49ers GM Lynch speaks with Harbaugh about Michigan prospects

49ers GM Lynch speaks with Harbaugh about Michigan prospects

PHOENIX – John Lynch’s draft preparation as a first-year NFL general manager prompted him to make a phone call Monday to Jim Harbaugh.

“I talked to an old 49ers coach yesterday,” Lynch said at the NFL owners meetings. “He was great. He has a lot of players who are draftable. (He) gave me a lot of great information, and it was entertaining, as it always is with Jim.

“He just said, ‘Fired up for you, man,’ then we started talking about his players. He had to go to a meeting and I had to go to a meeting, so it was quick.”

Before Lynch could quiz Harbaugh about some of the Wolverines’ draft-eligible prospects, Harbaugh had a brief chance to catch up with his brother, John, the Baltimore Ravens head coach.

“It was fun because right when we called, his brother was right there,” Lynch said.

“So John came over and before I could get on the phone, John and Jim were talking. I said, ‘Hey, you’re cutting into my time, give me the phone.’ We had a good time.”

Michigan’s top prospects are safety Jabrill Peppers, who won the Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most-versatile player, and edge rusher Taco Charlton.

Lynch said he does not ask “lazy questions” of any college coach about his former players. Instead, he’s looking at specifics, such as what position a player is better suited to play at the NFL level.

Harbaugh, who was let go after the 49ers' 8-8 season of 2014, enters his third season at his alma mater after two seasons with 10-3 records.

2019 Senior Bowl: Why players loved Kyle Shanahan's expletive-filled speech


2019 Senior Bowl: Why players loved Kyle Shanahan's expletive-filled speech

MOBILE, Ala., — 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan delivered a fiery, expletive-filled post practice speech at the Senior Bowl on Tuesday. It may have caused the sound to get cut off of the NFL Network broadcast, but it went over well with the young players on the South team. 

Shanahan was obviously not informed that the sound from the huddle would be broadcast live. Regardless of the censoring implications, several players explained how Shanahan’s attitude has been a motivating factor for them at practice. 

“Coach Shanahan, from the moment he first spoke with us,” LSU tight end Foster Moreau said, “has been awesome. You can kind of tell he carries himself with this passion, this burning fire he has going. He just loves football and he said it was a great practice.” 

Moreau continued by saying that Shanahan was impressed with the players, especially for their first day. The practice concluded without any botched snaps or missed assignments, which was great for everyone learning a new system. 

Though he's known for working with the offense more, Shanahan even had the defense pumped with his speech.

“It gets me fired up,” Mississippi State safety Jonathan Abram said. “For me, I don’t need rah-rah speeches, I’m kind of self motivated, but when you see a coach out there, he’s got passion, he loves what he’s doing, he’s glad to be here.

“It’s more exciting than anything because he didn’t have to come here. He took the time out of his day, his week. He took time away from his team to be here, so I’m just appreciative of that.” 

Alabama State offensive lineman Tytus Howard said he thought the speech came from more of a disciplinary direction. 

“He’s just being real,” Howard said. “Had a couple guys who were late to meetings and stuff, doing stuff they weren’t supposed to be doing. That’s coaching. He’s a great coach, it was a great message to the team, great message that will help motivate us today.” 

Shanahan’s speech caught Utah State tight end Dax Raymond off guard, but for a good reason. 

“It was awesome,” Raymond said. “I kind of had to sit back for a second and take it in and say ‘This is an NFL coach right now, giving me a post-practice speech.’ It was a moment to remember for sure.” 

As far as the expletives go, Raymond said it didn’t phase him one bit. 

“It’s a pretty common thing in the football world," Raymond said. “You kind of just get used to them, or numb to it, so it didn’t really affect me much.” 

Raymond is very aware of how the 49ers used Pro-Bowl tight end George Kittle in 2018 and is taking advantage of the opportunity to learn how to add those elements to his game. 

“I’ve loved every second,” Raymond said. “I’m trying to suck in as much information as I can while I have them here.” 

49ers inform veteran Earl Mitchell they will not pick up contract option


49ers inform veteran Earl Mitchell they will not pick up contract option

MOBILE, Ala. – The 49ers on Wednesday informed one of their most-respected veteran players he will not return on his current contract.

The 49ers will not pick up the option that would have paid veteran nose tackle Earl Mitchell $3.7 million in salary and bonuses for the upcoming season. 

“Earl’s been a fantastic asset to this entire organization with all the things he’s done,” 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said before the South team's practice at the Senior Bowl. “It’s an opportunity for other guys to try to step up. It will not be easy to try to replace him, for sure.”

Mitchell was declared inactive down the stretch of the season as the 49ers moved second-year player D.J. Jones into a starting role. Mitchell will be free to sign with any club at the beginning of free agency. The 49ers are keeping the door open for his return at a lower price.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said one day earlier that he has been up front with Mitchell and wide receiver Pierre Garçon about their futures with the team. Garçon is scheduled to earn $6 million in 2019 and is not expected to return to the club, either.

Garçon went on injured reserve this season with a knee injury. He caught just 24 passes for 286 yards in eight games this season.

“Told them both when we know anything that’s for sure, we would tell them,” Shanahan said. “But it’s stuff that’s hard to know for sure. I’ve talked to them about the reality of the business. We have see how our roster is like and how our salary cap plays out. We’re not there yet with our whole plan.

“I think we’ll have the results sooner than later.”

The 49ers are continuing to have talks with some of their scheduled free agents, but Shanahan said he does not believe any contract extension is imminent.

“There are a few guys we’re talking about,” Shanahan said.

Kicker Robbie Gould, defensive back Jimmie Ward, guard Mike Person and punter Bradley Pinion are the team’s top free agents. The 49ers hold sole negotiating rights with their scheduled free agents until March 11, when teams are allowed to negotiate with free agents from other teams.

One guy Shanahan is not discussing, however, is disgruntled Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown. Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice is publcly trying to facilitate a connection between Brown and the 49ers. But there are no signs the 49ers are interested in making a trade for Brown, who turns 31 in July.

Shanahan, of course, is not allowed to comment on Brown, who remains under contract to the Steelrs. The NFL trade window opens on March 13, and Brown does not appear to have a future in Pittsburgh.

“It’s my easiest response there is,” Shanahan said. “I’m not allowed to talk about someone who’s under contract.”

Shanahan said, however, that the 49ers will “always explore everything.”