HOUSTON — Kyle Shanahan, the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons who is in line to become the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers after the Super Bowl, says he doesn’t envision his father, longtime NFL head coach Mike Shanahan, joining him in San Francisco.
Kyle Shanahan worked for his father in Washington when Mike Shanahan coached the Redskins. With the younger Shanahan’s pending promotion, there had been speculation about a prospective reunion in San Francisco, with talk that the elder Shanahan perhaps could join the 49ers in a front office capacity.
“I always anticipate asking my dad for advice and stuff like that, just like I think anybody would in their profession if their dad had done the same thing and been successful at it,” he said at Super Bowl media night. “As far as him working in the building and doing stuff like that, that’s definitely not been in discussions. My dad’s, to me, basically retired. And I know he enjoys football. So I don’t want to use that word because he’s definitely working at it a lot. You can ask my mom. But no, I’ve never envisioned him [in that role]. We did our deal in Washington and I wouldn’t take that back for the world. But that was pretty much the end of it.”
Kyle Shanahan oversaw the NFL’s highest-scoring offense this season with the Falcons, bolstering his coaching resume. The 49ers have been willing to wait until after the Super Bowl to make their hiring of him official. It makes this a hectic time for Shanahan, although he said he has not found it to be overly burdensome.
“The way the NFL makes it, it’s not as hard as you would think,” he said. “I didn’t realize it until I got into it. But they make it to where you can’t do both. They only set a few days where you’re allowed to talk to these guys. Those days that you’re allowed to talk to them were both two bye weeks. So this Friday and Saturday, we had the days off. So my kids were upset with it because I had two days off and didn’t totally get it off. I had to spend them interviewing and doing all this stuff. But I had two days designated to the San Francisco stuff. And since then, it’s been all dedicated to Atlanta.”
The 49ers announced Sunday night that they’d hired John Lynch, the former safety for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos who most recently has been an NFL analyst for Fox, as their general manager. So they will be pairing an inexperienced GM with a first-time head coach. The duo will have to hit the ground running, with the 49ers already behind other NFL teams in preparations for next season. But Shanahan is not quite ready to discuss details of his next task.
“To go there mentally, nothing’s set in stone, first of all,” he said. “I’m not gonna BS you guys. I’m excited about a lot of stuff that’s going on. I feel very encouraged about it. But nothing’s gonna be set in stone until I get a chance to sit down and make something official, which isn’t allowed until after the season. Once I do get that opportunity and things work out, it’s something I’ve waited for my whole life. It’s something that I’ve thought about almost every day and if it does happen, it’s something I’ll definitely take advantage of.”
Shanahan was permitted, under NFL rules, to interview twice with the 49ers during the postseason, and the second of those sessions included interaction with Lynch and other GM candidates.
“John’s a guy I’ve developed a relationship with over the years,” Shanahan said. “He’s a guy who lives and dies football, very smart guy who really, I think, wanted to get back to it where he could compete on Sunday where there’s actually a winner and a loser after the game.”
Mike Shanahan won two Super Bowls as the head coach of the Denver Broncos. He also went to Super Bowls as an assistant coach, spending some of his career with the 49ers during their glory days. So Kyle Shanahan is not exactly a Super Bowl novice.
“It’s cool to be here,” he said. “I’ve been to the Super Bowl six times as a coach’s kid. I remember all of them. I remember the first one . . . The Broncos lost to the Giants in the Super Bowl. Phil Simms was the MVP. I remember being at those games. I remember going to San Francisco and being in the one where Steve Young got the MVP. I remember going back to Denver with my dad as a head coach and being in the Super Bowl with John [Elway]. It’s always been a great experience. Some of the best memories of my life are growing up and just being a family member watching what your dad does and all the people with him going to the Super Bowl. Now to get here for myself and be able to bring my own family — they’re coming down Friday. That’s pretty cool.”
He is doing, in effect, what he was born to do.
“I think I always wanted to coach my whole life, whether I said it or not,” he said. “It’s all I’ve known, is growing up around football. It’s almost all I’ve been into, too, since I was little. It distracts me from everything I’ve done, especially school. I always tried to tell my mom, ‘Just be patient. It’ll play out for us in the long run.’ And fortunately it did.”