Jed York gives himself more power in coach, GM hirings

Jed York gives himself more power in coach, GM hirings

SANTA CLARA – After employing two consecutive one-and-done head coaches, 49ers CEO Jed York is taking a greater role in hiring the team’s next coach and general manager.

Just three weeks ago, 49ers co-chair John York was forced to refute a report he and Denise DeBartolo York were going to strip power away from their son. In fact, it appears to be just the opposite.

In the past, it was general manager Trent Baalke’s decision on whom to hire as head coach. York was involved in the process, but the ultimate call belonged to Baalke, who was responsible for hiring Jim Harbaugh, Jim Tomsula over Adam Gase and Chip Kelly.

“Ultimately, the decision will rest with me,” York said on Monday. “I will look at people inside the building and continue to consult people outside of the building -- folks that I trust, folks that are very well respected. But our system and our structure is going to be a head coach and a general manager and ultimately that decision will rest with me.”

Jed York and Paraag Marathe, the team’s chief strategy officer and executive vice president of football operations, have already started the search for a coach and general manager.

“Paraag will be with me in the interviews,” York said. “We’ve certainly done research together and will be moving forward.”

The 49ers have an interview scheduled for coaching candidate Kyle Shanahan, Atlanta’s offensive coordinator, for Friday, a source told CSNBayArea.com. New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Anthony Lynn, who concluded the season as Buffalo’s interim head coach, are expected to interview this week, too.

Green Bay personnel executives Eliot Wolf and Brian Gutekunst are lined up to interview for the general manager position this week, a source confirmed.

York said he is considering no inside candidates, including assistant general manager Tom Gable, for the position.

“Tom is a very loyal employee,” York said. “I think he’s one of the unsung heroes in sort of the scouting world and the professional world in the NFL. I have a ton of respect for Tom Gamble. But I think it’s time that we have two new people at the helm from the general manager and the head coach perspective.”

The 49ers have not looked outside the organization to fill the coach and general manager positions since 2005. Jed York joined the 49ers organization that year while his father still ran the day-to-day operations. Jed York sat in on interviews during the process that concluded with the hiring of coach Mike Nolan.

The 49ers have parted ways with three head coaches in three years. Now, the general manager is out the door. York sloughed off a suggestion that he should lose his job, too.

"I own this football team," York said. "You don’t dismiss owners.

"I’m sorry, but that’s the fact. And I’m going to do everything that I can to get this right. This isn’t about a business and running an operation to make money. We’re making sure that we’re doing everything that we can to reestablish this culture."

Frank Gore returns home for his 14th NFL season


Frank Gore returns home for his 14th NFL season

Frank Gore is returning home to, in all likelihood, finish his professional football career.

Gore, 34, signed a one-year contract to enter his 14th NFL season with his hometown Miami Dolphins, the team announced Friday.

Gore grew up in Coconut Grove, Florida, and attended Coral Gables High School before playing collegiately at the University of Miami.

He played the first 10 NFL seasons with the 49ers and is the franchise’s all-time leading rusher. Gore ranks fifth in NFL history with 14,026 rushing yards – just 75 yards behind No. 4 Curtis Martin.

After rushing for 11,073 yards and 64 touchdowns with the 49ers, the club declined to offer him a multi-year contract following the 2014 season. Gore played the past three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts.

Gore remains one of the most popular players in 49ers history. When asked recently if he would be willing to “retire” as a member of the 49ers after his final game, Gore reacted enthusiastically about the possibility.

1, Emmitt Smith 18,355
2, Walter Payton 16,726
3, Barry Sanders 15,269
4, Curtis Martin 14,101
5, Frank Gore 14,026

49ers increase competition for starting guard positions


49ers increase competition for starting guard positions

The 49ers are the fifth team to give Jonathan Cooper a chance after he arrived in the NFL as the No. 7 overall pick of the Arizona Cardinals in the 2013 draft.

Cooper, 28, caught the attention of the 49ers with his career-high 13 starts last season with the Dallas Cowboys. The 49ers signed him to a one-year, $4.95 million contract this week.

“We signed him to compete for one of the guard spots as a starter,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said Thursday at Stanford's pro day. “He played very well in our minds for Dallas last year and kind of resurrected his career. He’s battled injuries, but we really like the way he played, and we think he’s a very good fit for what we do. So we were pleased to add him.”

The 49ers plan to take it slowly this offseason with Cooper, who underwent surgery after tearing the medial-collateral ligament in his left knee during the final game of the season. The 49ers report for the offseason program in mid-April.

The 49ers are certain to have at least two new starters on the offensive line. Former New York Giants center Weston Richburg was signed to replace Daniel Kilgore, who was subsequently traded to the Miami Dolphins. Brandon Fusco, who started 16 games at right guard, signed with the Atlanta Falcons as an unrestricted free agent.

Laken Tomlinson has a chance to hold onto a starting job. Acquired shortly before the start of the regular season in a trade from the Detroit Lions, Tomlinson quickly moved into the starting lineup at left guard and started the final 15 games. Tomlinson was a first-round draft pick of the Lions in 2015.

“Laken played very well the longer he was there,” Lynch said. “I think people forget with Laken, he came here in Week 1. He was kind of force-fed. We didn’t have many options. But we saw a guy get better throughout the season. He’ll get his opportunity.”

Joshua Garnett, a first-round pick of the 49ers in 2016, spent last season on injured reserve due to an a knee injury sustained in training camp. The 49ers challenged Garnett to get in better physical condition. He has been cleared for football activity.

“Joshua Garnett has been working extremely hard, so he’ll be in that mix,” Lynch said. “He did a great job embracing the time he has last year to improve as a player. He remade his body and we're looking forward to see him get after it in the offseason.

“I think he’s excited about it. He’s feeling sexy, as he says.”

Erik Magnuson, 24, won a spot on the 49ers’ roster after signing as an undrafted rookie from Michigan. Magnuson could enter into the competition at guard. He displayed unique versatility in his first season, starting two games at right tackle before sustaining a season-ending foot injury. He can also serve as a backup center.

And, perhaps, the 49ers are not finished adding to the competition. The team owns the No. 9 overall selection, and Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson could be on the radar in the unlikely event he is not selected within the top eight picks.

When asked if the 49ers could also add another player to the mix with a draft pick, Lynch answered, “We’ll see. We’re always looking to get better there.”