49ers reconstruction goes beyond front office


49ers reconstruction goes beyond front office

Centennial Boulevard in Santa Clara, where the 49ers' offices and practice facility are located, is a hard-hat zone.Heavy equipment lines the cul de sac with site preparation underway for the construction of the 49ers' stadium, on which Santa Clara officials expect to break ground this spring and open in time for the 2014 season.And there is plenty of action within the team offices, too.
The 49ers on Friday announced general manager Trent Baalke, on the job for an ultra-successful 13 months, signed a three-year contract extension through 2016.NEWS: 49ers extend Baalke's deal
And Jed York, team president and CEO, announced he is no longer the team president. That title now belongs to Gideon Yu, who a week earlier officially became a minority owner of the team.Yu was formerly chief financial officer of both Facebook and YouTube. He has also worked at such companies as Yahoo!, Disney and Hilton. He will run the business side of the 49ers.Yu's contacts in the tech community are expected to help the 49ers fulfill their vision for the new stadium -- what they hope becomes the epicenter of the nebulous Silicon Valley.The 49ers plan for the stadium, which will bump up against their current team offices, to take on a particular high-tech feel. And they are working to establish relationships in the community that will help them pay off loans for the 1.02 billion stadium through revenue generated by sponsorships and stadium naming rights, along with sales from tickets and suites.Yu and Baalke will be in charge of their respective departments. Yu will handle the business side, while Baalke will continue to oversee football operations. Both Yu and Baalke will report to York.The extension for Baalke comes a little more than one year into his initial three-year contract, which he signed Jan. 4, 2011. Baalke spent 2010 as vice president of player personnel.Baalke and former coach Mike Singletary did not have "great chemistry," as York explained it. Singletary told CSNBayArea.com last year that he agreed with York, saying he never meshed with Baalke.Perhaps Baalke's best move in his current role came before he even had his current role. He spent time at Stanford and got to know Jim Harbaugh. When Baalke was officially named general manager, over finalist Michael Lombardi, the 49ers acted quickly to secure the hiring of Harbaugh."It gives me great pleasure to watch Trent and Jim work arm-in-arm with the common goal of leading the 49ers to championships," York said, in announcing Baalke's extension.With a rushed free-agent signing period and no offseason workouts, the 49ers still managed to turn around a team that went 5-10 under Singletary (6-10 overall) into a 14-game winner and an overtime loss away from playing in the Super Bowl.Under Baalke's direction, the 49ers added key components, such as Aldon Smith, Chris Culliver, Kendall Hunter and Bruce Miller through the draft, as well as free-agent pickups Carlos Rogers, Jonathan Goodwin, Donte Whitner and David Akers. The 49ers also re-signed Ray McDonald and Dashon Goldson.The remodeling of the team has mostly erased the memory of a team that underachieved in 2010. And the construction around the building has eliminated a man-made landmark from the recent, forgettable era, as well.Mt. Singletary, the peak that stood 45 feet above the practice fields that was built in 2009 under Singletary's direction for conditioning and rehab purposes, has been unceremoniously leveled.The hill, which angled up at 45 degrees, was used for nothing more than a spot for security guards to station themselves during workouts that were open to the general public last summer.The eyesore was deemed unnecessary. And it's elimination is just another step in the reconstruction of the 49ers.

Harbaugh takes blame for 'premature celebration' during 2011 incident

Harbaugh takes blame for 'premature celebration' during 2011 incident

It was Jim Harbaugh's first season as head coach of the 49ers.

The 4-1 49ers were in Detroit and scored 10 points in the final 5:29 to beat the Lions 25-19.

An excited Harbaugh got a little too agressive during his postgame handshake with Lions coach Jim Schwartz. The two had words for each other and had to be separated.

Six years later, Harbaugh took the blame for what happened and said that he and Schwartz have patched things up.

"I went in too hard on that, too aggressive on the handshake. I've since changed that. Not doing that anymore. Can't blame him. I went in too hard. And you respect him for taking exception. We've talked, and we're good. We're back to friends. There is a protocol in a postgame handshake. I've been there as the winner. I've been there as loser. You just, 'Hey, nice game,' then go celebrate. Premature celebration there, in the wrong," Harbaugh said Tuesday on Barstool Sports' Pardon My Take podcast.

Harbaugh sounds like he's learned his lesson from that incident with Schwartz.

"The postgame handshake isn't the place for anything. If you're bitter, than change the I to an E. Don't get bitter, get better. Nothing's really changing at the postgame handshake. Just professionally shake hands and go on your way," Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh moved on from the 49ers to coach the Michigan Wolverines. Schwartz coached the Lions through the 2013 season and currently serves as the defensive coordinator for the Eagles.


49ers head coach Shanahan: Lynch going in the right direction

49ers head coach Shanahan: Lynch going in the right direction

SANTA CLARA -- General manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan sat down with 49ers pass-rusher Aaron Lynch shortly after assuming their new roles to give him an outline of what was expected.

Aaron Lynch entered the NFL in 2014 as a fifth-round draft pick despite having the talent worthy of a much-earlier selection. There were concerns about his commitment and character.

Lynch showed plenty of promise in his first two seasons. He tied for the club lead both seasons with six and 6.5 sacks, respectively. Last year, Lynch reported to the offseason program 30 pounds overweight. He was suspended four games for violating the league’s policy of substances of abuse. Then, he missed considerable time with an ankle injury. In seven games, Lynch recorded just 1.5 sacks.

John Lynch and Shanahan told Aaron Lynch his past transgressions would not be held against him, but he had to work hard and prove himself. As Lynch enters the final year of his original four-year contract, his spot on the 49ers' 53-man roster is anything but a certainty.

“Basically, everybody on this team, no matter what has happened before you came into the league or when you’ve been in the league, they’re not holding that against you and it’s a new clean slate,” Lynch said. “So I need to do everything I can to make sure I have a clean slate with them.”

Lynch is currently working with the second unit at the “Leo” position on the 49ers’ defensive line, behind Arik Armstead.

“’Leo’ is a lot of damn fun, so, yeah, I like it a lot,” Lynch said. “You get to set the edge and go get the quarterback.”

Lynch said he is in better physical condition than he was a year ago at this time. He said his target playing weight is in the 260-270 range. He said he is currently in the 280s.

“I came in heavy, but I’ve been working my (butt) off to get down to where my coach wants me to get down to, and where I feel I would be best to give everything I can for my team and do what I can for my team,” Lynch said.

While the 49ers did not witness any improvement in Lynch's commitment at the beginning of the offseason, things seem to be turning around. Shanahan said Lynch has missed only one day of the team's voluntary offseason program -- an excused absence to deal with a situation concerning his wife.

“There’s no doubt Aaron’s going in the right direction for us," Shanahan said. "He came in in the offseason, we challenged him hard with just the way we worked and stuff. He hasn’t shied away from any of it. He’s jumped in on all of our stuff.

"So he’s gotten better each day. He’s gotten more in shape each day and I’m seeing it on the field each day.”