General Manager John Lynch & Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Press Conference
General Manager John Lynch & Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
Press Conference – January 4, 2021
San Francisco 49ers
General Manager John Lynch: “The only thing I’d like to say, I know I speak for [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan], with all of you guys, I know a different year for you doing this remotely. You guys deal with Kyle a lot more than you do with me and our players, but we’re very appreciative of your guys’ patience and your flexibility to do it this way. We appreciate your cooperation and all that. So, thank you.”
First question is just kind of the nitty gritty. Six head coaching openings, at least five general manager openings. Have you received permission from teams to interview defensive coordinator Robert Saleh, vice president of player personnel Martin Mayhew, vice president of player personnel Adam Peters? Where do those stand with you guys giving permission for teams to talk to those people?
JL: “Yeah, we have received notifications. I don’t know how specific, but on Robert and Adam, Robert had a few places, Adam had one and are expecting at least one with Martin. So, despite a tough year, we’ve got a lot of talented people here. We knew that. We actually take pride in that. We believe in them as well and people have interest and so it’s really more of a notification than ask for permission because of the rules and how they’re constructed. So, people did go through that process, though.”
Can you map out what your top priorities are going to be for the 2021 offseason and is quarterback as much of a concern as it seems to be for about everybody else in 49er-land?
JL: “Yeah. Our top priorities right now, Kyle and I always spend a ton of time together, but this season in particular, aside from the football, there was so much else just on getting to Sunday each week with COVID and the transactions that you had to do each week to kind of deal with that. All the energies that went into that. Kyle had to lead and coach a football team, but also I feel guilty, but had to take a lot of his time to deal with that and everyone dealt with that. So, I think what we always try to do is get together now and of course, we’ve already had a lot of these conversations, but now we can really put a hyper-focus on, what I typically try to do is have a bunch of different plans and options that I can bring to Kyle now and we just get into good discussions and we start establishing those priorities. As for the quarterback position, Kyle and I both have spoken and spoken fairly directly as to the fact that we expect [QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo] to be our quarterback and that’s consistently met with other stories, but that’s not of concern to us because, as of right now, [CEO] Jed [York] has charged us with being the two guys. Obviously, with a lot of input from a lot of people who make those types of decisions and I think we’ve spoken clearly to that.”
Head Coach Kyle Shanahan: “I’ll just echo on that. It’s the same timeline as every offseason. Right when it’s over, you want to see if any changes happen with the coaching staff, which we’re on a ‘wait and see’ approach with that to see if any of our guys are going to get opportunities to go elsewhere, mainly talking about Saleh and how that would affect us. So, not much to do with that until something does happen. So, if something does happen, we’ll react accordingly and have to make some decisions there. After that, we evaluate everything that happened in the season. We get together a lot, we talk about everything and we try to get ready free agency. To get ready for free agency, it has to do with understanding where you’re at with your own team first, which takes some time. Then we get to the draft and it’s about preparing for OTAs after that. So, everyone asks about the quarterback position. It is different this year. First time, I think in three years, I don’t know the exact three people that we’re bringing because [QB] C.J. [Beathard] is an unrestricted free agent, [QB] Nick [Mullens] is a free agent coming off a pretty bad injury, which probably won’t get him back until training camp. So, we know we’ve got to fill that out. At least we’ve got to make some decisions in that standpoint because we don’t have three guys exactly in their contract again, but nothing new with Jim. Same deal with him.”
John, can you say real quick, which team requested Adam Peters? Is it the team that he used to work for almost a decade?
JL: “No. No, right now it’s Carolina.”
I didn’t mean to use up my time limit on that one, but mine’s more about defensive ends, pass rushers. Kyle spoke yesterday about what happens when you lose big time pass rushers for the season. So, I was hoping you could talk about what the status, the prognosis are for DL Dee Ford and DL Nick Bosa? With Ford, given his injury history, can you rely on him to be one of your edge rushers for the coming season?
