49ers

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.

Travis Scott, Colin Kaepernick reportedly spoke about Super Bowl halftime show

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AP

Travis Scott, Colin Kaepernick reportedly spoke about Super Bowl halftime show

Travis Scott ultimately agreed to perform at the Super Bowl LIII halftime show on Feb. 3, but he reportedly spoke with former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick beforehand.

The two "had at least one phone conversation" before Scott took the gig, Variety's Jem Aswad reported Tuesday. Although "the two did not necessarily agree, they emerged from the conversation with mutual respect and understanding," a source close to Scott told Aswad.

Scott's presence at the show was first reported last month, but not confirmed until he announced he and the NFL would donate $500,000 to Dream Corps, a nonprofit focused on social justice initiatives. That was not before Scott received intense criticism on social media and elsewhere, largely because of the NFL's treatment of Kaepernick.

Kaepernick sat, then kneeled, during the playing of the national anthem before games during the 2016 season to protest racial inequality and social injustice. He has not played in a professional football game since Jan. 1, 2017, and has remained unsigned by a team since officially opting out of his contract with the 49ers on March 3 that year. The 31-year-old ultimately filed a collusion grievance against the league, and his hearing reportedly is scheduled for early this year.

Rihanna reportedly turned down and cited Kaepernick's absence from the league, and Cardi B reportedly did the same. Jay-Z tried to convince Scott not to perform, and Scott himself would not until the NFL agreed to donate to Dream Corps, Aswad reported, citing sources. Neither Scott nor Kaepernick commented on Variety's report.

49ers' DeForest Buckner named Pro Bowl injury replacement for Fletcher Cox

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AP

49ers' DeForest Buckner named Pro Bowl injury replacement for Fletcher Cox

Move over, Mickey Mouse. DeForest Buckner is headed to Orlando. 

The 49ers defensive lineman will play in his first career Pro Bowl on Jan. 27, as the 24-year-old was named as an injury replacement for Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.

Buckner broke out in a big way in his third NFL season. The Oregon product finished 2018 with a career-high 12 sacks, tying for the 14th most in the league. He also had the second-most quarterback pressures at his position, according to Pro Football Focus. 

Named an alternate when the NFL announced Pro Bowl rosters in December, Buckner arguably was one of the biggest snubs from the main roster. After Tuesday's news, he won't need to worry about that for much longer.