49ers GM John Lynch at Senior Bowl, looking to build talent

MOBILE, Ala. -- San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch could have been preparing for his Super Bowl trip, but instead he was grinding on the Senior Bowl circuit this week.

The team's mindset is clear: Celebrating is not an option heading into the Feb. 2 matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs.

"We haven't done a whole lot yet," Lynch said from a Senior Bowl practice in Mobile, Alabama. "We've earned a really cool opportunity and we want to see it through."

That means enjoying the chance to win the franchise's sixth Super Bowl -- which would tie the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots for the most -- while keeping the foundation of the team strong for future years.

"That's why you're in Mobile the week before the Super Bowl," Lynch said. "It's a big decision, do you leave back home? Because there are a lot of details to get wrapped up. But you've got to constantly be better and trying to better your organization. This is a valuable opportunity to do that."

The 49ers broke through in Year 3 of the Lynch-Kyle Shanahan regime, earning the NFC's top seed with a 13-3 regular-season record and defeating the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers in the playoffs by a margin of 64-30.

But Lynch cites the struggles of the first two seasons as a catalyst. The 49ers were feeling good about themselves until "we get humbled a little bit" by the 4-12 campaign in 2018.

The team added No. 2 overall pick Nick Bosa to an already stout defensive line, created the game's best rushing attack and watched players such as tight end George Kittle rise to stardom.

"A lot of guys gained a lot of valuable experience," Lynch said about the losing. "We knew we gained the right type of guys, we knew the talent was growing. We had to add more finishers, more explosive players and also depth. Then it's all up to the players."

The 49ers signed Shanahan and Lynch to six-year deals despite the pair's minimal connection beyond Lynch having played for Kyle's father, Mike Shanahan, in Denver.

Now, the franchise hopes the duo's synergy remains intact for a long time.

"Our vision was to come in here and get this place back," Lynch said. "How long that was going to take, we didn't know. But we were going to put our head down and work every day to try to improve our organization. That was our mindset. And we tried to bring in guys who have that same mindset."