JL: “That’s a good question. I think one we’re looking for clarity on. Our sole focus right now is to help Dee in any way that we can to get him healthy. I think everybody understands that we’re a better football team when Dee’s out there. He’s an impactful player. He’s the finisher. He’s pretty emblematic of a lot of the issues that plagued our team this year. The old saying, your best ability is availability and we weren’t available enough this year and that went for Dee. When you’re dealing with that part of your body, the back, sometimes these things take more time. I think Dee tries to stay encouraged, but I think it’s been a struggle for him and we try to stay encouraged as well. But, I can’t tell you with absolute, that yeah, he’s going to be ready. We’re working hard and he is working hard to try to get there. Bosa is doing great in his recovery. He had a significant injury to his knee, but like everything in life, he attacks it head on and a hundred percent. The only thing with him is pulling him back so he’s not doing too much. We’ve kept in good contact with Nick, with the people who he’s training with. With COVID, we felt like it was best to get him out of the building and he went down to Orange County. He’s been down there working with some great people and really making tremendous progress. We’re very pleased with where he’s at.”
Kind of following up on something you just mentioned there about availability being the best ability. I know a lot of those injuries were out of your control, fluke things that happened, but moving forward, with what you went through this year, is durability going to be something that you put maybe even a greater value on than normal when you evaluate players?
JL: “I think there’s no doubt about it that we felt like we had, after coming into this year, we’d put it up against any one’s. We played long last year being in the Super Bowl and we came back into camp and everybody’s got their own theories as to maybe what happened for the inordinate amount of injuries. I think we played long, we had a number of guys with offseason surgeries, who were going to be on PUP or NFI. So, COVID took the roster down to 80. For us, it was really closer to 70. I think it was 71 as we started camp. I think there’s a trickle-down effect that, that affects everybody on a roster when those guys aren’t there. We got behind the eight ball and then sometimes stuff just happens. I think it happened league wide. We got hit by it, not only in the quantity of people that got hurt, but the quality. I looked over in the suite yesterday and three suites over, it looked like an All-Pro team. We need those guys on the field, not in the suite watching the game. So, I’ll tell you this, we have tremendous faith in the team that we’ve assembled as with our performance staff and our strength and conditioning staff. That remains. We are resolute in our belief in them, but we’re asking everyone to take a hard look, just as you do with the coaching staff, with the personnel staff. You self-scout and say, ‘What can we do better?’ We’re going to look. We’re going to turn every page and every detail as to what we can do better and to improve our processes. We’re kind of looking forward to that. Kyle asked me early in the year if I stopped going to church or something. I’ll be at daily mass, I can promise you. Outside, of course.”
KS: “No, it is hard. There’s a risk-reward with everything. Sometimes, you only wait in certain situations to get a really good player not in the first round or not by having to completely mess up your whole salary cap. Sometimes you have to take some risks, which we have done here in our four years. Some have paid off, some haven’t. I look at [CB] Jason Verrett as a perfect one that has paid off and what he came through and stuff like that. That was a hell of a deal. That doesn’t mean that you want to do that all the time because we also see some that have been too much of a risk and we haven’t gotten the reward. When you have a salary cap, when you have a roster, it’s very tough to win in this league if you’re missing a lot of your players. For us having $81 million of our salary cap not play this year, and I think that’s the most in NFL history, that is a big deal. That’s why it doesn’t mean that you never take a risk again. I think that’d be an overcorrection. You have to take some risks to get to the top in this league, but we also understand that you cannot succeed if that number I just gave you with guys continues. So, all that goes into every single decision we’ll ever make. And I’d like to say it always has too, but the more situations you go through, the more you realize what these decisions are and that risk-reward changes a little bit.”
If I could sneak in two. One was just about, I don’t know how much the risk was on DT Javon Kinlaw. There was talk before the draft about his knee. Just again, getting clarity on if his situation that kept him out the last two games was tied to knee tendonitis. Then if I could ask a quarterback question, last offseason, you did entertain, obviously it was a unique situation with Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady, and that is something you entertained when Jimmy Garoppolo had played 19 games and taking you to a Super Bowl. That may be more presented itself to you. Is it conceivable that you might be at least more aggressive in seeking out other possibilities at quarterback this offseason?
JL: “I’ll take the Kinlaw question. I guess when you say tendonitis, tendonitis, it’s just some inflammation in the knee. I think what happened to Javon, if you take back to the Dallas game, it’s actually the play when he stripped [Dallas Cowboys QB] Andy Dalton. He’s a big man. He came down really hard on his knee and it was a bone bruise, really, is what happened. Just the force of hitting the turf. Felt like we had a chance to get him back that week. The swelling just remained and it was stubborn. Good news at the end of this week, it started to come out, but he had been out of practice so long. It didn’t make sense to put him in the last game. [Defensive line coach] Kris [Kocurek] has done a tremendous job with his group and some of those young guys, [DL] Darrion Daniels and those guys came in. We also lost [DL] Kevin [Givens] with his personal situation for the last two games and some young guys really stepped up and took advantage of those opportunities. We’re proud of those guys. So, that’s the deal on Javon.”
