Lynch's work takes mind away from Hall of Fame angst

Lynch's work takes mind away from Hall of Fame angst

HOUSTON – John Lynch has been in this same position on three previous occasions, but this year it feels a lot different.

He has not been consumed this week with thinking about his chances of making it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

No, something else has occupied his mind for several days.

But all it took was the sight of 71 men wearing the gold jackets they earned through their distinguished NFL careers to make him realize how his life could change on Saturday afternoon. Lynch is among the 15 modern-day finalists that will be discussed by the 48-member selection committe on Saturday. A maximum of five former players from the modern era will be selected for induction into the Hall of Fame.

Lynch, who was hired as 49ers general manager on Sunday, is back in Houston to take part in a reception Thursday night and a luncheon on Friday. He said he had to excuse himself on several occasions to take work-related calls.

“This is my fourth year of being a finalist,” Lynch told CSNBayArea.com on Friday amid the Super Bowl activities in downtown Houston. “In past years, as this draws near, it’s very different because it’s absolutely out of your control. There’s nothing you can do. That’s unusual. So there is some angst, particularly when the weekend comes.

“But until I went to the reception last night and was around all the guys, I hadn’t thought of it once.”

Lynch made it into the top-10 last year before the final cut was made to the five individuals who were selected into the Hall of Fame.

Lynch, who earned nine trips to the Pro Bowl in 15 NFL seasons as a hard-hitting safety with Tampa Bay and Denver, has been trying to touch base with candidates for presumptive coach Kyle Shanahan’s staff.

CEO Jed York is not allowed to officially hire Shanahan, the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator, until after the season concludes with Super Bowl 51 against the New England Patriots on Sunday.

“Because our head coach, we’re not able to name him yet, I’ve been handling a lot of that -- interviewing coaches, just getting our list, here’s what we’re going to do first,” Lynch said. “It’s been non-stop.

“Next week could be a fun week, in terms of a lot of movement.”

Lynch has already strengthened the organization, he believes, with the addition of Adam Peters to serve as 49ers vice president of player personnel. Peters previous worked in the scouting departments of Denver and New England.

“Getting Adam Peters was a huge hire for me, because he’s someone I know and trust and value, as do many people in this league,” Lynch said. “So that was a great head start.”

Lynch developed a strong rapport with Peters when Lynch took part in Broncos meetings and prospect evaluations, which included a trip to the NFL scouting combine, prior to the 2013 draft.

“That month, month-and-a-half, I actually sat next to Adam every day,” Lynch said. “Those are long meetings. I’d listen to him and we’d talk in between about players. I just saw way back then, he’s a guy who’s highly respected in the league. I firmly believe in two, three years, he would’ve been a GM. He was on that track, at least.”

Broncos general manager John Elway has also assigned Lynch special projects in recent offseasons, such as evaluating the draft-eligible safeties. Still, Lynch is fully aware he will face a stiff learning curve.

“Watching John (Elway) and John talking to me, he’s told me, ‘You can do this; you know football,’” Lynch said. “That’s what I told Jed from the beginning. ‘Look, there will be a lot of things I’m learning.’ But what I do know football, I know people and I know how to lead. And the rest I’ll learn.”

Editor’s note: Matt Maiocco is a first-year member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Selectors.

Colin Kaepernick 'Icon' jersey offers NBA stars another way to show solidarity

Colin Kaepernick 'Icon' jersey offers NBA stars another way to show solidarity

Recently, some prominent NBA stars have come out in support of former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, displaying their solidarity in different manners.

The Warriors' Kevin Durant, for instance, donned a black No. 7 jersey to and from a recent game at Oracle Arena, bearing the phrase "#IMWITHKAP" on the chest.

Steph Curry, wearing the same attire, recently posed for a photo with his son Canon.

The Lakers' LeBron James wore a nearly identical jersey getting off the plane when he and Los Angeles made the trip to Oracle to face Golden State earlier this month.

James took his support of Kaepernick a step further when he was asked about Kaepernick's reported settlement with the NFL at All-Star Weekend in Charlotte.

