John Lynch

Report: Patriots owner Kraft forced Belichick to trade Garoppolo

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USATSI

Report: Patriots owner Kraft forced Belichick to trade Garoppolo

New England owner Robert Kraft demanded coach Bill Belichick trade quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in a meeting that lasted half the day, just two weeks before the NFL trade deadline, according to an explosive behind-the-scenes report from ESPN.

Garoppolo was scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. And Garoppolo and his agent, Don Yee, had repeatedly rejected Patriots offers to retain Garoppolo on a four-year contract extension worth “in the $17 million to $18 million range annually,” reported ESPN’s Seth Wickersham. The Patriots sent Garoppolo to the 49ers because Belichick believed Garoppolo would thrive under 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, according to the report.

The Patriots could not guarantee a time when Garoppolo would take over as the team’s starting quarterback. Quarterback Tom Brady, who turns 41 in August, has stated he expects to play until he’s 45 years old. He has a close relationship with Kraft.

Belichick was “furious and demoralized” that he was ordered to trade Garoppolo, according to the report, citing friends. On the morning of Oct. 30, he sent a text message to Shanahan asking him to call him back. Belichick asked for a second-round draft pick in exchange for Garoppolo.

General manager John Lynch and Shanahan have said it did not take the 49ers long to get on the same page and accept the trade. But the 49ers have been careful not to talk about the details of how the deal fell into place.

“I do want to thank the New England Patriots,” Lynch said on Oct. 31, shortly after Garoppolo arrived in Santa Clara. “I think it's refreshing to find people where you cannot belabor things. You bring something up and you come to a quick resolution and you don't grind people out. That's what we were able to do. So, I want to thank them, and I have a lot of respect for that organization.

“In talking with the Patriots, one of the things, we're not going to get into a ton of details.”

Even as late as Tuesday, Lynch was evasive when asked whether her has spoken to Belichick during Garoppolo’s run of success as a starter.

“We don’t talk about that,” Lynch said with a smile. “We’re onto the offseason.”

According to the report, Belichick has taken pride in the fact Garoppolo played well and led the 49ers to a 5-0 record as the starter. And Brady was described as the winner of the whole struggle, one Patriots staffer told ESPN, because the team’s new backup, former 49ers starter Brian Hoyer, is not a threat and the owner of the team sided with Brady and his plan to play for years to come.

The report states that Brady is “famously unhelpful” to the quarterbacks behind him on the depth chart, especially those he considers a threat. Garoppolo was a threat.

Garoppolo started the first two games of the 2016 season while Brady was serving a four-game suspension for his role in the scandal to deflate footballs below NFL requirements.

In the second game, Garoppolo sustained a shoulder injury and sought treatment at TB12 Sports Therapy Center, which is run by Alex Guerrero, Brady’s trainer and business partner.

But, according to the report, when Garoppolo showed up for his appointment, the doors were locked and none of the TB12 trainers he called answered their phones. Garoppolo went to the team’s athletic trainers instead. Guerrero denied to ESPN that he ever refused to see any player. But according to the report it was two weeks later that Garoppolo was treated at TB12, and that came only after a “high-ranking” member of the Patriots called to ask why Garoppolo had not been treated.

So why did Belichick deliver Garoppolo to the 49ers? Belichick admires Shanahan and his father, Mike Shanahan, the two-time Super Bowl-winning coach of the Denver Broncos.

At the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, just weeks after Shanahan played a role as the offensive coordinator in the Atlanta Falcons’ meltdown loss to the Patriots in the Super Bowl, he met “for hours” with Belichick to learn from the loss, according to the report.

It has previously been reported that the 49ers asked Belichick about the availability of Garoppolo in a trade as far back as during that time in February. At that point, Belichick told the 49ers that he was not interested in trading Garoppolo.

***

The Patriots issued the following statement on Friday morning. 

Future of 49ers rests in luck, preparation and result of the Patriots' past

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USATSI

Future of 49ers rests in luck, preparation and result of the Patriots' past

When the Jimmy Garoppolo story is finally told, and we clearly don’t know how it ends, we know how it will begin.
 
With palace intrigues.
 
The much-discussed Seth Wickersham piece in ESPN that explains the growing tensions within New England’s Trilateral Commission  guides us through a lot of the internecine resentments between Bob Kraft, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, and is a classic tale of men who have frankly gotten sick of each other exceeding their once clearly-drawn relationship limits. It’s an age-old story – power, intrigue, moves and countermoves, truths and deceptions, screwings and counterscrewings – you know, influential human beings being influential human beings.
 
And now we know why Garoppolo became a 49er at such a discounted price. He was a sword-and-shield set in New England, and his reward for laying low through all the fragmentation grenades was to be sent by Belichick to a place where both he and Belichick’s friends could be rewarded.
 
Now we don’t yet know how important Garoppolo will be to 49er history; the number of people already out over their skis on him would make for the largest snowball of human wreckage in alpine sports history. He could be the next Joe Montana, the next Steve Young, the next Alex Smith, or even the next Colin Kaepernick (non-political division), and only the events will provide the answer.
 
