Why 49ers' Mike McGlinchey can't wait to face Falcons QB Matt Ryan

Why 49ers' Mike McGlinchey can't wait to face Falcons QB Matt Ryan

Mike McGlinchey probably felt as if he had no other choice but to play quarterback.

After all, it was the family way. And he had a terrific role model in his first cousin, Matt Ryan.

In 2008, McGlinchey attended the NFL draft along with his family at Radio City Music Hall in New York. Ryan was the No. 3 overall pick of the Atlanta Falcons. And Matt’s older brother, Michael, said something that got McGlinchey to start thinking about shifting his focus.

“He knew I had that little pipe dream of playing quarterback,” McGlinchey said on The 49ers Insider Podcast of cousin Michael. “We met Jake Long, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the draft that year. He said, ‘If you do what you need to do, in 10 years, you’re going to look like that.’

“My cousin called the right shot. I put my hand in the dirt, and it worked out from there.”

Ten years later, the 49ers selected McGlinchey with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2018 draft after he started 39 games and was a team captain at Notre Dame. McGlinchey has appeared in 25 games with the 49ers, all as the team’s starting right tackle.

On Sunday, for the first time, McGlinchey, 24, and Ryan, 34, will be playing in the same game when the Falcons visit Levi’s Stadium.

McGlinchey will be hosting a lot of the family, who will come to Santa Clara for what amounts to a family reunion. He comes from a football family that has produced more than a handful of college athletes, including four Division I players. McGlinchey is the only non-quarterback of the group.

“I’m excited for my family to come out and see everybody and hopefully get some bragging rights,” McGlinchey said.

McGlinchey did not always play offensive tackle. At William Penn Charter in Philadelphia, where Ryan also attended high school, McGlinchey did a little bit of everything, including playing tight end.

After Ryan already was in the NFL, during the annual family summer stay in North Wildwood, New Jersey, McGlinchey ran routes and caught passes from his famous cousin at Bill Henfey Park.

“I was his tight end for the day because I was in high school at the time,” McGlinchey said. “He was sailing balls over my head and I asked him what he was doing. And he was like, ‘That’s where Julio (Jones) goes up and gets it.’ And I said, ‘Well, OK, that’s not me.’”

McGlinchey credits Matt Ryan for setting the standard he would try to attain for himself. He watched him closely -- on and off the field -- when the family would attend Ryan’s games at Boston College.

“Matt helped me out, whether he knew he was or not,” McGlinchey said, “and it was by me being a little kid and watching him from afar, and adopting the way he talked to his teammates, the way you see him compete, the way you see him have fun on the field. That’s who I wanted to be. It turned out I was the offensive lineman instead of the quarterback, but I try to be that in my own way now that I’m a pro, as well.”

McGlinchey carries himself in a manner that impressed 49ers general manager John Lynch before the 2018 draft. Lynch later said that McGlinchey was one of the three most impressive prospects he interviewed that year. The others were safety Derwin James and running back Sony Michel.

Last week in Florida while the 49ers were preparing to face the New Orleans Saints, veteran left tackle Joe Staley referred to McGlinchey as “president” in front of a group of reporters. McGlinchey carries himself in a stately manner.

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“I think it’s because of Matt,” McGlinchey said. “If you hear Matt talk, and you hear the way he talks to people and approaches people, I don’t know if there’s anybody better. He’s been that way for as long as I’ve been watching him. I can recall that kind of stuff happening and him interacting with people -- coaches, him and his dad talking to coaches, talking to fans -- when we were up at BC. I was in fourth or fifth grade at the time, and that stuck with me.

“Matt’s a hell of a leader. He’s a hell of a competitor ... I’ve always tried to emulate him from the time I was 9 years old watching him at BC”

Hall of Fame semifinalist Bryant Young loves watching 49ers this season


Hall of Fame semifinalist Bryant Young loves watching 49ers this season

Bryant Young left a lasting impact on the 49ers as one of the best players to ever wear the uniform.

There has never been an individual who earned more respect from his teammates, as exemplified by the eight times he was chosen as the winner of the 49ers’ top honor, the Len Eshmont Award for courageous and inspirational play.

Young last week was announced as a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the first time, making it to the final 25 modern-era candidates for the Class of 2020.

Upon his retirement and being carried off the field on the shoulders of his teammates at the conclusion of the 2007 season, Young’s uniform No. 97 was not worn by another 49ers player for a decade.

Now, No. 97 is back making an impact, and Young is excited to see rookie defensive end Nick Bosa wearing the number with distinction.

