49ers notes: Peterson says Willis should've been No. 2


49ers notes: Peterson says Willis should've been No. 2

SANTA CLARA -- Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson did not envision himself waiting long to hear his name get called in his own personal mock draft from 2007.And linebacker Patrick Willis would not have been far behind, either.
"I don't know why me and him weren't the No. 1 and No. 2 picks coming out," Peterson said Wednesday in a conference call with reporters who cover the 49ers."I really felt that way, because I know talent when I see it. He was a guy that I just respected off the top because of how he plays the game. We play the game the same way."When asked who should've been chosen No. 1, Peterson answered, "Come on now, you going to ask that question?"Willis, right?"No," Peterson said.Peterson is a four-time Pro Bowl selection who underwent surgery nine months ago to repair a torn ACL, he has gotten off to a strong start with 144 yards rushing on 33 rushing attempts. And Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said he feels as if he can remove the training wheels."We think he's getting to that point where we can think about a few more carries," Frazier said. "He's getting close to that point, so we'll see how he does this week in practice."The fact Peterson has made a rapid recovery is not a surprise to Willis, who trained with Peterson before the 2007 draft."I remember training with the guy and just seeing how he works out as an offensive guy," Willis said. "It made me think, wow, seeing this guy run like he did at Oklahoma is no surprise. He's not just a talented guy; he actually works. It reminded me of myself a little bit."Willis, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, said he appreciates Peterson's statement that he should've been a top-two draft pick. Here's the actual order of the 2007 draft:
1. Raiders, QB JaMarcus Russell
2. Lions, WR Calvin Johnson
3. Browns, OT Joe Thomas
4. Buccaneers, DE Gaines Adams
5. Cardinals, OT Levi Brown
6. Redskins, S LaRon Landry
7. Vikings, RB Adrian Peterson
8. Falcons, DE Jamaal Anderson
9. Dolphins, WR Ted Ginn Jr.
10. Texans, DT Amobi Okoye
11. 49ers, LB Patrick Willis The 49ers re-signed outside linebacker Eric Bakhtiari to take the roster spot that opened when the NFL suspended Clark Haggans for three games for violating the league's policy on substance abuse. Haggans served jail time in June for his second DUI offense since 2004."I can look at it from the standpoint of feeling sorry for myself, which is not acceptable with the kind of person I am," Haggans said Wednesday in the 49ers' locker room.
Haggans said he would use the suspension time for "getting into my playbook and getting more comfortable with the team, the coaches, the players, stay focused, work out, stay in shape and take it from there and try to hit the ground running when I can."Bakhtiari has spent time on the practice squads of Kansas City (2010-11), Cleveland (2010), Miami (2010), 49ers (2010, 2008), Tampa Bay (2009), Tennessee (2009) and San Diego (2008). He played three games for the Titans in 2009 and posted six special-teams tackles."Obviously, we liked Eric a lot when he was here and effort he gave and what he did in the preseason, excited to get him back on the field today," coach Jim Harbaugh said.The 49ers played only about a dozen snaps in their base defense in the first two games. Haggans did not see any action in those games against Green Bay and Detroit.When asked if he regrets filing an appeal and not serving his suspension from the beginning of the season, Haggans said, "Hindsight is 20-20. . . It's in the past. And all you can do is move forward." Cornerback Tarell Brown was fined 5,250 for wearing red sleeves, a violation of the NFL's uniform code, in the 49ers' game Sunday night against the Detroit Lions.
If you're wondering why quarterback Alex Smith is no longer wearing a San Francisco Giants hat at his postgame press conferences, now we know why. It would cost him 15,000.For 90 minutes after the game, players must be seen only in sports gear that the NFL approves.Smith said he was informed of the fine after the playoffs. But former 49ers safety Merton Hanks, who now works at the league office, rescinded the fine and issued a warning instead, Smith said. Aldon Smith picked up a half-sack, at teammate Ray McDonald's expense, on Wednesday. The NFL credited Smith with a half-sack on a fourth-quarter play in which McDonald was originally credited with a full sack of Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford in Sunday's game. Smith now has 2.5 sacks on the season.

Jim Harbaugh: I deserve a medal for lasting so long under 49ers ownership

Jim Harbaugh: I deserve a medal for lasting so long under 49ers ownership

In Kyle Shanahan’s first breath after being introduced as 49ers head coach on Feb. 9, he mentioned Jim Harbaugh, along with Bill Walsh, George Seifert and Steve Mariucci.

The head coach of Michigan was listening, and he appreciated the gesture.

“It was very flattering that he said nice things about us at his news conference, and I appreciated that,” Harbaugh said on "The TK Show," a podcast from Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group.

“Now, I don’t think I was there long enough to be compared with Bill Walsh or Coach Seifert, etc. But I think did – and correct me if I’m wrong – I think we did set a record for coaching there the longest under the present ownership, if I’m not wrong.”

That is correct.

Since John and Denise York took over control of the 49ers in 2000 from Denise’s brother, Eddie DeBartolo, the 49ers have employed eight head coaches. Mike Nolan was fired after seven games of his fourth season. The two coaches who followed Harbaugh -- Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly -- were fired after 5-11 and 2-14 seasons, respectively.

