Before John Lynch looked to the future, he connected with the past.

Shortly after he became the 49ers general manager in January, Lynch reached out to what he termed the franchise’s “Mount Rushmore:” Players such as Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott and Steve Young.

His message: We want you to be a part of what we’re rebuilding.

I told them “we understand that you guys are great role models for us,” Lynch said Wednesday night at the 49ers’ “State of the Franchise” event. “You’re here. You’re part of our history. We understand we have to do it on our own and we’ve got to create it on our own. But we would sure like your example to be around this program and to be around our players.”

Lynch’s comments before about 1,000 season-ticket holders at the Santa Clara Convention Center came on a night in which the 49ers announced they will honor their five-Super-Bowl dynasty in several ways in 2017.

Most notably, they will reestablish what they had at Candlestick Park by recognizing the 26 players in their ring of honor. The players’ numbers will be displayed on the suite tower on the west side of Levi’s Stadium, which opened in 2014.

In addition, on Oct. 22, when they host the Cowboys, they will have “Dwight Clark Day” to recognize a ring-of-honor member who played the starring role in the most iconic play in franchise history — “The Catch” — against Dallas. Clark, 60, announced in March that he has Lou Gehrig’s disease, a terminal condition that affects control of muscles needed to move, speak, eat and breathe.

In addition to the ring of honor, the 49ers will also have signage recognizing Super Bowl wins, conference titles and division championships. Murals and other nods to the past will fill the concourse.

“We want that concourse to be a museum of all the great history of the San Francisco 49ers,” president Al Guido said.

The obvious question: What took so long?

The 49ers did build an impressive museum detailing their history inside Levi’s. But the stadium, often criticized for being sterile and corporate, hasn’t blended much outside acknowledgment of the glory days with its modern look.

For some alumni, Levi’s has been symbolic of a desire of CEO Jed York and his family to create a separate legacy. In January, Young said the change in ownership in 2000 marked a break from the past.

“When the split happened — when Eddie (DeBartolo) lost the team and Denise (DeBartolo York) got the team — there was tremendous acrimony between the parties,” Young said on KNBR. “And so the past — that 49er past — is gingerly embraced … They’re looking to win Super Bowls into the future.”

However, Lynch, who played for Bill Walsh at Stanford, and played against 49ers legends during his 15-year career, has aggressively embraced the past since he was hired. He raised the topic of the franchise’s history during his first interview with York and executive Paraag Marathe and said they responded with “passion.”

Since Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan were hired, the 49ers have created a mural that greets their players as they enter the locker room. The mural includes Young, Montana, Rice and Lott and has a quote from Shanahan (“It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it,”) that suggests hard works will help them recreate the success those players enjoyed.

On Wednesday night, Lynch was asked about why he felt it was important to recognize such players.

“Because they built this iconic organization that we all have an opportunity to be a part of,” Lynch said. “I park in the executive lot, but oftentimes I like to go to the front (lobby) because I like to walk by five Lombardi trophies every day. That inspires me. That motivates me. And those guys are responsible for that.”

Eric Branch is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @Eric_Branch

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