“It’s kind of weird seeing it flash across the screen,” Young said on The 49ers Insider Podcast. “But I tell you what, he’s representing that number really well and doing a good job in his first year. I’m proud of the job he’s doing with that number.”

Young is the 49ers' all-time sacks leader with 89.5. Bosa has eight sacks in his first NFL season with four games remaining on the regular-season schedule.

But Young was never about numbers, and that perspective is part of what made him special -- on and off the field.

“It’s not the number that makes the person, it’s the person that makes the number,” Young said. “To be able to wear that number for so many years, I hope people remember the person more than they remember the number, and the person and what he did in the community. The person, in terms of how he treated people in the organization and the community.

"And, then, the person as a player.”

Young coached for several seasons after his retirement as a player. He stepped away from his position as defensive line coach of the Atlanta Falcons in the offseason to spend more time with family in Charlotte, N.C.

He still follows the only NFL organization for which he played. And, of course, he pays particularly close attention to the play of the 49ers’ defensive line.

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“You see things, the chemistry that they have, they understand situational football, and guys are competing from snap to whistle, and that’s really fun to see,” Young said.

“From a fan perspective, it’s really fun to see the Niners are doing a really good job and everybody’s engaged, and it’s fun. And you feel that excitement in the air. They’re fun to watch. You understand from a coach’s standpoint, they have a good group of guys that have been assimilated on that field that really care about each other and play for each other.”

How 49ers, Packers' offseason moves were 'win-win' for LaFleur brothers

How 49ers, Packers' offseason moves were 'win-win' for LaFleur brothers

SANTA CLARA -- Either way, Mike LaFleur would have a significant role this week and Sunday night when the 49ers face the Green Bay Packers in a key game for positioning in the NFC playoffs.

LaFleur says he is happy with how everything worked out for himself and his brother, Matt LaFleur, the Packers’ first-year head coach.

Shortly after Matt LaFleur was tabbed as the surprise pick to coach the Packers, he reached out to the 49ers to hire his brother.

Mike LaFleur, 32, would have been a non-play-calling coordinator with the Packers. He has held a similar position with the 49ers since immediately following the 2017 season when he was promoted to passing game coordinator.

But 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan turned down the Packers’ request because Mike LaFleur would not have been in line for a promotion. Shanahan did not want to lose a valuable resource who remained under contract to the 49ers.

“It was cool -- honestly,” Mike LaFleur said on The 49ers Insider Podcast. “I have so much respect for Kyle. I love being here. I love working here. I love living in this area. It was really a non-story for me.

“Obviously, it just kind of blew up. Matt put the request in there, and I understand he trusts me and he wanted me obviously to go to Green Bay with him. But he got a great coordinator in Nate Hackett. And I got to stay here. It’s a win-win for everybody. It’s awesome.”

The 49ers (9-1) face the Packers (8-2) on Sunday night at Levi’s Stadium in a game rich with longtime football connections and friendships.

The Packers’ head coach and 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh became close friends in 2004 when they served as unpaid graduate assistant coaches at Central Michigan University. When Saleh ended up with the Houston Texans several years later and the Texans were looking for an entry level offensive coach, he recommended Matt LaFleur.

The offensive coordinator of that team was Kyle Shanahan.

Matt LaFleur subsequently became a trusted Shanahan assistant at Washington. When the coaching staff was fired following the 2013 season, LaFleur became offensive coordinator at Notre Dame.

Shanahan reached out to Matt LaFleur to see if his younger brother, Mike, would be interested in joining his staff with the Cleveland Browns as a quality control coach. Matt LaFleur immediately accepted the job on his brother’s behalf. Mike LaFleur was the offensive coordinator at Davidson at the time.

“It was a Sunday night and my wife was sleeping, and I got a call from Matt and he said, ‘Hey, you’re going to Cleveland,’ “ Mike LaFleur said.

The next day, Mike LaFleur drove to Cleveland. One year later, he made the move with Kyle Shanahan to the Atlanta Falcons. Mike and Matt LaFleur served two seasons together on the Falcons’ staff for before Matt went to the Los Angeles Rams in 2017 with Sean McVay. Mike followed Shanahan to the 49ers.

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“He’s always looked after me more than he’s looked out for himself,” Mike said of his older brother. “And I like to think that I’d do the same for him.

“Obviously, this week, we both have a job to do the whole week and on Sunday for our organizations we work for. I love him, and I know he feels the same, and he’s always had my back.”