Robert Saleh is wearing the Mr. Popular sash right now.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Tuesday the Los Angeles Chargers have requested permission to interview the 49ers' defensive coordinator for their head-coaching vacancy. The Chargers are the fourth team to request a Saleh interview.
Saleh interviewed virtually for the Atlanta Falcons' on Monday, the team announced. ESPN's Josina Anderson reported Tuesday that the Detroit Lions will interview Saleh on Thursday as their potential next head coach. The Jacksonville Jaguars also have requested permission to meet with Saleh. All four are intriguing options, especially the Chargers.
The Chargers already have a star quarterback in Justin Herbert, who might be the favorite for Offensive Rookie of the Year after his record-breaking season. They already have a defensive star in Joey Bosa -- and Derwin James when healthy -- and own the No. 13 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Saleh, 41, was hired as the 49ers' defensive coordinator ahead of the 2017 season. He quickly made them one of the best units in the league, especially the last two seasons. The 49ers know just how big of a loss Saleh would be.
San Francisco's leader of its defense is almost guaranteed to be named a head coach this offseason. Unless something wild happens, the 49ers soon will be looking for a new defensive coordinator.