The critics of the 49ers’ decision to hire John Lynch as general manager point to one failed instance of a player-turned-broadcaster becoming the top personnel executive.
The Detroit Lions compiled a 31-81 record in Matt Millen’s seven seasons as general manager until he was fired after the 2007 season. The following season with a roster that was left in disarray from Millen’s time with the organization, the Lions went 0-16.
Appearing Tuesday morning on 95.7 The Game, Lynch said he recently spoke to Millen about his experience.
“Matt Millen and I had a great conversation the other day,” Lynch said. “I found it was very interesting to talk to him. He shared with me some of the things that he would’ve done differently. I think you can learn a little bit from everything and everyone, but ultimately you go to put your head down and go to work.
“We’ve put together a really, really quality team that I’m excited about. We’re in full stride and working every day to knock down things on our list. It’s a big list, and we’re ambitious on how aggressive we want to attack that. But it’s going very well.”
Lynch hired Martin Mayhew as a senior personnel executive to serve as one of his top lieutenants. Mayhew became Lions general manager after Millen was fired. In Mayhew’s eight seasons, Detroit posted a 47-81 record.
The 49ers were also able to hire Adam Peters away from the Denver Broncos to take on the role as vice president of player personnel. Broncos general manager John Elway, another of Lynch’s invaluable resources, allowed Peters to get out of his contract to take on a larger role with the 49ers.
“John Elway was a guy I bounced things off,” Lynch said. “He’s been there. He’s a good friend. I watched him kind of go through this in his own way. He is someone I’ve consulted with. You learn at a certain point that stops, because all of a sudden we’re competing with each other.”
Lynch also mentioned Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy as a person with whom he has spoken during his transition from the broadcast booth, where he spent the previous eight years, to an NFL executive role.