Mariucci: Lynch will not repeat mistakes of Millen

Mariucci: Lynch will not repeat mistakes of Millen

HOUSTON – Steve Mariucci has experience working as a head coach with a general manager who came straight from the broadcast booth after a lengthy playing career.

“Yes, I do,” Mariucci told CSNBayArea.com.

Mariucci knows why things went so poorly when Matt Millen took over as the Detroit Lions’ top football executive in 2001. And he also believes John Lynch has the temperament and self-awareness to avoid those mistakes in his role as 49ers general manager.

Two years into the job, Millen fired Marty Mornhinweg as head coach and hired Mariucci shortly after the 49ers were eliminated in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs.

Mariucci went 15-28 before Millen fired him after 12 games of their third season together.

Millen lasted seven seasons, during which time the team compiled a 31-81 record. Moreover, with a roster comprised mostly of players Millen acquired, the Lions went 0-16 the season after Millen was fired.

There are two major differences, as Mariucci sees it, in the comparison of Millen and Lynch, who is also coming directly from working as a TV analyst.

“Matt made all of the decisions,” Mariucci said. “John will listen.”

Lynch does not figure to make all of the decisions with the 49ers. It will likely be a collaborative effort with the 49ers under Lynch’s direction that will include much influence from presumptive coach Kyle Shanahan and newly hired vice president of player personnel Adam Peters.

“The only thing he doesn’t have is experience,” Mariucci said of Lynch. “But he’ll gain it as he goes. He’s one of those guys, if he doesn’t know something, he’ll ask. And he’s got a lot of friends in the business, and he’ll be a quick study.

“He’s a great worker. He will do whatever it takes. He’s one of those guys who won’t look at the clock. He’s going to say, ‘This needs to get done’ or ‘I need to learn this, and I’m going to leave no stones unturned.’ He’s got that in him. That’s why I believe in John Lynch.”

The 49ers announced the firings of coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke shortly after the conclusion of a 2-14 season, which included a franchise-worst 13-game losing streak.

Shanahan was involved in the process to hire Lynch as general manager on Sunday. Shanahan also took part in interviews last weekend with Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough and Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton while the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator had a break in his preparations to face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51.

“I don’t know Kyle as well as I know his dad,” Mariucci said of Shanahan. “But I know he’s good at what he does. He’s one of those guys who grinds and works. He’s been around it long enough to see how an organization should function.”

Lynch and Shanahan will both receive six-year contracts, sources told CSNBayArea.com. Shanahan will become the fourth 49ers coach in four seasons, following Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly, who both lasted only one year apiece.

“They’re giving them long-term contracts, which I think they need, because this is not a quick fix in San Francisco,” Mariucci said. “It’s going to be a gradual process. That’s what Chip Kelly understood it was going to be – a gradual process.

“They didn’t spend a lot of their $42 million in salary cap space, so they got to spend that and draft and acquire the right personnel. And that will happen over time.”

Terrell Owens selects former 49ers coach as his Hall of Fame presenter


Terrell Owens selects former 49ers coach as his Hall of Fame presenter

Terrell Owens has selected former 49ers special teams and wide receivers coach George Stewart as his presenter into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“He knew what to get out of me,” Owens told the Hall of Fame.

“He knows who I am. To know who Terrell Owens is, you have to spend some time with him. . . George Stewart became a father figure to me.”

Owens was elected into the Hall of Fame in February. He will enter the Hall of Fame in a class that also includes wide receiver Randy Moss, linebackers Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher and Robert Brazile, safety Brian Dawkins, guard Jerry Kramer, and contributor Bobby Beathard.

Owens played special teams under Stewart’s direction as a rookie after coming to the 49ers in 1996.

From 2000 to ’02, Stewart worked as the 49ers’ wide receivers coach. Owens was selected to three consecutive All-Pro teams and Pro Bowls during that time. Owens ranks No. 2 all time behind Jerry Rice with 15,934 receiving yards. He is third all-time with 153 receiving touchdowns.

Stewart is set to enter his 30th NFL season as an assistant coach and his second as special-teams coordinator of the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Class of 2018 will be enshrined inside Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday, Aug. 4.

Sherman makes his concern over Reid's free-agency status loud and clear


Sherman makes his concern over Reid's free-agency status loud and clear

Safety Eric Reid, who has 69 career starts and one Pro Bowl appearance in his five-year NFL career, remains available on the open market more than a week after the opening of free agency.

Reid has received no reported interest from NFL teams in what has been an unusually soft market for free-agent safeties. But, with Reid, there is another variable that could be playing a factor.

Reid was at the forefront of the social activism that has been a major storyline in the NFL since the beginning of the 2016 season. Reid and former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the playing of the national anthem in protest of racial inequality in America.

Reid has remained outspoken and has taken a knee as a way to “make people uncomfortable about the issues.” Reid has been clear his protest has nothing to do with the flag or the anthem.

“The anthem is just a vehicle to get us to have those conversations,” Reid told NBC Sports Bay Area last season. “It’s the platform we have. It’s the only time we have to get the eyeballs on us to do that. If we just did locker-room talks afterward, nobody would even know. Strategically, this is the only way we thought we could do it.”

Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman, who signed a three-year contract with the 49ers on March 10, had been the Seattle Seahawks’ player representative. He is a vice president of the NFL Players Association. Reid was the 49ers’ union representative.

Sherman said he is keeping a close eye on Reid’s situation.

“We are concerned, because he played at a high level for just about every year that he’s played in this league,” Sherman said on Tuesday. “He’s made enough plays to be signed with a team and to make his money. He deserves his money. Safeties make a certain amount. I would think he’s top-five, top-10 safeties in this league, so he deserves to be paid accordingly.

“So there is concern there, because you would think a player of his caliber and his quality would be picked up by now. I think great teams are still looking and people are still looking for players. I’m praying that he gets picked up. But if he doesn’t, then I think there will be a conversation with the league office and the union on potential league action.”

Kaepernick never got so much as an opportunity to compete for an NFL roster spot during training camp last season. Could Reid, 26, be heading for the same fate?

Reid addressed the issue last week on social media:

“The notion that I can be a great signing for your team for cheap, not because of my skill set but because I’ve protested systemic oppression, is ludicrous. If you think is, then your mindset is part of the problem too.”

The 49ers have not placed a priority on re-signing Reid. The club already has potential starting safeties Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert under contract for the upcoming season.

Reid, whom the 49ers traded up to select with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, has 10 career interceptions. He appeared to thrive last season in run support as a safety who played closer to the line of scrimmage.