Lynch reveals how he engaged Shanahan on 49ers GM job

Lynch reveals how he engaged Shanahan on 49ers GM job originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

John Lynch transitioned from broadcaster to NFL general manager when he joined the 49ers along with coach Kyle Shanahan seven years ago, and it all began with a phone call.

Speaking on ESPN’s “The Pat McAfee Show” on Thursday, Lynch detailed how he first talked to Shanahan, the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator at the time, about San Francisco‘s then-vacant general manager role.

“I heard something like Kyle Shanahan’s going to get this Niners job and that’s the one he wants but he’s struggling to find a GM he wants to work with,” Lynch told McAfee. “And so something was on my mind, I had done a bunch of Kyle’s games that year and I gave him a cold call and I just said, ‘Hey dude I want to thank you for all the time you’ve given me all year in these production meetings. I heard something that you’re struggling to find a GM.’

“And he goes ‘I am and it’s killing me, I think I am going to take that Niners job’ and he goes ‘Why are you asking?’ and I said ‘Consider me, I don’t even know if I’d do it but just think about that.’ ”

Lynch explained that Shanahan was surprised by his call, but he was so impressed that he called him back offering the GM position to him.

“And his first question was ‘Dude, why would you do that? You’ve got a great job, you’ve got a great life,’ and I said ‘Go play your games’ and he did and then he called me back and said, ‘I can’t stop thinking about what you said to me, would you want to do that? And ‘I want you to come meet this guy Jed [York].’

“I came and met Jed and we flew cross country to Atlanta, I was offered the job on that flight. We meet with Kyle and the whole thing is wrapped up, I had not even talked to my wife or family yet, it all kind of moved so fast.”

Given the importance of the GM and coach relationship, McAfee asked Lynch how he and Shanahan came to the same place in terms of team culture. The Pro Football Hall of Fame safety detailed that there were so many connections between himself, Shanahan and the San Francisco organization that it all came together.

“Kyle and I just figured it out,” Lynch said. “We had a lot of similar beliefs. Kyle started his professional coaching career on the defensive side at Tampa [Bay], working for Monte Kiffin who I played for, for years and so we were both big believers on getting guys that could knock down the quarterback.

“We went about building a culture with the right type of people. We went to great lengths to define what we thought built a championship organization and this is a place that had a long history. I was drawn to the Niners because of the history, I went to school right up the road [at Sanford], Bill Walsh was my coach my senior year. And the Niners culture is special, I walk by the five [Vince Lombardi] Trophies all the time.

“We’ve been to five NFC Championship Games, been to a couple Super Bowls, but it kills me that we’ve come close, but we haven’t knocked down that wall, we need to add a sixth trophy and that’s what I’m committed to doing.”

Since taking over the lead executive role in 2017, Lynch has spearheaded the 49ers’ resurgence, as the team has posted a 64-51 regular-season record along with an 8-4 playoff record. The past three seasons have been particularly successful, with San Francisco advancing to the NFC Championship Game in each season.

Lynch will be tasked with keeping the 49ers’ core together for one more season to make one more run at that elusive Super Bowl title. Star quarterback Brock Purdy has one year remaining on his cheap rookie contract before he is eligible for a lucrative contract extension, likely necessitating a big roster overhaul to create the necessary cap room.

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