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Justin Smith: John Lynch called to ask if Solomon Thomas could wear No. 94

It’s hard not to get excited about the culture change in Santa Clara.

Back in May, the San Francisco 49ers rookies decided on uniform numbers, and the biggest surprise might have been Solomon Thomas electing to wear No. 94. That number was worn by Justin Smith for a long time, and he was a legend for the 49ers while wearing that number.

Thomas chose No. 94 in part because of DeMarcus Ware, with whom he worked out a bit this offseason. However, general manager John Lynch understood the history of No. 94 with the 49ers. Smith was on KNBR Tuesday afternoon (audio), and he said that Lynch called him to make sure it was alright for Thomas to wear Smith’s number.

“I talked to him one time I believe. He was calling about the new guy wearing my number, and I was like ‘hey that’s what they’re there for, to be worn.’ So that’s no problem with me. That was it, but for him to reach out and talk to me. I mean he played forever. I was around when he was playing and he was the man. He laid the hammer down. Just a good, respectful guy. He knows how to treat people in football because he played, but he also knows what to expect. I’m sure they’re having as tough as a camp as they can have under him.”

As we’ve said ad nauseam, we don’t know how the product will look when it hits field, but thus far, the new regime is doing just about everything right. They have shown respect for the franchise’s history, both long and recent. They have seemingly treated players with respect in how they handle decisions, whether it be discussing trade rumors or figuring out uniform numbers. They will have their mistakes and get tripped up from time to time, but for now, it’s hard not to be optimistic about the direction of the organization.