matter what ups and downs the season brings, you can get through it and have a successful year."
Defensive back Deommodore Lenoir on fan support throughout the season:
"I just want to just thank the Faithful for always being on my side, always coming to the games. That really affected most of our games with just the crowd and the energy helping us play great."
Linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair on his emotions closing out the 2022 season:
"It's been tough. A lot of reflecting, a lot of tears, a lot of laughs, every kind of emotion. You just don't want it to end... Definitely a lot of emotions, it's hard."
Al-Shaair on what made the 2022 season special:
"It's something special for real because we went through every possible way of winning a game. You could go in those 98 days and people would think it's like sunshine and rainbows, but when you watch the games, you watch how it went and that's just a true reflection of our team. The type of guys we have, the character and just how it's built from top to bottom, just the resilience of our team, it's so special."
Al-Shaair on the 49ers roster changing after free agency:
"Being here with these guys for the last four years, it's going to be hard obviously not having the same group next year – best in the world, for real, I remember Fred talked about it in the 2021 offseason. We started breaking it down and it's just been our motto since then. We put it on tape, we showed it and I'm proud of everything that we've been able to accomplish as a group and as a team as well."
Al-Shaair on the Faithful's support this season:
"For all four years I've been here, it's been something special. The Faithful, they roll deep anywhere we've ever been and they've always had our backs. I'm just grateful for that support, grateful for everything that the fans mean to us, because without them there is no us."