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Kyle Shanahan gives 49ers locker room new look to help boost chemistry

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The arrival of Kyle Shanahan as head coach and John Lynch as general manager has come with a massive rebuild of the San Francisco 49ers' roster. In fact, of the 90 players on the team's current roster, 50 of them have been brought in since Shanahan and Lynch arrived in January.

But the makeover at Levi's Stadium has extended well beyond the composition of the roster.

As part of the process of instilling the culture Lynch and Shanahan seek and embracing the long and storied history of one of the NFL's most accomplished franchises, there have been a number of changes made to the team's locker room.

Most noticeable is the drastically altered locker assignments. Whereas players used to be assigned lockers by position group, now players of every group are sitting next to one another. It might seem like no big deal, but Shanahan views it as an important way for his team to build chemistry from the first player to the 90th.

"I want our team to be close and I don't want just groups to be close," Shanahan said. "You're with your group enough in your position meetings and usually, all day. Each position group's broken up and that gets real tight and then the sides of the ball are broken up. So I think the more you can mix up the locker room and you can have a running back next to a D-Lineman or a corner next to a center, I just think it mixes it up. It forces you to get a little bit out of your comfort zone and I think in the long run it makes your team a little closer."

In addition to the locker shuffle, Shanahan and Lynch have added a few more tweaks to the room. In the small hallway players enter and exit from, there's now a painted mural featuring franchise legends Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Patrick Willis, Roger Craig and Steve Young with the words "It won't be easy, but it will be worth it" underneath it.

Inside the locker room, Shanahan and Lynch's team rules can be found on the walls.

Those rules: 1. Protect the team. 2. No complaining, no excuses. 3. Be on time.

Of course, none of these changes are revolutionary or will directly result in victories. But for a new regime, it's always important to make sure every player knows what's expected of him. It's part of building the culture that goes with rebuilding a roster.