Harbaugh’s teams advanced to the NFC Championship Game in each of his first three seasons, including a Super Bowl appearance. He and the 49ers “mutually parted ways,” the club announced, immediately after the team finished with an 8-8 record in 2014.

“I take pride in that,” Harbaugh said. “Maybe there should be an endurance medal, a courage medal, for that.”

Shanahan mentioned Harbaugh during his opening remarks at the introductory press conference earlier this month:

“I’ve got to start out thanking Jed and the whole York family. Giving me this opportunity is, it’s a dream come true and it’s not just an opportunity to be a head coach, but to be a head coach at a place like this where you talk about Bill Walsh, you talk about George Seifert, Steve Mariucci, Jim Harbaugh and you can go down the line with the coaches.”

Said Harbaugh, “Just appreciated it. Appreciated it, and not just for me personally, but appreciated that for all the wonderful players we had and the wonderful coaches and the effort that was put in. People poured their hearts and souls into those years. It’s just appreciated that Kyle would make that comment.”

Harbaugh said he has deep respect for Shanahan and new 49ers general manager John Lynch, whom Harbaugh asked to speak to his Stanford teams during his four-year tenure as head coach.

“Yeah, I would’ve loved to have worked for John Lynch,” Harbaugh said. “He reminds me a lot of the athletic director we have here Warde Manuel, who’s also a former player and a teammate of mine. Common sense guys who are team guys, just the way they go about their business always speaks volumes.

“I thought John took note when they were going through the process. e didn’t want his name mentioned and I think that’s . . . I don’t know if a lot of people noticed that, but I think that’s a profound thing. I think that speaks volumes for who he is as a person. He wants to do a good job and it’s for the right reasons. He’s a competitor at the highest level, so I have great respect for that.”

Kawakami also asked Harbaugh about whether he believes quarterback Colin Kaepernick is still capable of being an NFL starter.

“There’s no doubt he can be an NFL starting quarterback,” Harbaugh said.

“I’m sure Kyle, the coaching staff there and John will meet on it, they’ll think about it, they’ll watch, much like we did when we got in there in 2011. And they’ll make the best decision they can for the team and the organization and it’ll play out the way it’s going to play out.”

Lynch's hirings of Peters, Mayhew left no room for Gamble

Lynch's hirings of Peters, Mayhew left no room for Gamble

During the month the 49ers had no general manager or head coach, Tom Gamble was the next-highest-ranking football official and was charge of the personnel department on an interim basis.

But CEO Jed York made it clear from the beginning Gamble, whom Trent Baalke promoted to assistant general manager just prior to the start of training camp last summer, would not be considered for a promotion to general manager.

John Lynch, with no front-office experience, was hired over Arizona’s Terry McDonough and Minnesota’s George Paton. Before Lynch’s introductory press conference, he hired two top lieutenants in the personnel department to usurp Gamble on the organization's power structure.

On Wednesday, the 49ers announced what had become inevitable: Gamble was leaving the organization.

“I must thank Jed, the York family and the entire 49ers organization for the wonderful memories they provided me and my family, but it is time I move on,” Gamble said in a statement. “This past month, I have had the pleasure of working alongside John Lynch and the talented staff he has assembled. The team is in capable hands and I wish them nothing but the best.”

Lynch’s first move as general manager was to hire Adam Peters away from the Denver Broncos to serve as 49ers vice president of player personnel.

Lynch worked alongside Peters when Lynch took part in Broncos meetings and prospect evaluations, which included a trip to the NFL scouting combine, prior to the 2013 draft.

“That month, month-and-a-half, I actually sat next to Adam every day,” Lynch told CSNBayArea.com. “Those are long meetings. I’d listen to him and we’d talk in between about players. I just saw way back then, he’s a guy who’s highly respected in the league. I firmly believe in two, three years, he would’ve been a GM. He was on that track, at least.”

During Lynch’s introductory press conference a week later, he announced the hiring of Martin Mayhew as senior personnel executive. Lynch and Mayhew were teammates in the secondary for Lynch’s first four NFL seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Mayhew spent seven seasons as Detroit Lions general manager. Mayhew should be able to provide Lynch with valuable counsel as learns on the job after spending the past eight seasons as a TV analyst on FOX.

“Martin has sat in the seat as a general manager and his experience will play an integral role in helping us locate the type of football player we want representing this organization both on the field and in the community,” Lynch said.

Gamble recently completed his 29th NFL season and his 10th with the 49ers in two stints. After he was fired as Philadelphia Eagles vice president of personnel late in the 2014 season, and came back to the 49ers in the 2015 offseason.

While with the Eagles, Gamble was one of the few individuals in the front office who worked well with Chip Kelly. Gamble played an important role in speaking up for Kelly and bringing him to the 49ers last offseason.

Kelly and Baalke were fired after the 49ers' 2-14 season, and the 49ers promoted the ability to create a fresh start when a new coach and general manager. While the 49ers were expecting Gamble to remain with the organization through the draft, his spot with the organization was going to be tenuous with a new regime.

“He is a class act who has helped a great deal in this transition, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him,” Lynch said in a statement. “After working together over the last month, Tom and I agreed that it would be in both of our best interests for him to pursue other opportunities.”