Kyle Shanahan had to know the question was coming, and for the most part, his answer was perfectly polite and diplomatic. Until a nice, little elbow at the end, that is.
The 49ers coach was asked on a Wednesday conference call how he'll avoid making this Sunday's game against the Redskins personal. Shanahan was with Washington from 2010-2013 along with his dad, Mike, but the end of his tenure in D.C. was very messy.
In his response, he explained how he'll try to treat the Burgundy and Gold like any other opponent, but then he dropped one comment that indicated he is in fact looking for some major revenge.
"It's not my first time back there," he said. "I've been in three buildings since. I've moved on with my life in many other ways and I think my family has also. I think it's pretty easy not to make it personal. The guys it'd be personal with don't play in the game."
That last portion was no doubt directed at the Redskins' front office, with whom Kyle and Mike had plenty of issues with. It wasn't the only part of the call where Shanahan slighted the Redskins, either.
At one point, the 39-year-old was pushed to describe how he's gone about rebuilding San Francisco's culture since he took over. He stressed having a united vision with the decision-makers above him and sounded quite pleased to be in a place where he feels like that's happening.
"To me, culture's based off the type of people you have there," he explained. "I knew, during the interview, meeting the owner, then being able to get a general manager like John Lynch, we knew we had the people, the right people with the right intentions that were in it for one thing, and that was to win. And we also could be very honest with where we were at at the time."
"We've got people who live and die football and they know how to treat each other," he added. "It's one of the more fun groups and higher-character groups that I've been around."
So, that wasn't as direct as his first jab, but it still got the job done. Don't worry, though. He found time for one more obvious remark about his old employer before facing them in Week 7.
Near the end of the discussion, Shanahan was given a hypothetical where a young, up-and-coming coach approaches him about possibly working with the Redskins. What would Shanahan tell that person? After a quick chuckle, he played along the best he could.
"Just look into it. See what the situation is, who you want to work for," he said. "Anytime you get opportunities, you've got to look into it. But I'm not there, I don't know how it is right now, so that would be up to that person."
Then came the kicker.
"I'm probably not the person they want to call on that advice."
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