San Francisco 49ers hire John Lynch as GM, bring back Matt Millen memories

Shutdown Corner
Before John Lynch took 49ers’ GM job, he made sure they could keep a secret (Getty Images)
Before John Lynch took 49ers’ GM job, he made sure they could keep a secret (Getty Images)

In a shocking development, the San Francisco 49ers hired nine-time Pro Bowl safety John Lynch to replace recently fired Trent Baalke as the team’s general manager, according to multiple reports.

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Lynch retired as a player in 2008 after 11 seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, including the Super Bowl XXXVII campaign, four with Denver Broncos and one with the New England Patriots. Since his retirement, Lynch has watched a whole lot of football as a color analyst for Fox NFL broadcasts.

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All that said, Lynch has zero experience as an NFL executive, much less running football operations for a franchise. Needless to say, his stunning six-year deal came as a shock on the night of the Pro Bowl.

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The selection likely does not come as a complete shock to Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, who is expected to be named San Francisco’s head coach following the Super Bowl. Mike Shanahan, who is rumored to be a candidate for an advisory role in the 49ers’ organization, was a big fan of Lynch as a player and signed the three-time First Team All-Pro safety to the Broncos in 2004.

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Still, the hiring of Lynch as GM brings back shades of Matt Millen, who the Detroit Lions made their CEO and acting general manager in 2001 after a Pro Bowl linebacking career and an extensive stint as a color analyst. His seven-year stretch at the helm marked one of the least successful in NFL history.

According to his account in Sports Illustrated, Millen told Lions owner Wiliam Clay Ford at the time of his hiring, “I really appreciate this, but I’m not qualified. I’ve had no training. I know the game of football — but there’s a lot more to it than that.” Ford’s response: “You’re smart. You’ll figure it out.”

Well, John Lynch did go to Stanford.

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