MIAMI, Fla. -- The 49ers could lose a key, behind-the-scenes piece of their top-ranked pass defense after Super Bowl LIV.
Joe Woods, 49, who serves as defensive backs coach/passing game coordinator, is reportedly the top candidate to become the Cleveland Browns’ defensive coordinator under first-year coach Kevin Stefanski.
The 49ers reportedly are trying to retain Woods, but it will not be easy. Woods clearly had his eye on a coordinator job in 2020 when he signed a one-year contract to replace Jeff Hafley last year.
“I just think at this point in my career, after being a coordinator in Denver, I felt as a position coach, I feel like I’ve been around the league long enough, I felt my reputation was good enough, that if I signed a one-year deal and it didn’t work out, I’d be able to find employment," Woods said Wednesday.
"I was basically betting on myself.”
Woods contract expires after the 49ers face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV on Sunday.
General manager John Lynch said everyone is focused on Sunday’s game, not what the future holds for Woods or anyone else.
“Joe is an excellent football coach, so if some opportunities come his way, they come his way,” Lynch said. “But Joe is fully focused on this task.”
Woods said he has not engaged in any contract talks with any team.
“I’ve been showing up to work, doing my job and I’m just concerned with getting through the season and finishing the Super Bowl and from there, making decisions,” he said.
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Woods worked as the Denver Broncos' defensive coordinator in 2017 and 2018 under coach Vance Joseph. He said this season with the 49ers has helped him grow through increasing his knowledge of the cover-3 defense that the Seattle Seahawks popularized.
Woods said he has learned a lot from safeties coach Daniel Bullocks and defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.
“Robert Saleh is an unbelievable coordinator,” Woods said. “I think without any question, he’s going to be a great head coach. It’s a shame he didn’t get one this year. But I’m telling you, I’ve been around people. He will be a great head.”
Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (8 p.m. Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. Thursday, 9:30 p.m. Friday, and 3 p.m. Saturday).
Also tune in at 1 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday for a two-hour special of "49ers Pregame Live" with Laura Britt, Donte Whitner, Jeff Garcia, Ian Williams, Kelli Johnson, Greg Papa and Grant Liffmann. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on "49ers Postgame Live," starting immediately after the game.