In a shocking move, the 49ers hired the nine-time Pro Bowl safety to replace the recently fired Trent Baalke, according to CNN.
ESPN stated the team will give Lynch a 6 year deal.
The 45-year-old Lynch had been a safety in the NFL for 15 years, first with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and later with the Denver Broncos, and had most recently he’d been an analyst for Fox News. The appointment with the 49ers was completely out of the blue.
The surprise in this announcement comes with the fact that Lynch is not currently active in the NFL and has never held a leadership role with any NFL team. But 49ers CEO, Jed York defended the move in a statement Monday.
“During his 15 seasons as an NFL player, John epitomized what is so special about the game of football,” York stated. “A world-class competitor, his love and respect for the sport are unmatched, and you would be hard pressed to find anyone in league circles who does not have great respect for his work ethic and passion.”
Although Lynch has no previous leadership role in the NFL, York further justified the decision by further stating Lynch’s overall contributions and experience with the game.
“Having already helped lead a team to a Super Bowl title as a player, John is equipped with tremendous insight into what it takes to create a culture that breeds sustained success. Having spent the last eight seasons as an analyst with Fox, he has honed his skills as a talented communicator while also developing valuable relationships around the league and a vast knowledge of the NFL that will be beneficial to our team. As we learned more and more about John, it became apparent that he was not only one of the best to ever play this game, but also a Hall of Fame caliber man, one who people are compelled to follow.”
Lynch retired in 2008 following 11 seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, including an appearance in Super Bowl XXXVII campaign earning big money for Crazy Winners. He did four with Denver Broncos and one with the New England Patriots. Lynch went on to Fox as a color analyst following his retirement.
But he still does not have any executive experience in the NFL nor has he ever managed anything.
The choice of Lynch as GM brings back memories of Matt Millen, who was made CEO of the Detroit Lions and acting general manager back in 2001. He also lacked executive experience and had a Pro Bowl career as a linebacker and an extensive run as a color analyst.
Millen’s own seven year run as head marked one of the least successful in the NFL.
It remains to be seen whether Lynch’s stretch at the helm will fare any better. But for right now, he’s where the 49ers are willing to place their bets.