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Lynch, Shanahan talked weeks ago about working together

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By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

On Sunday night, the San Francisco 49ers made a surprising decision to name former National Football League player John Lynch as their next general manager. He replaces Trent Baalke.

This will be the first-time that Lynch will have a front office position following his playing career. He has received a six-year deal from the team.

“It was a couple weeks ago,” Lynch said. “Our crew broadcasted the SeattleAtlanta playoff game and somewhere in that week after, [Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator] Kyle [Shanahan] and I caught up as we often do after a game that I broadcast of his and [I] just told him how impressed I was and at that time, I [knew] that he was interviewing for a lot of jobs and we just started a conversation and at some point, I indicated to him that, ‘Hey, you know Kyle three or four years ago, I had conversations with the Denver Broncos about getting into management. In the recent months, I’ve had a couple situations that arose with perspective owners and I’ve say down wit them and kind of shared my philosophies.


John Lynch talking to a former Tampa Bay Buccaneers teammate (Getty Images)

“I think I’ve always managed to … [Pittsburgh Steelers] Mike Tomlin, who coached me, used to say be where you’re at. So, my focus was being the best broadcaster I could be, but there was a side of me that said, ‘You know, some day.’ [Broncos executive vice president of football operations/general manager] John Elway is one of my good friends and I watched him. I was living in Denver when he went through that process. He was kind of enough to invite me into the building for offseason meetings and such. That’s kind of been out there and I always said — I even said to my bosses at FOX — if the right situation arose that it would be something that I would have to consider. Like I said, Kyle and I were in a conversation, he seemed to get excited, at that point, he turned it over to Jed and [49ers chief strategy officer and executive vice president of football operations] Paraag [Marathe] and the rest moved fairly quickly.”

Following the Super Bowl this Sunday, Shanahan is expected to accept the 49ers head coaching job. He will also receive a six-year deal in his first head coaching gig.

The 37-year-old has been the Falcons offensive coordinator for the past two seasons. This season, he guided Matt Ryan to his first MVP season — which is expected to be announced on Saturday.

Prior to working with the Falcons, he was the Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator in 2014. He also was the Washington Redskins offensive coordinator from 2010 to 2013.

Then, under Gary Kubiak, he was the Houston Texans offensive coordinator in 2008 and 2009.

While Shanahan and Lynch have no prior experience in their new positions, the 49ers are expected to hire Mark Dominik, who was previously the general manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mike Shanahan, Kyle’s father, is also expected to take an advisory role with the team.

“I would say that I’m eager to earn their trust,” Lynch added. “I think the feelings that some might have there are neutral. I was thinking earlier [Monday], it wasn’t really conventional when I was playing up at Stanford. I went as a quarterback. I was off playing minor league baseball and [former Stanford University and 49ers head coach] Bill Walsh called me up because he had taken the job and I had moved over to safety and begged me to come back for my senior year because he thought I could become a Pro Bowl safety. I thought coach Walsh was crazy at the time, but he convinced me to do it. That wasn’t conventional. It wasn’t conventional when early in my career, I struggled to get on the field and here I am this weekend as a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and knocking on that door.

“So there’s a lot of things in my life that haven’t been conventional. I think I appreciate that Jed was willing to think outside the box and we just had a number of great conversations and you could feel the momentum building each time that we got together and finally, when we actually got together in person, it just felt right. We asked a lot of tough questions. We took ourselves through that exercise. I did because I had to make a decision in a real hurry. I didn’t need the job. I had a really good job at FOX that I was very happy with, but every time we got together, I could check another box and I presume Jed could check another box towards maybe this could become a reality, and it did. I would say, a long answer, but I would say, I understand that and I’m fully aware that myself, the team I put around me, we’re going to have to earn the respect and the only way you do that is through your actions and for us that’s showing it on the field. We’ve got a big task in front of us, but I can’t tell you how excited I am to attack it.”

The 49ers went 2-14 this past season. Both of the wins came against the Los Angeles Rams. In fact, their three wins in their last 20 games have come against the Rams.

San Francisco has the second overall pick. The team desperately needs a quarterback, as Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert are not the answer. Former North Carolina Tar Heels quarterback Mitch Trubisky is the best pro-ready quarterback available in the 2017 NFL Draft.

“I think the answer is there’s so much to attack,” he said. “There’s a lot going on and are we behind? Sure, we are because I just got here. I just accepted this job [Sunday night]. Can we overcome that? Absolutely, we can and we’re very fortunate that there’s really good people, some talented people that are from the staffs that preceded this one and they are doing a lot of really great work and I can’t wait to talk to those folks to tell them how much we appreciate that. I think though, the most important thing that I can do, I think, it’s really important that I articulate the vision that I have because I know from playing for guys like Bill Walsh and [former NFL head coach] Tony Dungy and [former NFL head coach] Jon Gruden and [former NFL head coach] Mike Shanahan, I think that’s the most important thing you can do is articulate, ‘Here’s who we want to be and here’s the type of people we are looking for if you want to be a part of this thing.’ I think that’s really critical.

“And then I would say hand-in-hand with that, first of all, we’ve got to evaluate what we have. I’ve got some commitments down in Houston, I’m in Houston right now taking care some of the commitments I had to FOX. I think it’s right that I honor those. Jed wanted me to honor those and so I’m doing that. But I can’t wait. I can’t get the film in front of me quick enough just to evaluate this roster. I know it because I follow football on a broad sense, but it just takes time and there’s no substitute for time and that’s what, I think, you first have to take inventory of what you have to see what we need and that’s with the Draft and free agency. It’s critical also to put together the staff that I’m going to be working with and a lot of those people are going to be in the building, we’re going to go out and aggressively pursue some of the people I have relationships with that I think are the best in the business. And so, we’re going to attack it very aggressively. Like I said, I just can’t want to get that process going and it’s already started in many respects.”

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