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Mack calls joining 49ers, reuniting with Shanahan 'enticing'

NBC Sports

Alex Mack, an NFL All-Decade center for the 2010s, faces an uncertain offseason as a 35-year-old free agent.

Mack played in Kyle Shanahan’s offenses for one season apiece with the Cleveland Browns (2014) and Atlanta Falcons (2016).

The 49ers could be in the market for a center, and that seems to be a possibility Mack would welcome.

“Kyle is an incredible coach,” Mack told NBC Sports on Friday. “He’s an incredible coach, great person, strong motivator and runs an offense that is something that I’d know really well and that I performed very well in.

“Yeah, that said, they (the 49ers) are a very enticing thing."

Mack participated in a Super Bowl-week interview to promote the Special Olympics and inclusive health.

Mack is a six-time Pro Bowl player and 12-year NFL veteran. He was a first-round draft pick of the Browns in 2009 after a stellar career at Cal.

Mack’s combination of size, athleticism and smarts make him an ideal fit for Shanahan’s zone-blocking scheme, which places a lot of strain on those who play the center position.

“You have to snap the ball and you have a guy who’s bigger and heavier than you who can just jet upfield,” Mack said. “So you have to create ways and use different schemes to try to get that block to happen and help it out.

“What Kyle has done very well in the past is he's always been able to link different plays and different schemes so they all look pretty much the same. But it takes advantage of the different things a defense will do. It’s a very smart offense, which is fun.”

 

The 49ers appear to be unsettled at the center position for the 2021 season.

Weston Richburg’s future in question due to knee and shoulder injuries. The 49ers would save nearly $4.5 million in cap space if they released Richburg, who appeared in only 28 games in three seasons after signing a lucrative contract in 2018.

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Daniel Brunskill started the first eight games at right guard before moving to center after Ben Garland was injured. Hroniss Grasu struggled and was benched to prompt the move to Brunskill.

Garland and Grasu are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents, while Brunskill is easily retained as an exclusive-rights free agent.

"We’ll see what teams are interested and what they have to offer and try to make a decision from there," Mack said.

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