ENGLEWOOD, Colo — Former head coach Mike Shanahan didn’t return to coaching because the elements weren't quite right but he believes all the pieces are in place for his son Kyle and the 49ers to be successful.
It was a homecoming of sorts for both Mike and Kyle Shanahan to return to Broncos headquarters during training camp. Mike spent several years in Denver as a position coach before finally becoming the head coach in 1995, where he remained for over a decade.
After his time with the Broncos, the Mike spent four seasons as head coach in Washington with Kyle as his offensive coordinator. After Mike was relieved of his duties at the end of 2013, he has not coached since. He did, however, reveal that there were options open to him at the time.
“Close, I was close,” Shanahan said. “One thing that has to happen is we all have to be on the same page. One thing you have to make sure of when you are a head football coach is that the owner, the GM and the quarterback are all on the same page.
“If it doesn’t happen, the chances of winning a Super Bowl aren’t very good. Anyway, if that situation happened, I was going to take it. If not… But anyway, I had a great conversation with John [Elway], as everybody knows, and it didn’t work out and sometimes it works out for the right reasons.”
On the other hand, Mike believes Kyle has an ideal scenario in Santa Clara.
“I think he’s in a great situation,” Mike said. “You have a chance to get a guy like John Lynch to be the general manager, being around the support staff that I’ve had a chance to talk to, besides Mr. York."
“Then you get a chance to make decisions on who you want as your coaching staff, who you want as players, bring in the right improvement through free agency. All you want to have is the opportunity to have success and Kyle is given that opportunity and I think people would say this team will get better.”
Mike has been spending time at 49ers practice since Kyle was named head coach. He also had a chance to break down film with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo while the quarterback was rehabbing from his ACL injury.
“A lot of people don’t understand when a quarterback gets hurt in the second or third game, and then you have surgery, and then you have your coach coaching and the quarterback’s getting ready for the game.
“I had a chance to sit down with Jimmy and maybe just talk about defenses for a couple of weeks, talking about terminology of defenses, blitz schemes, zone schemes, and go through the daily installation, or he can just sit back and relax and we can just talk football being part of that terminology system. Obviously knowing the installation schedule, it got a chance for him to relax and have some fun and at the same time, we could study football together.”
Kyle described what it meant to have his father out at practice and reminisced about their time together in Denver.
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“It’s pretty cool. I didn’t see him at all because I was pretty focused on practice. I heard he was doing a press conference in between it, that’s what these guys told me. No, I love having my dad out.
“He comes out to San Francisco, too, so that’s not that unusual to see him out there. But, this is my first time back here since my dad left, which is college for me. It’s good to see a lot of old people and really enjoyed our time here.”