At this point, it feels more like a matter of when, not if, 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh will become a head coach this offseason.
Saleh interviewed virtually for the Atlanta Falcons' head-coaching vacancy Monday, the team announced. ESPN's Josina Anderson reported Tuesday that Saleh is scheduled to interview for the Detroit Lions head coaching job this upcoming Thursday.
General manager John Lynch told reporters Monday that the Falcons, Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars had formally requested permission to speak to Saleh. It's clear the 41-year-old is a wanted man.
"I think Saleh will kill these interviews," Shanahan told reporters. "I think he’ll do a great job. But it’s just one person usually making these decisions in each place, so nothing’s ever guaranteed. So I wish him the best of luck in all this, and we’ll see how it goes."
This certainly isn't the first time the Lions have been connected to Saleh. A group of Michigan lawmakers sent a letter to Lions ownership in December urging them to hire the Michigan native. That's some strong, albeit wild, support.
Saleh would be a huge loss for the 49ers. In the end, however, Shanahan and Lynch will support Saleh in his hopes to be a head coach.