HOUSTON -- Cris Carter, a former NFL on FOX colleague of new 49ers general manager John Lynch, has seen this whole scene play out in the past.
And it does not have a great ending, he said.
The 49ers on Sunday night made the surprising hire of Lynch as general manager after he spent 15 seasons in the NFL as a nine-time Pro Bowl safety and the past eight years in the broadcast booth.
Count Carter among the skeptics that such a move can be successful.
“Matt Millen was seven seasons in Detroit, all right?” Carter told CSNBayArea.com on Tuesday. “That’s the model we’re going off of. Matt Millen was doing TV, was great on TV, was the No. 1 announcer besides John Madden. And he decides to take over the Detroit Lions.
“He spent seven seasons there. They never had a winning season. And they also went 0-16. So that is the John Lynch model. OK? So you can try to make up all kind of stuff. They’ve looked at film. This is unprecedented.”
The Lions went 31-81 in Millen’s seven seasons as general manager until he was fired after the 2007 season. Left with Millen’s abysmal roster, the Lions went 0-16 in 2008.
Carter said Lynch’s ability to work together with presumptive coach Kyle Shanahan is the least of the organization’s concerns. Lynch wasted no time in making a move to add a top lieutenant -- former New England and Denver scout Adam Peters, who was named vice president of player personnel.
“John’s a worker,” Carter said. “John will mesh. John can get along with anyone who’s a worker. He’s going to lay the hammer down. He’s going to put a great support system around him. But, I mean, this has been done a couple times. And a couple times it’s failed.”
As a new member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in February 2013, Carter recalled watching the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII against the Baltimore Ravens. He reflected on how quickly the 49ers have fallen with a roster that turned to dust under the leadership of general manager Trent Baalke.
Baalke and coach Chip Kelly were fired after the 49ers went 2-14, including a franchise-worst 13-game losing streak.
“That team and that organization, from February 2013 – just four years ago -- they are a million miles away from that spot right there,” Carter said.
“So, you ask me, did they get back closer to that spot? I know they tell you in the media, ‘I don’t know’ is not an answer. But, man, in this situation, I don’t know."