The San Francisco 49ers returned to their original home on Wednesday afternoon. Kezar Stadium hosted the 49ers until 1970 when they moved to Candlestick Park. Thousands of the Faithful arrived to Kezar Stadium in Golden Gate Park and were greeted by a beautiful San Francisco summer day. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee made an appearance and was greeted with a mixture of cheers and boos.
The fans were having a good time seeing their players live in action. Kezar erupted when LB NaVorro Bowman, who was one of the last players to arrive on the field, ran out of the gladiatorial style tunnel by himself, donning his helmet ready to warm-up. The biggest applause during the practice came after Bradley Pinion had three huge punts that traveled around 70 yards that caused the players on the other side of the field to duck for cover when they realized the ball was in their area. One of his punts also caused the biggest groan when Bruce Ellington muffed it.
Unfortunately for the Faithful, the quarterbacks did not have a good day. Neither Blaine Gabbert or Colin Kaepernick performed well. Both were only able to complete underneath passes for most of the team drills. It was easy to see why the coaching staff is unable to name a starter. The defensive line looks like it has the potential to be very good. DeForest Buckner showed the fans the potential that he possesses and it entertained Kezar Stadium. In a matchup of Buckner and fellow rookie Joshua Garnett, Buckner ran through him in one drill and the very next snap, ran right past him. His former college teammate, Arik Armstead, was in attendance, but was held out of team drills. He participated in a few individual drills.
Overall, the atmosphere was great and it makes people wonder what took the 49ers so long to make their return to Kezar. Original season ticket holders at Kezar Stadium were highlighted by the 49ers near the conclusion of the practice. Kids were gathered and sent to the track near one of the sidelines to be near the action. And action they got when NaVorro Bowman missed out on a pick near the sideline and ran right to the railing where the kids were able to pat his helmet and pads. Chip Kelly had a very brief speech thanking the fans after practice and the final team huddle ended. It was a great day and hopefully the 49ers will make this a tradition.