KS: “And your quarterback question, which I guess is kind of a new one. Yeah, we’ll look into it harder this year, but not for anything to make a big statement about or to tweet about. Last year I was very happy with our starting quarterback. I was very happy and content with our second string. I was very happy and content with our third string. They were all under contract. We were good to go. Going into the offseason, it had seemed like we had about three draft picks. I think we had one in the first and then we didn’t have another one until like the fourth. So, it’s, ‘All right. We’re not even touching quarterbacks. We’re good with all three of ours. We don’t need to look much into that.’ Of course, when someone like the greatest player to ever play football is out there, you definitely look into that regardless. Besides that, we weren’t because of our situation. This year, our backup and our third right now, one’s restricted and one’s unrestricted. So, you have to look into everything when you’re trying to fill out a quarterback roster. We have a starting quarterback, but in order to know where these guys are going to be, we’ve got to get either resign the guys we’ve got or see if we can upgrade them through the draft or free agency. In order to do that, you have to evaluate everything, so you know how to stack them and stuff. So, definitely will be looking at a lot more of that stuff this year than we did last year.”
You said that you will be having meetings in the offseason to determine what, if anything, you can do to reduce the injuries and make sure this doesn’t happen again. Understanding it’s a lot of bad luck and circumstances of a COVID pandemic year, but do you have any initial thoughts of what can be done to prevent a season like this from happening again?
JL: “Yeah, that’s a good question. It’s one that we’re looking at. I do think a lot of it is just, I think, as I mentioned league-wide, but I think the question goes more so to why was ours inordinately high? We’re going to look for those same answers. We’re going to look at everything. Now, it’s not a departure from what we always do. We ask every department to take a hard look at themselves and really look at compared to the league, evaluate your staff. What can we do better? I do think there’s a lot of things that we do well in terms of our guys perform well and we give them a lot of vehicles to keep their body in tip top shape and we give them gurus. There’s a lot that we offer and I think we’re really proud of that, but I don’t have the answers. I gave you one theory. I thought we got behind the eight ball because we had some guys who came in injured, and some of those guys didn’t come back when they were supposed to, and that takes a toll on a roster. When you lose starters, now all of a sudden, the backups who were special teams players are now starting and playing special teams. So, everybody’s load kind of goes up. So, you try to deal with that as best you can. I just felt like we kind of got behind early and we never caught up. You kept saying, as soon as we start losing guys, we’ll start getting guys back with the short-term IR. The problem was, we never stopped losing guys. It was relentless this year, as were a lot of things.”
KS: “Whoever gives you a simple answer on that is just trying to come up with a simple answer. There isn’t a simple answer that incorporates everything. Whatever your answer might be in one year, it might not be the next. I go off my own experiences and what I’ve gone through with years, different organizations. You practice differently in every organization, reps-wise, how hard you do it, all that stuff in season, out of season. So, that’s my experience as a coach with all that and I have a lot of opinions that, sometimes my opinion has been right on and then the next year it’s completely contradicted. That’s where, ‘That opinion must be horrible.’ Then you did the same thing that’s good. It’s like, ‘Alright, it’s just random.’ Then you look at the type of players you have, the type of guys you bring in. How many did you take too many risks that added up. You look at your training staff, your strength and conditioning program. All that stuff goes in to what we discuss every year. The difference this year is how much do you want to incorporate that we did something that no one does have experience about? How are we going to talk about an add in that we didn’t do one thing throughout the offseason and then we went to basically a two-week training camp because there was 14 days where we did not practice. We just walked through and talked. Then when we did have that 14-day training camp, because it was only 14 days, some guys were on PUP. Some guys had a tweak within the first four days, like usually happens and you shut them down. Now, half the guys only got four days of training camp and you’re trying to get him ready for an NFL game that’s a week later. So, do you keep going through training camp or do you shut him down and get him ready for that game? Probably shut him down and get him ready for that game, which means they’re going to get hurt eventually because they’re not ready to play. That’s the fact. That’s what the whole league had to deal with. That’s why the whole league got hurt. We had more than the whole league, so it can’t just be that, but it’s also not just because John missed going to church a couple of times. That’s why we don’t have a good answer, but that’s why I promise you, we do everything we can to make it better in every area.”