But he got here only because John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan kept up relationships with the normally aloof Belichick. After all, Belichick could have called anyone on any team, and he could have asked for much more than a lone second-round draft choice.
 
Before you start imagining that I am describing Lynch and Shanahan as merely lucky, well, I am. But luck is good, and luck comes with those who prepare to benefit from it. Luck is a great thing, and I highly recommend it to anyone.
 
But it is good to understand more fully that the future of the 49ers is in significant part the result of the past of the Patriots. Neither Kraft nor Belichick nor Brady are getting any younger, and all dynasties collapse beneath the weight of the baggage they take on.
 
For the moment then, Jimmy Garoppolo’s story is more about the cracks in the New England foundation rather than the cement in Santa Clara. The rest of it remains a matter for tomorrow.

Terrell Owens, 49ers GM Lynch among Hall of Fame finalists

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AP

Terrell Owens, 49ers GM Lynch among Hall of Fame finalists

Wide receivers Randy Moss and Terrell Owens, who rank Nos. 2 and 3 in all-time receiving touchdowns, are among the 15 modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

John Lynch, the 49ers' general manager, was also among the finalists. Lynch was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection at safety over the course of a 15-year career with Tampa Bay and Denver. He is a five-time finalist for the Hall of Fame and advanced to the final 10 last year.

The Hall of Fame announced the list of finalists who will be discussed by the 48-member selection committee on the day before Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis. Four to seven individuals will be inducted as the Class of 2018.

The list of finalists includes four players in their first years of eligibility: Moss, linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher, and guard Steve Hutchinson.

Former Dallas Cowboys cornerback Everson Walls was voted as a finalist for the first time in his 20th and final year of eligibility as a modern-era candidate.

Former 49ers running back Roger Craig did not advance to the round of finalists in his final year of eligibility. Craig made it into the top 15 of the voting in 2010 – the deepest he ever got in the process.

Craig, who also played for the Raiders and Minnesota Vikings, remains eligible for the Hall of Fame in future years as a seniors candidates.

This is the third year Owens has been a Hall of Fame finalist. In his first two years of eligibility, he did not receive enough votes to be included within the top 10 among the candidates.

Owens ranks behind only Jerry Rice in NFL history with 15,934 yards receiving. Moss and Owens are second and third behind Rice in receiving touchdowns with 156 and 153, respectively.

Owens spent his first eight NFL seasons with the 49ers before playing two seasons with Philadelphia, three seasons with Dallas, one year apiece in Buffalo and Cincinnati.

Moss played for six different teams with two stints with the Minnesota Vikings. He played two seasons (2005 and ’06) with the Oakland Raiders and he finished his career with the 49ers.

Here are the 2018 modern-era finalists with their positions, years and teams:
Tony Boselli, Tackle – 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars
Isaac Bruce, Wide Receiver – 1994-2007 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams, 2008-09 San Francisco 49ers
Brian Dawkins, Safety – 1996-2008 Philadelphia Eagles, 2009-2011 Denver Broncos
Alan Faneca, Guard – 1998-2007 Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008-09 New York Jets, 2010 Arizona Cardinals
Steve Hutchinson, Guard – 2001-05 Seattle Seahawks, 2006-2011 Minnesota Vikings, 2012 Tennessee Titans
Joe Jacoby, Tackle – 1981-1993 Washington Redskins
Edgerrin James, Running Back – 1999-2005 Indianapolis Colts, 2006-08 Arizona Cardinals, 2009 Seattle Seahawks
Ty Law, Cornerback – 1995-2004 New England Patriots, 2005, 2008 New York Jets, 2006-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2009 Denver Broncos
Ray Lewis, Linebacker – 1996-2012 Baltimore Ravens
John Lynch, Free Safety – 1993-2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2004-07 Denver Broncos
Kevin Mawae, Center – 1994-97 Seattle Seahawks, 1998-2005 New York Jets, 2006-09 Tennessee Titans
Randy Moss, Wide Receiver – 1998-2004, 2010 Minnesota Vikings, 2005-06 Oakland Raiders, 2007-2010 New England Patriots, 2010 Tennessee Titans, 2012 San Francisco 49ers
Terrell Owens, Wide Receiver – 1996-2003 San Francisco 49ers, 2004-05 Philadelphia Eagles, 2006-08 Dallas Cowboys, 2009 Buffalo Bills, 2010 Cincinnati Bengals
Brian Urlacher, Linebacker – 2000-2012 Chicago Bears
Everson Walls, Cornerback – 1981-89 Dallas Cowboys, 1990-92 New York Giants, 1992-93 Cleveland Browns

In addition, there are two senior finalists -- Houston Oilers linebacker Robert Brazile and Green Bay guard Jerry Kramer -- and one contributor finalist, long-time NFL executive Bobby Beathard.

Those individuals will be voted on separately and must receive at least 80-percent of the votes to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.