En route to order a carry-out cup of coffee, the former 49ers linebacker and now a member of the Niners’ executive team received congratulatory comments from the coffee-sippers lined up along the wall for the San Francisco team’s 28-24 win over the Atlanta Falcons that got them into the Super Bowl.
“And are you going to the Super Bowl?” one asked.
“Yes, you bet I am,” Keena responded.
When he heads for New Orleans next week, it will be Keena’s first visit to a Super Bowl directly involving the 49ers in an official capacity since he was a player.
The Tracy resident and active community supporter has four championship rings to show for the four Super Bowls — 1982, 1985, 1989 and 1990 — he took part in as a 49ers linebacker. All were won by the Niners. He was already retired when the Niners won their fifth Super Bowl in 1995.
This year, he will go as the 49ers’ vice president for football affairs. In the post, which he has held since 2008, Keena maintains close contact with any number of present and former 49ers players, providing guidance and support during and after their NFL experience.
Keena works closely with Guy McIntyre, the 49ers alumni relations director, to handle the 49ers’ alumni efforts. Contact with former Niners took a giant leap after Sunday’s victory in Atlanta.
“It’s really been hectic around here,” Keena said later by phone about activity at 49ers headquarters in Santa Clara. “A lot of preparations are going on before most of the crew heads to New Orleans.”
He said a number of former 49ers players will be at New Orleans, and he’s looking forward to seeing them, mentioning Bryant Young, Jesse Sapolu and Dwight Clark by name.
As Super Bowl week is about to begin, the former all-pro outside linebacker is upbeat about the 49ers’ chances.
The front office and coaching staff have done an outstanding job of putting together the team, he said.
“We’re a very solid football team, both on offense and defense,” Keena said. “They’ve worked hard to get this far, so they should be ready.”
Mark the date: After receiving positive feedback from those interested in reviving the Tracy Sports Hall of Fame, we have scheduled a meeting for 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 28, at the Tracy Press, 145 W. 10th St.
Anyone interested in taking part in bringing the hall back to life is encouraged to attend. And we’re talking about a wide range of sports at many different levels.
Jobs for our town
The official announcement that Amazon is bringing a fulfillment center to Tracy this year has indeed stirred some excitement in the ol’ tank town.
While the statements from Amazon.com Inc., the city of Tracy and Prologis Inc. confirmed what Mayor Brent Ives told the Press in November, they added a new focus and a sense of immediacy to the huge development.
The prospect of some 1,000 jobs involved in the project off Grant Line Road northeast of town and the expected sales-tax revenue for the city’s treasury are the big pluses for Tracy.
How many of those jobs will be filled by Tracyites? That is a question often asked.
No one knows, as the job culture that has been established in recent decades is a regional one, with many workers driving anywhere up to 50 miles or farther to their jobs.
And while obviously the number is unknown at this juncture, there will be Tracyites working at the new facility, which is being designed to enable Amazon to ship items for next-day, or even possibly same-day, delivery.
A good sign about Tracy employment prospects is that the first job fair for Amazon will be held here within the next several months.
• Sam Matthews, Tracy Press publisher emeritus, can be reached at 830-4234 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.