Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, the presumptive coach of the 49ers, promised 100-percent focus on his current job.
Shanahan confirmed Thursday he expects to meet with 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe for a second time after the Falcons’ NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.
Shanahan interviewed with the 49ers on Jan. 5 in Atlanta. He is the last remaining available candidate among the six coach candidates with whom the 49ers met after firing Chip Kelly. The 49ers announced the firings of Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke after the team concluded a 2-14 season.
Shanahan met with the media three days before the conference championship wearing a gray shirt that read, “The only fight that matters is the one we are in.”
“You don’t have an option, so there’s nothing to get distracted about,” Shanahan said. “You can put this aside and totally focus on right here and right now. That’s not tough to do.
“This is an opportunity that I personally as a coach – I’ve wanted to win a playoff game my entire career and got to do that last week. Right now, that we have a chance to play for a Super Bowl, is pretty much what’s consuming my mind.”
The 49ers are prohibited from officially hiring Shanahan until the Falcons’ season is over. If Atlanta defeats the Packers on Sunday, the 49ers can still interview Shanahan next week and have him involved in the process to hire the team’s next general manager. But Shanahan could not be officially hired until following Super Bowl 51, which will take place Feb. 5 in Houston.
Shanahan admitted there is “some interest” but denied there’s been any spoken agreement he will become the 49ers’ next head coach.
“There’s a lot of stuff out there,” Shanahan said. “My friends growing up hear all that stuff. My wife hears that stuff. But everyone’s asking me what’s going on. I don’t know.
"I’m in my office looking at film all day and there’s nothing I’m allowed to do about it. So I think I’ll have an idea of that after the game. I don’t know what date that will be, whether it’s Monday or the following week, I’m not sure, and right now, I truly don’t care.”
The 49ers are expected to hire a general manager next week that will be matched with Shanahan. A source close to Shanahan told CSNBayArea.com that Shanahan is not insisting on full control over personnel and is fine working together with a general manager, on whom he would lean, to execute the plan with free agency, trades, the draft and determining the 53-man roster.
Green Bay director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst and Minnesota’s assistant general manager George Paton are expected to meet Tuesday with the 49ers and, possibly, Shanahan. The 49ers are keeping the door open on Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough. The 49ers informed a handful of candidates early this week they would not be brought back for second interviews. McDonough was not among those cut from contention.
Eliot Wolf, Green Bay’s director of football operations, pulled out of the running on Thursday. Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Wolf withdrew his name from consideration when it became apparent he would not get the job. The Packers increased Wolf’s salary and will give him a change in titles, according to the report.
If Shanahan and the 49ers determine Gutekunst is the man they want, Packers general manager Ted Thompson is expected to let him leave immediately even if Green Bay advances to the Super Bowl, the Journal Sentinel reported.
Two years ago, Paton and Falcons coach Dan Quinn, Shanahan's current boss, were reportedly connected as part of a possible general manager-coach team. Paton and Quinn know each other from their time together with the Miami Dolphins. Paton and Shanahan interviewed with the 49ers on the same day – both in Atlanta.
McDonough is a highly respected talent evaluator who was believed to have Shanahan at the top of his list all along for coaches with whom he wanted to work, according to sources.
The second interviews are reportedly scheduled for Tuesday in Atlanta, according to the report. The 49ers could have their next coach and general manager in place by the middle of next week – depending on the outcome of Sunday’s game.
“My situation outside of this week, I’m definitely excited about that,” Shanahan said.
“You’re only allowed to talk to teams when you do have a bye week. I got that opportunity a couple of weeks ago. Regardless of what happens in this game, win or lose, you can talk to them again when your season’s over or if you get another bye week. I know I think I’ll get that opportunity next week, whatever happens, and I plan on doing that.”