It is nearly impossible for the players not to take notice. After all, they walk past it several times a day.
“It’s one of the first things you see every day you walk in,” 49ers defensive lineman DeForest Buckner said. “I’m not going to lie. I look at it all the time. Sometimes I picture my face on the wall. It’s very motivating to see.”
It is called the 10-year wall.
A framed 8x10 photo of every player in 49ers history who served 10 or more seasons with the organization appears in the hallway at Levi's Stadium that players pass by as they go from the parking lot to the locker room. They pass it again any time they walk to the practice field, weight room or cafeteria.
The subject of the 10-year wall was discussed this week in reference to Joe Staley, whose photo went up two years ago. Staley has completed 12 NFL seasons, all with the 49ers, and now is under contract for three more years.
When Buckner learned this week Staley agreed to a two-year contract extension, did he think about his own future?
“Most definitely,” he said. “You know me. I love this organization. I’m very happy this organization chose me back in 2016. There’s no other organization I’d rather be at and play for.”
Buckner, whom the 49ers selected with the No. 7 overall draft pick, has completed three seasons. He was a breakout star last year, notching a team-best 12 sacks and earning his first trip to the Pro Bowl. For the first time this offseason, he is eligible for a contract extension. But those talks have not gotten far.
Buckner is under contract for two more seasons – the final year of his original four-year, $18.2 million contract, as well as the non-guaranteed 2020 fifth-year option at more than $12.5 million. Buckner said he believes great things are ahead for the organization under the leadership of coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch.
“This organization is special,” Buckner said. “Obviously, they’ve done it in the past. We’re taking steps forward to do it in the future. Kyle and John and the type of culture that they’ve brought in with them, and the guys they wanted and the guys they chose to be here, we’re all on board, and I’m very excited with where everything is going.”
The 49ers wrap up their offseason program next week with two days of mandatory minicamp practices in Santa Clara. Those workouts will look similar to the voluntary organized team activities, as every player under contract has been in attendance.
Buckner said his concentration continues to be on football matters and not his contract situation.
“That’s something that’s my agent’s job,” Buckner said. “That’s something they have to talk over with Paraag (Marathe) and John, Jed (York) and Kyle. Right now, I’m focused on playing ball and doing whatever I can do to help to contribute to getting a Super Bowl.”