Bill Walsh of Stanford has replaced Fred O'Connor as coach of the San Francisco 49ers and Ernie Accorsi of the Baltimore Colts has the inside track to replace Joe Thomas as general manager.
Accorsi, assistant general manager of the Colts, said yesterday he was contacted on Monday night by Edward J. DeBartolo Jr., president of the 49ers, and discussed the San Francisco vacancy. He said he was still interested but left the impression that he was leaning against it.
He said he may not make a decision until after the Super Bowl.
Walsh was succeeded at Stanford by Rod Dowhower, a Stanford assistant coach for two years.
Owner Bob Irsay of the Colts apparently was surprised that Accorsi was in demand.When Accorsi asked for permission to talk to the 49ers, Irsay said, "You're under contract." National Football League policy approves such shifts if the person involved is clearly being upgraded in position.
The 49ers had considered a "troika" set-up, consisting of a general manager with administrative exprience, a head coach and a strong director of player personnel, but that is out now and there will be a coach and general manager.
At one phase, Dick Mansperger, director of player personnel for the Seattle Seahawks, was being considered for general manager, with Accorsi to have a more impressive title. Mansperger is a close friend of Walsh.
Don Klosterman, general manager of the Los Angeles Rams, who reportedly recommended Walsh for the Ram head coaching job before George Allen was hired last season, still is interested in the 49ers' general manager job now that Thomas has been fired and the Rams are out of the playoffs.
Accorsi had said he would not talk to the 49ers while Thomas was still in their employment.
Meanwhile, a California source made the surprising speculation that Thomas may rejoin the Miami Dolphins.
In New York, the Giants are reported to have agreed on what direction to take for a new coach and general manager. They will be separate jobs. Wellington T. Mara, club president, and Tim Mara, his nephew and vice president-treasurer, are at odds over whom to hire.
Dan Reeves, offensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys, is still a strong candidate for the coaching job and Gil Brandt, vice president of personnel development for the Cowboys, is under consideration as general manager.
Accorsi is figured to be ideal to restore the shattered 49er public relations. He served as publicity director of the Colts for five years; later as assistant to George Halas, president of the National Football Conference, and for two years in the NFL headquarters before rejoining the Colts in his present position.
Dick Szymanski is executive vice president and general manager of the Colts.