WR Deebo Samuel was just in there talking about how challenging it was for him to not be on the field this season. He said he reached out to both of you a number of times per week while he was out. What was your advice to him and then how much of your job entailed kind of doing emotional checks and advice for the rest of your players that could or could not get on the field?
KS: “Yeah, they were all in different situations. All of us, and not just players, but everyone in there. Talking about Deebo, and I just know from a little bit ago, but I think Deebo was hurting because he loves football and then he was stuck in a place where he couldn’t play football and he was only there for football. Then he also, Deebo doesn’t want to let people down. It’s not that he let anyone down in terms of you’re upset with him, but he knows how important he was to us and he knew how hard it was going to be for us when we did lose him because he was one of the guys getting back that our quarterbacks really needed. Our whole team really needed. When he pulled his hamstring on that first play of the game, he knows how much that hurt the team which that sucks for a player. Deebo cares a lot about his teammates. Cares a lot about people. He didn’t envision it that way, and I think that reality hit him the last month and how big a deal that is. That’s where I hope that’s a good thing for him. I mean, to feel that pain, to feel like what it does because that’s the reality of this league. You deal with a lot of players and a lot of situations and it really comes down to that. I’ve talked to players over my career and they’re like, ‘Coach, why are you so upset about this or that? It will be all right.’ I’ll be like, ‘No, I get it, but you don’t understand.’ So much goes into a game and so much goes into a season and it’s just here or there. Lots of people, and I say this to make players feel guilty, but it’s also how I led most of my career, but like every decision I make, I try to look at it as, is that going to be the decision why I tell my daughter she’s moving in January? Is that why they’re going to a new school? Players, is that why you aren’t going to have the money when it’s said and done because just a couple of decisions you made is why you’re going to be out of the league at 27 instead of 32. And that’ll be the difference in you having to work a lot sooner or your kids having not the life that you had and all that stuff matters. Guys are young and you’re a product of your environment, but when you go through some of these experiences, that is reality. I think some of that stuff hit Deebo a little bit and that’s why I think it’s going to be a good thing that he went through it. It’ll make him more mature in how he responds to it and I think it will help his career and his life out. When you look into everything down there, that stuff did add up, the mental stuff of it. And it wasn’t just players and coaches, but when you’re stuck in a place for reasons you don’t want to be there. We have a cook who’s the happiest guy I’ve ever seen. Never had a bad day ever in his life. He is so happy and like the last week there, it was the first time I walked by him. He’s like, ‘Oh, hey coach, what do you need? How’s it going?’ And I even said it to a couple of players and they noticed, and I was like, ‘All right, if this place has got him, then it’s gotten everybody. It’s time to move on for a little bit of change.’ That’s the challenge that you have in situations like that and your tougher from going through it. You just know it’s not going to last forever. We got through it and we’ll be better from it.”
JL: “The only thing I’ll add there with respect to Deebo, Deebo cares. It’s part of what makes him special on the field. He’s got tremendous skill and then his will is as good as I’ve ever seen. You just see it in the way he plays. A lot of guys just decide that, ‘Okay, pretty good player. Tackled me. I’m going to go down.’ Not Deebo. He runs through people. I think he put a lot in to coming into this season in great shape and he really worked hard. I think everybody gets to see that with all the videos and what not. So, I think he was more crushed. Deebo cares about his teammates and he felt like he was letting people down. So yes, you have to counsel people through that and you rely on your own experiences. My first two years of my career, I was hurt a lot. Then I went eight years and I didn’t miss. So, you find out what’s the right combination for my body and I think Deebo has a unique body because he’s so powerful. He generates so much force. All players, it’s the commitment they’re willing to make. Sometimes it’s just luck, but we’re eager to help Deebo find the path to being out there because we know we’re different when he is. He’s one of those players. Kyle talked about it when [TE] George Kittle steps on the field. It’s not just the play, it’s beyond that. I think the great players make everyone around them better. Deebo has that same quality and he lifts our team. So, we’re excited for the challenge in front of us and in front of him to keep him out there and keep him out there with it never compromising the way he plays because that’s what makes him special.”
A couple of the guys mentioned you saying in the final team meeting that you wanted to keep the core together. Is Jimmy part of that core? How does he fit into that core and his relationship with his teammates and sort of what he means to the locker room? How much is that going to factor into whatever evaluation you make at the quarterback position this spring?
