49ers coach Shanahan grateful for stability from contract extension
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Kyle Shanahan grew up around the NFL following his father from stop to stop on the coaching carousel before getting on it himself so he knows full well how rare it is to have a long stay at one spot.
That's one reason why Shanahan feels fortunate about the stability he found in his first head coaching job with the San Francisco 49ers that was only reinforced when the team announced another contract extension for him last week.
“I feel very grateful,” Shanahan said Wednesday. "Just being a coach anywhere for a long time, I know what that means and extremely grateful for that to have that opportunity and mainly for my family to be somewhere for so long, which is cool. ... I really like where we live and really like the people we work with, and they’re committed to giving us a chance to go for it every single year and that’s all I could ever ask for.”
Shanahan said the team finalized the extensions with him and general manager John Lynch just before the start of this season.
The deals were officially announced last Friday, keeping the duo under contract through at least the 2027 season.
Shanahan and Lynch arrived together in 2017 to take over a two-win team that had gone through three head coaches in the previous three seasons.
Shanahan got a six-year deal from owner Jed York and the duo slowly built the team into a perennial contender. The Niners went to the Super Bowl in the third season of this regime and then making back-to-back trips to the NFC title game the past two seasons. San Francisco is off to a 3-0 start this season and is once again one of the leading contenders.
“Sometimes when you come into a situation that looks really hard to win in the first couple years you’re nervous about it because you know how the pressure goes when you lose, no matter what people say,” Shanahan said. “It gets tough to stick with the plan and that’s what made it so exciting the first time, meeting with Jed and the commitment he gave us and what he said. I really feel like that made us make the right decisions for those first couple years and helped build it the right way.”
San Francisco is 55-46 in six-plus seasons under Shanahan and Lynch with six playoff wins. The Niners are 45-25 since the start of the 2019 season and rank fifth in scoring (26.4 ppg) and second in yards per play (5.94). Shanahan’s innovative offensive schemes have helped overcome the lack of a top quarterback on the roster.
“He’s obsessed with football,” safety Tashaun Gipson said. “Obviously, we all love the game of football, some more than others. I think just his approach, you could just tell this is his life. I don’t think he has an offseason.”
But Shanahan's strengths go beyond the play-calling with players frequently citing his honesty and ability to communicate with them as attributes that are just as important.
“People talk about a lot about how real he is, how authentic he is,” linebacker Fred Warner said. “Players, they relate to that. That's why he’s able to rally the troops every single week. That’s why I think he’s the best.”
The 49ers have done a good job amassing talent under this regime, drafting George Kittle, Warner, Nick Bosa, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk who have developed into some of the top players at their positions.
San Francisco has also pulled off big trades, acquiring All Pro left tackle Trent Williams from Washington in 2020 and star running back Christian McCaffrey from Carolina in the middle of last season.
Now they have most of those pieces under contract for years to come.
“I appreciate being in an organization that’s stable,” Bosa said. “I’ve seen other teams, friends, my brother, people who have not really had a stable working environment and I’m lucky to have that. Him and John worked cohesively together, which is nice. He’s offensive-minded, but he knows the defensive line and the front seven is where you win games. So I like that.”
NOTES: Samuel (ribs, knee) missed practice after getting banged up last week. ... LB Dre Greenlaw (ankle), WR Jauan Jennings (shin) and Williams (rest) also sat out Wednesday. ... Aiyuk (shoulder) was limited after missing last week's game. ... CB Ambry Thomas (knee) was also limited.
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