[RELATED: NFL compensating Colin Kaepernick for not playing football]

If Durant, Curry and James -- or anyone else for that matter -- like the black-and-white look, and want to show further solidarity for Kaepernick, well, they're in luck.

On Wednesday, Nike announced the release of a limited-edition Colin Kaepernick 'Icon' jersey -- the same one James wore as a tease getting off the plane in Oakland. As Kaepernick explained in a tweet, the jersey is dedicated to "those true to themselves on and off the field. Proudly, unapologetically and against all odds."

"We believe Colin Kaepernick is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward,” a Nike spokesperson told The Undefeated. “The jersey marks Nike’s continued product collaboration with Colin."

The NFL logo is notably absent from the jersey, which should not come as a surprise given Kaepernick's recent litigation with the league. 20 percent of all proceeds from the sale of the jerseys will go to the Know Your Rights Camp he founded, which raises awareness for youth "on higher education, self-empowerment and instruction on how to properly interact with law enforcement in various scenarios."

So, if you're in the market for a new black-and-white look, or simply want to show more support for Kaepernick, there are certainly worse ways you could spend your money.

49ers receiver Trent Taylor excited to learn from new coach Wes Welker


49ers receiver Trent Taylor excited to learn from new coach Wes Welker

As a short, slot receiver, Trent Taylor has been compared to All-Pro wideout Wes Welker for his entire life.

Now, Taylor will have the chance to learn from Welker directly, after the 37-year-old reportedly will become one of the newest members of 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan's staff.

Taylor didn’t hold back when asked what his thoughts were when he first heard about Welker heading to the Bay Area.

“I thought it was freakin’ sick,” Taylor told NBC Sports Bay Area. “He’s been a baller in the NFL for 10 plus years and it’s always just cool having a guy like that coaching you. A guy with that type of experience and the guy people have compared me to my whole life.”

With only an inch difference in height between the two -- Taylor is 5'8", Welker is 5'9" -- Taylor is more than ready to learn from Welker. Tips from the receiver who led the league in receptions in three different seasons and racked up over 1,000 yards five times will be very valuable.

Even more than Welker’s physicality, Taylor believes his mental approach to the game is even more powerful.

“It’s going to be a cool opportunity to be able to work with him and hear what he has to say to me, what kind of advice he has, and I just know he has that ‘dog mentality’ that you want in a football player," Taylor said. 

“It’s cool to have that in the coaching position, and it will be cool to see the way that he coaches us and the fire that he brings into work every day. I think it’s going to be great.”

While Taylor knows what his new coach is capable of, he can’t wait be in the same room with the five-time Pro Bowler to watch Welker’s own game film.

“I haven’t been able to just sit down and break down his film,” Taylor said. “But I feel like we will have the opportunity to do that. I’ll probably press that subject pretty hard. I feel like he’s going to try to be humble about it but we need to see his film. That’s for sure.”

Welker’s level of productivity is the gold standard for a slot receiver, and that’s the goal for Taylor and the rest of the receivers room. Taylor understands its immense value.

“I think it will be good to be able to ‘learn’ somebody who played the same type of position with the same body type,” Taylor said. “You don’t run into to many guys like that in the NFL. So it will be an interesting perspective to hear from.”

Welker reportedly will be joined by former Cowboys wideout Miles Austin in the receivers room, who was hired as an offensive quality control coach. Taylor appreciates that both coaches are not that far removed from the game, which helps them be even more relatable.

“Two guys who played a long time in the NFL, and haven’t been out of the league for that many years,” Taylor said. “They’re still pretty fresh in it. It’ll be great. I think it’s going to work out great."

[RELATED: Why 49ers can't miss out on Brown or Beckham Jr. this year]

Taylor, however remains inspired by Welker's mental toughness and looks to get everything possible out of his new coach.

"I think he always wanted it more than the guy across from him," Taylor said. "And that’s what made him so great. that’s what makes anybody great. Just having that 'want to' and that fire that you’re never going to stop. That you’re not going to give up."