KS: “You mean DB Jimmie Ward or Garoppolo? Garoppolo? Yes, I want Jimmy back in our core. Good thing he’s not a free agent. I was talking about most of the free agents, but of course I want our starting quarterback back and all our other starting players, too. If it was Jimmie Ward you meant, I want him, too. Those guys, they’re not unrestricted free agents, so I’m not really worried about it. There’s a lot of guys in that room who aren’t signed and especially after our year, going 6-10 and stuff, you don’t usually sit in front of a team and say, ‘We truly want to get all you guys back, but we know we can’t get it all, but we’re going to do it as hard as we can.’ I don’t say stuff totally I don’t mean, so I meant that. So, it was cool to be able to say that to a group. Everyone knows that you can’t do it, but it’s the truth. We’ve got a lot of guys that we do want to bring back because we do believe we have a good team, a really good team. We’ve got to find ways to improve it through our decisions that we make. Definitely through the draft this year. I think it’ll be a huge year for us in the draft with the amount of picks we have and that’s what I meant.”
What is your expectation, if you have one, for where the salary cap is going to land? FB Kyle Juszczyk talked earlier about how you guys have had some discussions, but he didn’t seem overly optimistic. Given what he does for you guys, I guess my question is, how can you afford not to bring him back?
JL: “Yeah. Okay, so the first part of that, we’re operating under the premise of the floor, which is 175. We felt like that was best to operate off of that and kind of formulate our plans off of that. If it’s anything on top, that’s gravy for us. I think that’s how a lot of teams are operating. That’s been the challenge, but the challenge, no one else is immune to it. It’s affecting the entire league, but I think what people have to understand is the cap’s never gone down. You always budget for it to maybe increase by 20 million and instead it went down significantly. So, that Delta, that change, is significant. So, that alters some plans. We were built to be sustainable to the point where we could pretty much decide, all these good players we could prioritize. Certainly, you always have to do that, but we were set up to have just about everyone back. Now, we just have to be a little more creative in doing so, and I think we’ll figure some things out. With respect to Kyle Juszczyk, it was one of the first things we did when we got here. So proud of what he has become for us. He helped kind of build our standard. He’s a unique person and a unique football player because he does so many things for you. He’s important to us and we’re going to make every effort to try to keep him here. I’m sure there’ll be competition and we understand that, but Kyle’s a real important player to this football team and we’ll do everything we can to keep him here.”
As far as LB Fred Warner’s potential contract, do you see that presenting similar dynamics or challenges as George Kittle’s in that Kittle was obviously this eminently versatile player that talked about how his contract would be difficult to fit into that tight end market. Do you see Fred Warner presenting similar challenges?
JL: “We talk about challenges and those challenges are there, but I really, with guys like that, I see opportunity. I mean, those are guys we brought in here and they’ve become terrific players. So, first and foremost, they earn everything they’re going to get and when you watch a guy like Fred operate, he won a couple of the big awards, the Len Eshmont and the Bill Walsh. Prestigious. When you walk by that wall and see the names that have won that and the history of this place, that means a lot, but I think to Fred, Kyle talks a lot about intentional practice. I don’t know if a player represents that better across the league. Everything you see him do on the field he works at. He’s become incredible at punching the ball out. Every day in practice he’s doing it so much that I fear he’s going to break his hand, but you see it translate on the field. We liked him coming in. I can tell you, that’s one of the good stories when he’s exceeded every expectation we’ve had of him when he came in here and we had high expectations. We’ll take that when it comes and Fred’s a special leader, a special player and a big part of the fabric of this team. I see that as an opportunity and we’ll find a way to keep him here.”
A few of the players this morning did get emotional thinking about the core maybe not staying together. Do you ever find that or is that not a luxury that you guys have? Does it have to be pure business?
KS: “Oh, no, it’s always emotional. That’s why it sucks. We were having some conversations today and John was like, ‘Man, this sucks.’ That’s why this business is hard, but I also, I know that I am and I know John is, we do enjoy people. We enjoy the people in this building. We enjoy the people we work with. That’s why I feel comfortable calling a lot of players and coaches and personnel, everybody in here, friends. I’m okay doing that and still being the head coach because I know what this business is about and no matter how hard it is on myself or John to make a decision that alter someone’s life, I truly know that it’s our responsibility to make that decision, because if you stick with what’s easier or what doesn’t seem as hard, all you’re doing is altering 400 other people’s lives. You have to make the right decisions. I’ve been in too many places and everyone has in every line of work, I believe, where someone’s there who maybe someone can get better in a certain area, but you don’t. Well in this business, when you don’t make those types of decisions, that’s what can cost you a game here and there. That’s what can cost you a play here and there. That’s what changes a lot of people’s lives. So, you’ve always got to remind yourself, no matter how hard it is, when you know and can think clear of what the right decision is, you always do it to the right decision, regardless of how hard it is.”
