Dre Greenlaw hasn't even been coached by Robert Saleh for two full seasons yet. That's all the young linebacker needed to know the 49ers' defensive coordinator will be a great head coach if given the opportunity one day.
"Just his passion," Greenlaw said Wednesday on 95.7 The Game's "Damon, Ratto & Kolsky" show. "I mean his love for the game -- he loves the game of football. You can tell just by the way he studies, the way that he prepares. Just his relationship with us, really. Just building relationships with each and every person, that's what people love to play for -- a coach that really cares about his players and appreciates that players are putting in the work.
"I think that's a great quality that he already has that's gonna make him an even better head coach."
Saleh, 41, is seen as a top candidate for teams looking to hire a new head coach this offseason. Michigan legislators even sent a letter to Detroit Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp to hire Saleh as their next head coach after firing Matt Patricia. The Lions certainly won't be the only team interested in hiring Saleh this offseason, too.
Kyle Shanahan and Co. of course hope Saleh stays in Santa Clara for 2021 and beyond. But the 49ers wouldn't be empty-handed if he's hired away. Saleh's parents are Lebanese American and the NFL last month passed a rule that rewards teams that developed minority coaches. The 49ers would receive a third-round draft pick in each of the next two NFL drafts.
If a team hires Saleh as their head coach, his players know that team is getting a great leader. On the other side, the 49ers will have to hope they can find a gem in the third round next year as compensation.