The 49ers call this day one of the most depressing of the season. Tuesday was the day team members had to clean out their lockers.
Players packed up their personal belongings, exchanged autographs like a high school yearbook swap and said their goodbyes.
The Super Bowl loss on Sunday 34-31 to the Baltimore Raves only made it more difficult and more somber, especially for quarterback Colin Kapaernick.
He seems to be taking Sunday's defeat very personally. When asked how long that loss will stay with him: he said for "the rest of my life." Even though by all accounts he had a stunning season, getting beat is hard for Kaepernick, who said that he will always remember that in the Super Bowl, he was not "good enough."
Players at the Santa Clara training facility said they know they had a good team this year, but they didn't quite make their goal.
They said cleaning out their lockers was tough because it was like they were leaving family.
The 49ers held their last team meeting Tuesday morning. The coaches gave the following advice to their players for next season: Hit the ground running.
Some players are already planning on doing that, including the starting quarterback himself: Kaepernick said he'll be training in Atlanta.
He said he'll bring some of his receivers along with him. All of it is part of Kaepernick's quick evolution from backup to starter that will continue as he enters training camp as the unquestioned franchise star.
Coach Jim Harbaugh also held his final press conference of the season.
Among the long list of off-season issues is the future of quarterback Alex Smith. Smith is guaranteed $1 million from the 49ers, and that would become $8.5 million guaranteed his 2013 salary if he is still on the roster on April 1. San Francisco still could trade him after that day, with another team likely picking up his salary.
"Alex is a true professional, went through something tough, probably the toughest time in his career after coming off a successful season,'' fellow player Donte Whitner said. "I wish Alex the best. He was a great teammate, if this is his last time leaving. I know he'll go and use the situation this year and what he's been through to fuel him to go out there and get wins and push his team to the playoffs. I truly believe that, I truly believe there's something out there for Alex. I truly believe he can be a great quarterback in the National Football League. He showed it last year, and I wish him the best of luck.''
Wideout Randy Moss made his exit without a word Tuesday. He said last week ahead of the Super Bowl that he wants to play another season, but certainly wants more of a role than he had in San Francisco. He expressed that to Harbaugh.
"In a competitive way, yes, he wants to be involved,'' Harbaugh said. "We talked about it many times. It's all been positive.''
Several players were still hurting from Sunday's result. Running back Frank Gore insists he won't watch the game film ever.
"I don't want to watch it,'' he said. "It's over. It didn't come out our way. We didn't come out on top. I'm just sad. I'm down. But we still had a great year.''