JL: “Yeah. Kyle just said it really, really well. He talked about, I’ll never forget in our interview, I think Jed asked him a question about culture and it was really, I think, one of the moments where I said, ‘Wow. I thought that was very poignant.’ Kyle talked about the culture is the people that you surround yourselves with. I take a lot of pride and we’ve surrounded ourselves with some special people, but then there’s also a reality to this. We just finished a 6-10 season and we understand there’s a lot of reasons that led to that, but that’s not to our standard and so we have to improve. So, we’ve got to make every decision with one thing in mind. What is best for the 49ers? Now in saying that, I think you know us both and we believe it’s okay to get close with your players. We do. We know their families and so yes, you get extremely close and I’ve always thought it’s something about this game because it’s not an easy game. Everything about this game is tough. This year, I think tenfold. When you go through tough experiences, I think that bond becomes even closer. We’ve had examples, you know [Indianapolis Colts DL DeForest Buckner] DeFo and [New Orleans Saints WR] Emmanuel [Sanders], guys like that, that are like family. For whatever reason, you don’t feel like, ultimately you move on and that’s tough. You never take that lightly, but you do it always with the focus of, ‘All right. We’ve got a tough puzzle here. How do we keep it together in the best interest of our team?’ That’s all we ever try to do.”
Which teams in addition to the Falcons have put in the paperwork on Robert Saleh?
JL: “Yeah, so at this point, Jacksonville and Atlanta. Oh, Detroit as well.”
You guys have been very upfront and strongly suggesting that Jimmy is going to be the quarterback for next season, but the fact of the matter is you keep your options open until you do a conversion with his contract. So, is there a timeframe on creating salary cap room by doing that conversion with Jimmy’s contract, which basically assures he’ll be back next season?
JL: “Yeah. So, we don’t need room right now. As we start to go through and prioritize and we’re in the process of doing that right now. When we start signing those players, that might be necessary. I think we’ve had good discussions with Jimmy. It’s been encouraging to see him back out on the field. Kyle spoke of it last week. There’s a lift when he’s out there. It’s one of the qualities he has that I admire. I think his teammates thrive off his presence, whatever it is. I don’t know why, but I do know why, but they do. I mean, that’s just kind of that ‘it’ factor. He has that and so that’s been fun to see him out there. I know that we plan on visiting with him here in the next couple of days. He’s working really hard. I think we’re encouraged, because when he saw the specialist and I think that was the hesitancy to put him back out there, that the severity of his second high ankle or reinjury led to, ‘Hey, there is an option where he might have to have surgery.’ We wanted to avoid that at all costs. We were able to do that. Unfortunately, we didn’t get him back on the field, but he was around the team and that was important. He was a good support for the guys on the team and in that room. So now, we just plow forward and we’ll see if we get to where that becomes a reality, where we need to do that.”
I know you guys have only landed about less than 24 hours ago from Arizona, but just that whole specter of being away for a month, do you worry what kind of trickle-down effect that might have on free agents coming in, whether there might be some kind of trepidation about playing in Santa Clara County? Then, I’m kind of curious in terms of the hotel bill, is that all flipped by the Yorks or does the NFL chip in at all to help you out?
