York: New 49ers GM Lynch 'equipped with tremendous insight'

York: New 49ers GM Lynch 'equipped with tremendous insight'

John Lynch was a leader on the field during his 15-year NFL career.

And 49ers CEO Jed York -- as well as presumptive head coach Kyle Shanahan -- are hoping he can exhibit the same characteristics as an NFL general manager.

The 49ers on Sunday night announced Lynch, 45, was hired as the team's general manager, replacing Trent Baalke, whose firing was announced at the conclusion of a 2-14 season. Lynch's appointment was a surprise, as the 49ers had publicly narrowed their choices to Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton and Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough.

Shanahan, the Atlanta Falcons' offensive coordinator, was involved in the hiring process. Shanahan on Sunday traveled with his team to Houston, site of Super Bowl 51, where the Falcons will face the New England Patriots on Sunday. The 49ers are expected to finalize the hiring of Shanahan after the game.

"During his 15 seasons as an NFL player, John epitomized what is so special about the game of football,” York said Monday in a statement. “A world-class competitor, his love and respect for the sport are unmatched, and you would be hard-pressed to find anyone in league circles who does not have great respect for his work ethic and passion. Having already helped lead a team to a Super Bowl title as a player, John is equipped with tremendous insight into what it takes to create a culture that breeds sustained success.

"Having spent the last eight seasons as an analyst with FOX, he has honed his skills as a talented communicator while also developing valuable relationships around the league and a vast knowledge of the NFL that will be beneficial to our team. As we learned more and more about John, it became apparent that he was not only one of the best to ever play this game but also a Hall of Fame caliber man, one who people are compelled to follow.”

Lynch, who was selected to nine Pro Bowls during his career with Tampa Bay and Denver, is one of 15 modern-day finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which will be announced Saturday in Houston. He was a captain on the Buccaneers' Super Bowl XXXVII championship team, a 48-21 winner of the the Raiders in January 2003.

Lynch spent the past eight seasons as an NFL television analyst on FOX broadcasts. On Jan. 14, he called the Falcons' victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC divisional round and spoke highly of Shanahan, the coach with whom he will be matched.

After playing 11 seasons with the Buccaneers, Lynch finished his career with four seasons on Mike Shanahan's Denver Broncos. Lynch entered the NFL as a third-round draft pick in 1993 from Stanford.

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.