Source: 'Good chance' 49ers GM post down to final two

Source: 'Good chance' 49ers GM post down to final two

The 49ers’ coaching search is down to one candidate.

And that candidate, Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, is scheduled to meet Saturday with two 49ers’ general manager candidates before he takes off for Super Bowl 51 the next day. The 49ers are prohibited from officially hiring Shanahan until after the Falcons' final game, Feb. 5.

A source close to the 49ers’ search said there is a “good chance,” the team will hire Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough or Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton.

But, the source told CSNBayArea.com, “It’s not a lock.”

On Jan. 2 while discussing the decision to fire coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke after the 49ers’ 2-14 season, CEO Jed York said he wanted to match a coach with a general manager from outside the organization to change the culture of the club.

York and Paraag Marathe, the 49ers’ chief strategy officer and executive vice president of football operations, interviewed nine candidates for the general manager post. Only McDonough and Paton remain from that original list. But others could be considered for the GM job if there's a question of chemistry with Shanahan.

Shanahan has never worked with McDonough or Paton. Moreover, Shanahan has minimal or no history with either man, according to sources.

McDonough and Mike Shanahan, Kyle’s father, have spoken often through the years. McDonough is believed to have told the 49ers his No. 1 choice for a coach with whom to be paired was Kyle Shanahan, based on his offensive mastery. McDonough played a role in building the Cardinals’ defense, which has ranked in the top five the past two seasons.

After going 13-3 in 2015, Arizona was one of just two NFL teams that ranked in the top 10 on offense and defense this season. Super Bowl-bound New England was the other.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn appears to be a common thread between Shanahan and Paton. There were reports two years ago Quinn and Paton were attempting to land together as a coach-GM package deal. Quinn and Paton worked together with the Miami Dolphins.

Paton, who has turned down GM interview requests from the New York Jets and Miami in recent years, is also a candidate for Indianapolis' opening, the Colts announced on Wednesday.

Paton has been situated mostly in the pro scouting side during his NFL career. He has worked closely with Vikings general manager Rick Spielman the past 10 years in Minnesota and previously in Chicago and Miami.

In the event Shanahan and the 49ers do not find a match in either McDonough or Paton, ESPN analyst Mark Dominik could become involved.

Dominik has been out of work since being fired as Tampa Bay’s general manager in 2013. The Buccaneers posted a 28-52 record in five seasons while Dominik was on the job. A source told CSNBayArea.com the 49ers have discussed Dominik, but no official interview has been scheduled.

Joe Montana: Dwight Clark appreciates all the support from former teammates


Joe Montana: Dwight Clark appreciates all the support from former teammates

More than 35 players from the 49ers’ first Super Bowl champion will be in attendance on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium to show support for Dwight Clark, who revealed in March he was diagnosed with ALS.

Clark, 60, will have ample opportunity to reconnect with some of his old friends on Saturday evening and again on Sunday. At halftime, Joe Montana, surrounded by most of the 49ers' 1981 team, will introduce Clark before a video tribute.

Clark is also expected to make some remarks while situated in a suite for the 49ers’ game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Montana and his wife, Jennifer, have remained in close contact with Clark and his wife, Kelly. The Clarks recently watched the Blue Angels in San Francisco with the Montanas during Fleet Week.

“He’s getting pretty inundated with everyone staying in touch with him at this point,” Montana said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

“It’s fun for him. At one point, he was telling his wife, Kelly, ‘This is what it’s all about. This is what I want and what I miss, seeing the guys.’ So any of the guys reaching out to him, he surely appreciates it.”

Montana said Clark has not lost his positive outlook or his sense of humor, as evidenced by some not-fit-for-print words he recently had about his wheelchair. Montana said there are always some good laughs and stories any time Clark gets together with his friends.

“That’s the fun part," Montana said. “You just try to get him to forget what’s there, and that you’re there for him whenever. I think the support is the biggest thing right now. In that stage of ALS, it's got to be getting tough, where all of a sudden, things are becoming more and more difficult.”

Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'


Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'

NEW YORK — The NFL is not changing its national anthem policy to require players to stand during the national anthem.

Commissioner Roger Goodell and several owners said Wednesday at the league’s fall meetings that altering the language from “should stand” to “must stand” was not discussed.

New York Giants owner John Mara noted that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones “spoke at length” to the other owners about the anthem issue. Jones has said any Dallas player who doesn’t stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” would not be playing.

Goodell reiterated that the league and its 32 clubs “believe everyone should stand for the national anthem. It’s an important part of our policy and the game. It’s important to honor our flag and our country and I think our fans expect that.”

Asked about any owners who threatened discipline for players who didn’t stand, Goodell said the owners didn’t discuss it.

“There was a fair amount of conversation and I think our clubs see it the same way. I can’t deal with hypotheticals,” Goodell said.

Reminded that President Donald Trump tweeted again Wednesday about the demonstrations during the anthem, Goodell said there was nothing unpatriotic about his league.

“Everyone feels strongly about our country and have pride,” he said, adding the NFL is “not afraid of tough conversations.

“What we are trying to stay out of is politics.”

Goodell noted that only six or seven players are still kneeling or are involved in protests.

“We hope we will continue to work to put that at zero,” he said.

On Tuesday, in an unprecedented move for a league meeting, a group of 11 owners and more than a dozen players met for more than two hours at NFL headquarters. Among the topics discussed was enhancing the players’ platforms for speaking out on social issues.

“I understand the way they feel about these issues,” Goodell said Wednesday. “We feel the same about patriotism and the flag and I believe our players feel that way. We have a great deal of support for the efforts of our players.”