HOUSTON – Presumptive 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is not at all concerned about the team’s top football executive entering a situation with no previous personnel experience.
Shanahan, speaking Monday night at media night, said he is confident the Stanford-educated Lynch will figure out how to be a successful NFL general manager.
“I get that it’s new to him,” said Shanahan, the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator. “But if I’m going to bet on anybody, I’m going to bet on John Lynch. He’ll have to learn some stuff as he goes, just like we all do, but you’re going for the person. John Lynch has succeeded in everything, and that excites me about him.
“The people who know him know how special of a guy the 49ers got.”
Shanahan took part in the final interviews for the 49ers’ general manager position on Friday and Saturday in Atlanta with CEO Jed York and Paraag Marathe, the organiation’s chief strategy officer.
He met with Lynch and the two other known finalists, Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough and Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton.
“I believe any time you have a smart guy who’s very talented and has extremely high character and has no problem working extremely hard; I feel when you have a person like that who has all those qualities, and you give him the time, it’s a matter of time before he figures it all out," Shanahan said. "And John, as anybody who met him, he’s as impressive as a human being as there is. He’s succeeded in anything he’s done.”
Lynch was a nine-time Pro Bowl safety with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos during his 15-year career. He is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Class of 2017 will be announced on Saturday.
In addition to playing the final four years of his career with the Broncos under coach Mike Shanahan, Kyle’s father, Lynch has also continued his relationship with Kyle Shanahan as an NFL television analyst on FOX for the past eight years.
The dialogue about Lynch possibly joining Shanahan with the 49ers began after Lynch called the Falcons’ NFC divisional-round playoff game two weeks ago against the Seattle Seahawks.
“Somewhere in that week after, Kyle and I caught up as we often do after a game that I broadcast of his and just told him how impressed I was and at that time I know that he was interviewing for a lot of jobs and we just started a conversation,” Lynch said.
Lynch said he held conversations with the Denver Broncos about joining the organization in a management position in recent years, so he had always thought it was a career path he could take in the future. Broncos general manager John Elway is the model for a former star player becoming successful in NFL management, Lynch said.
“John Elway is one of my good friends and I watched him,” Lynch said. “I was living in Denver when he went through that process. He was kind enough to invite me into the building for offseason meetings and such. That’s kind of been out there and I always said, I even said to my bosses at FOX, if the right situation arose that it would be something that I would have to consider.
“Kyle and I were in a conversation. He seemed to get excited. At that point he turned it over to Jed and Paraag and the rest moved fairly quickly.”
Lynch was hired on Sunday. On Tuesday, he hired his top target to join him in player personnel. The 49ers hired former Broncos scout Adam Peters as vice president of player personnel, a source told CSNBayArea.com.
The 49ers are not allowed to officially hire Shanahan until after the Falcons wrap up the season Sunday against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51.
“John, I think, has been interested in it for a while, just talking to him,” Shanahan said. “John is a guy that I’ve developed a relationship with over the years. He’s a guy that lives and dies football. He’s a very smart guy, who I think, really wanted to get back into it, where he could compete on Sunday and there’s actually a winner and a loser at the end of the game.
"(We) just had some talks together and got him in. He did a great job this weekend, along with the two other guys, too. Obviously, they decided to go with John, so I’m excited.”