KS: “No, that’s all by the Yorks. I’m pretty sure of, yeah. We lost our home and we had to deal with finding a new home and they’re in charge of this organization. When you talk about situations like with free agents and stuff, I think that’s the stuff that helps us. You can talk to our players. None of them were very happy at all, being in that situation, but none of them are upset with the organization and it’s because of how they’re treated. I’ve been in buildings where you can feel guilty taking two water bottles instead of one. Just little things where you can feel it’s, I keep asking our assistants for a pen and they’re having such a hard time bringing you one and it’s because we’ve got to order some new ones. It was always the minimum. Those are the things that you don’t have to deal with here. That players, if they came straight from college, like some of these big schools, they don’t realize it yet, but if they’d been in other NFL teams, you see each one is its own company and that’s why we always say we believe we’re a first-class organization and do things right way. That was one reason, that’s what I always thought the Niners were just growing up and hearing about it. It was one of my most excited things when I heard Jed talk that way. Everything that we did do, from the hotel we had to all the meals that we had there, to bring the cooks down there, bringing everybody down there that could still try to give the players the same thing we had here, which is nice because when they don’t feel good about that stuff, like a lot of buildings I’ve been in, the players start to get irritated with you, the coach. You’re like, ‘Man, I’m buying my own meals, also’. That’s not the case here. That’s a feeling we don’t have to deal with. So, that word spreads and I know that’s something players talk about and I know that’s stuff other players hear in this league and that’s why they can take the risk of getting kicked out of our County again, which hopefully this vaccine works so we don’t have to worry about that.”
JL: “I’m not going to lie, I’ve had some harsh feelings that have gone through my mind about our County because they put us in a tough position. They had people they have to answer to as well. So, we understand that, but I was looking forward to coming home last night. I wanted to get home and when you land and you see the beauty of this place and driving in, it’s a rainy morning, but it was a beautiful morning. All the opportunities aside from playing for the San Francisco 49ers and walking by Lombardi trophies every day you walk in the building. I love sharing stories with people about the [former 49ers OL] Harris Barton’s of the world who stayed in this area and translated into tremendous business success because of the contacts they’ve made in this area with so much going on that the focal point for the world in terms of technology and all that. There’s great opportunity. Some people, that means a lot to. Some love the fact that the water is all over and you have a tremendous city right down the road. So, doing a little recruiting pitch, but this still remains a great place, great destination and we’ve got high hopes. We’re coming off a tough year, but to see Kyle up in front of the team today talk about the genuine excitement already that he has for facing this offseason because what we believe we have in front of us, I think people and players out there feel that and want to be a part of it.”
KS: “I also know the feeling that I’ve had living here for four years now, which a couple of weeks, I’m going to hit my record. People like the Niners here. Even before last year. It’s a cool place to live in. I’ve been in different places that aren’t always like that and it’s not like they’re just crazy, they have nothing else to do. No, they’ve got a lot going on out here, but they’re very genuine and treat us very well. It makes me and my family and our players enjoy living out here a ton. After last year and just being in the community, which wasn’t as much as I would’ve liked because most of us were in quarantine, but just the love everyone has shown for us and the love they showed for us when we were trying to get to where we were last year and the love I feel from people now, not giving us excuses, but still showing us some respect because I think they appreciate some things that we do put on tape and how we do carry ourselves. I think we’ve got a great area of people and our situation with whatever happened with the stadium, that doesn’t change any of that stuff. That was just a tough deal for us to deal with, but man, am I happy to be home and be back in a place that I’m comfortable in and I think everyone who I’ve been here with over these four years, I think, feels the same.”
Given Robert Saleh’s dance card being full, and I think you suggested this last night, and I just want to make sure that this is the case, but it sounded like if Robert were to move on that you wanted to bring in somebody that runs the same system or a similar system for continuity sake. Is that correct, A? And B, will you consider inside linebackers coach DeMeco Ryans as a possible replacement if that were to occur?
KS: “Of course, I’d considered DeMeco. It’s only as a matter of time before DeMeco is a coordinator in this league. It’s a matter of time before DeMeco will be a head coach, but I’m no absolute that we’d have to keep the same scheme. I love our scheme, so I’m not trying to change it, either, but I don’t pigeon hole myself in anything. What I said last night, I meant. I’m not too stressed about the situation. We’ve got a great coach in Saleh, and that’s why I think he’s going to get what he deserves. That’s also why for selfish sakes and, I won’t say selfish because I care about the Niners more than Saleh, I hope Saleh stays, but I also know we’re going to be all right because of the people that we have in house, because of the system and the players that we have, because of the options that we have with how the Yorks treat us. There’s nothing that they’ll tell us we can’t do. So, we’re going to be all right and if that’s presented and we do lose Saleh, I’ll be excited to put together the best decision possible because I think I’m going to have a lot of good choices. Until that happens, everyone keeps asking me today, what are we doing? We’re not doing anything. We haven’t lost one coach. So, we’re just sitting here. I think Saleh will go kill these interviews. I think he’s going to do a great job, but it’s one person usually making this decision each place, so nothing’s ever guaranteed. So, I wish him the best of luck in all this and we’ll see how it goes.”