LAS VEGAS — Peace and quiet spoke in the 49ers' locker room after a 25-22 overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII.
There is no music, very little movement and no dialogue. The usual post-game ritual is for the players to take off their pads and wait for a shower.
In the back of the locker room where the security was located, Fred Warner sat in a chair, facing his locker, legs straight in front of him, eyes locked, his body completely motionless.
It's a stark contrast to his usual process of pouring over the stats playbook, reviewing the numbers and preparing for his postgame press conference. No one interrupted Warner's trance-like posture or invaded his personal space.
Across from Warner, Nick Bosa, Chase Young, Javon Kinlaw and Javon Hargrave sat away from their lockers and undressed. The cleats tossed to the side, barely resting their bare feet on the carpet, realized they needed to give themselves a moment to catch their breath before going any further.
“I was speechless,” Bosa said after the game. “I couldn't look anyone in the eye, especially my teammates. I could have done more. Everyone could have done more. And not much to say at this point. It's going to hurt, it's going to hit the waves, but that's life.
It was a roller coaster of a game with several lead changes, as well as the devastating loss of linebacker Trey Greenlaw to a torn Achilles in the first half. The linebacker wore a walker and used crutches to support himself in the locker room after the game.
As Greenlaw slowly made his way toward the exits, his teammates quietly made eye contact, nodded or gently placed a hand on his shoulder as he passed, all willing their defensive tone to play well enough to win. Organizer.
They all know many will return to the 49ers locker room to begin the 2024 season. It's the end of a chapter, and for some it could mean the end of their NFL journey.
“I think we all said we wanted to be together tonight,” Bosa said. “Crowds change every year, so you're never going to be with the same group. We wanted to do it for Dre, we wanted to do it for all the guys in the lineup. I hope we hang around in a quiet place tonight.
The players weren't the only ones who felt the magnitude of the moment. The coaches and staff sat motionless in their assigned lockers, unwilling to admit that the season had indeed come to its unfortunate end.
As the locker room was closed to the media for the evening, coach Kyle Shanahan's family sat on a bench near the exits, children still tearful and sad, not even noticing Christian McCaffrey walk by.
“It hurts,” McCaffrey said after taking the media stage. “It hurts deeply. It's something you dream about as a kid and you've worked for it all year and come up short. I think you have to go through all the emotions, but get back to normal every day.
“I don't know how long it will take. It's still fresh and still absorbing.