Stevie Johnson was born in San Francisco in 1986, which was in the midst of the 49ers' remarkable run to five Super Bowl titles in 14 years.
Johnson played at Angelo Rodriguez High School in Fairfield, Calif., less than 100 miles from Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara. After two years at Chabot College in Hayward, Calif, he transferred to Kentucky and then became a seventh-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in 2008.
After six seasons, the Bills traded him to the 49ers for a conditional fourth-round pick in 2015.
"This was the home team," Johnson says. "As kids playing in the street, you always want to play for your home team. That's what it is right now."
Johnson is part of a receiving core that includes three-time Pro Bowler Anquan Boldin, two-time All-American Michael Crabtree and two-time Pro Bowl tight end Vernon Davis. On a broader level, Johnson joins a history that includes Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens. He is wearing the same jersey as those receivers he admired as a child.
"It seems like it's too good to be true," Johnson says. "What are the odds of playing for your home team? I never thought about this. I just wanted to be on the same level as those guys. Now, I'm playing for the home team."
Johnson played with Owens for a season in Buffalo during the twilight of the six-time Pro Bowler's career. Although Johnson says they did not talk much about the 49ers, Owens was a mentor in learning to play the wide receiver position. Johnson recorded three consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons from 2010-2012 after his one season under TO's tutelage.
In Buffalo, Johnson played for four different coaches and made zero playoff appearances. In San Francisco, the atmosphere is more stable, but the franchise's glorious history means high expectations.
"It's pretty obvious once you step into the facility and talk with Coach [Jim] Harbaugh and the guys in the locker room," Johnson says. "It's pretty obvious what it means to be a 49er and they've proven it three straight years. Now, we're trying to win that Lombardi."
In his first year on the team, Johnson is experiencing a heavy dose of Jim Harbaugh.
"He keeps you on your toes," Johnson says of his coach. "He definitely takes care of you as a player. He's intense. He is what you see on TV, but he's cooler when you see him on a daily basis."
Off the field, Johnson, the 49ers and the rest of the NFL have dealt with a series of concerns regarding domestic violence, drug use and other non-football-related affairs. In San Francisco specifically, the 49ers have been under the radar for allowing defensive tackle Ray McDonald to stay in the lineup while accused of domestic violence.
Johnson says he is focused on winning a Super Bowl championship in San Francisco and tries to keep his focus on the field.
"At the end of the day, it's our job," he says of being an NFL player. "Everything that's going on around it, it's not going to sweet. We know that. We just got to continue to work, whether you're involved in it or not involved with it. You just got to continue to work. Everyone's doing that around the league and we're doing it in San Francisco."
The 49ers' new stadium is known for being a technological marvel, so perhaps it is fitting that Johnson is a spokesman for mophie, a California company that builds smartphone accessories such as remote chargers. Johnson plans on distributing some to his fellow NFL players to help generate buzz.
-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.