Thought of Manning as 49er never took off locally

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Thought of Manning as 49er never took off locally

Reports are surfacing about teams holding internal discussions and checking their bank accounts with the intention of landing soon-to-be-former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.There's been some national buzz that the 49ers, a team that advanced within an overtime loss in the NFC championship game from the Super Bowl, would be a nice landing spot for the 11-time Pro Bowl quarterback.Locally, the thought never seemed to gain a lot of traction.Coach Jim Harbaugh, who has the respect of the locker room for being a man of his word, seemed to put an end to any speculation weeks ago."Yeah, Alex (Smith) is our guy," Harbaugh said. "He had a tremendous season. Definitely, as a coach you worry about a lot of things. And when a quarterback is not signed and he is a free agent that leads to some lost sleep."MAIOCCO: Alex Smith and the 49ers: What's taking so long?
General manager Trent Baalke said the 49ers feel "very comfortable" with their situation at quarterback, namely with Smith as the starter and Colin Kaepernick and Scott Tolzien behind him.And Baalke went so far as to claim on Tuesday that there were no in-depth conversations within the 49ers organization on the subject of Manning wearing 49ers colors after his release from the Colts."We haven't had Peyton in here nor are we even talking about those things internally right now," Baalke said in an interview on KNBR. "Is he going to play? I don't know. That's for the doctors to make the decision on and for him."REWIND: Manning makes no sense for 49ers with Smith, Kaepernick around
Before the doctors even played a role in this -- and the doctors must play a role in this -- the team would have to come to a decision to make a huge commitment to Manning.And we're not just talking about finances.Manning was in the same system with the Colts since he arrived as the No. 1 overall pick in 1998. Part of what made him so good was his encyclopedic knowledge of the offense.RELATED: Jerry Rice says the 49ers should pursue Manning
He'll be going to a different team, leaving the team for which he had been a de facto offensive coordinator as well as one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL for so long.So how much of the Colts' offense will his new team allow Manning to bring with him? Probably as much as Manning wishes to bring with him.
Manning will turn 36 later this month, and it only seems wise that his new team will have to make a major adjustment. Any team that signs Manning must let him be who he has always been. The rest of the team and the coaching staff would have to learn from him.Manning did not play in 2011 because of multiple neck procedures, including spinal fusion in September. If he is (and remains) healthy enough to play again, he'll be with a different team -- a team that will be putting its season in Manning's hands.REWIND: 49ers feel good about their three QBs
Would Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman dramatically rework their playbook to accommodate one player?The 49ers and Alex Smith remain in contract talks toward a multi-year extension. You can still assume that a new deal will be reached before or shortly after the opening of free agency on March 13.Harbaugh said -- and continues to repeat -- he is committed to Alex Smith. And Smith, theoretically, still has his best football years ahead of him. He turns 28 in May. Manning had his three best seasons when he was 28, 29 and 30.This offseason should also provide Smith and the others with a full offseason to learn the intricacies of the offense. Roman said late in the season that Smith will not have to spend as many late nights at the 49ers facility during the 2012 season because he'll have a better grasp of the offense.
The team that signs Manning might do it the other way. Manning would be teaching the coaching staff.That's why around these parts it was difficult to get too carried away with the thought that the 49ers ever would consider making such a dramatic commitment.

McDonald toasts Shanahan for communication of trade talks

McDonald toasts Shanahan for communication of trade talks

SANTA CLARA -- Tight end Vance McDonald became aware of a report the 49ers had engaged in trade talks involving him at his brother’s wedding in Austin, Texas.

But McDonald said he did not give it much thought because he had another immediate priority.

“I still had my best man’s speech to do,” McDonald said.

Later that evening during last month's draft, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan called McDonald to keep him in the loop. There was no trade, and McDonald returned to Santa Clara on Monday to continue participation in the 49ers’ offseason program.

“The first thing I told him was, ‘Man, there aren’t a lot of coaches that would do this,’” McDonald said of his talk with Shanahan. “He just wanted to fill me in.”

Nearly four weeks later, it is as if nothing ever happened.

“The only trade discussions we had was when another team asked us about Vance on draft day,” Shanahan said this week. “And after a team asked us about Vance then we asked other teams if they’d be interested in that same thing.”

McDonald said he completely understood why the 49ers would check with other teams around the league to see what they could acquire in a trade.

“Basically, it’s just like any other team in the NFL would do,” McDonald said. “If you’re a 2-14 team, obviously, there are a lot of things you can improve on, a lot of spots that need to be filled. There are a lot of things you need to improve upon in the offseason. So if teams are going to call and inquire about you, then obviously the next step is to … call around to every other team.

“So that’s exactly what happened to me. It isn’t like they don’t want me here. There was never a lack of communication on any level.”

Even before he knew his immediate future with the 49ers, McDonald said he tried to maintain the proper state of mind.

“I had the mindset this isn’t going to change anything,” McDonald said. “I’m going to end up where I end up and I’m just going to continue doing what I’m doing, which is do everything to be a better football player.”

McDonald enters the fifth year of his NFL career after signing a new deal in December that amounts to a three-year, $19.7 million extension. Three days later, the 49ers placed McDonald on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

McDonald was on pace for his best season as a pass-catcher. In 11 games, he had 24 receptions for 391 yards and four touchdowns.

Now, he is competition for a spot in the 49ers’ offense, along with fifth-round draft pick George Kittle, undrafted rookie Cole Hikutini, and veterans Logan Paulsen, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell.

McDonald said he likes what Shanahan has brought to the 49ers, including added responsibilities of the tight end position.

“Last year, all we talked about was how fast our pace was,” McDonald said. “With Kyle, it’s insanely quick. He’s a very detailed guy. It’s interesting to hear him present information. You try to apply it and play with the same mindset that he has. It’s a task that we all enjoy doing.

“We (tight ends) are the end of the line. There’s communication with us and the wide receivers and running backs. We’re also in command with receiving corps. There are a lot of things on our plate. Hopefully, this doesn’t get back to the wide receivers, but we’re supposed to be smarter than them. It’s a fun job to have. We don’t try to rub it in too much.”

Chip Kelly returns to college football -- as analyst

Chip Kelly returns to college football -- as analyst

Chip Kelly is back in college football.

The former Oregon coach, who served as 49ers head coach last season, signed a multiyear deal as an ESPN analyst, the network announced Friday morning. He will work predominantly on pre-games, halftimes and in studio wraps each Saturday on ESPN2.

“Over the last 30 years, I have experienced football from one perspective – as a coach,” Kelly said in a statement. “Working in television will allow me to see the game from a different angle; simultaneously, I‘ll provide viewers an insight to the mindset of a coach and team while offering alternative views of various situations.

“Once I decided to make the move to TV, my familiarity with ESPN, combined with their high-quality production and vital role in college football, it was easily the best network suited for me.”

Kelly, 53, was fired on the evening of the 49ers’ season finale. The 49ers went 2-14 under Kelly and set the franchise record with 13 consecutive losses. Their only victories came against the Los Angeles Rams. Kelly also auditioned with FOX for the analyst job vacated when John Lynch became 49ers general manager, sources told NBC Sports Bay Area.

Kelly served as Oregon’s head coach from 2009 to ’12. His teams compiled a record of 46-7. Under Kelly, the Ducks advanced to the 2011 national championship game, losing to Auburn 22-19.

Kelly won the AP College Football Coach of the Year. He twice won the Pac-10 coach of the year. He left Oregon to become head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013. After his first two NFL teams went 10-6, Kelly was fired in 2015 with one game remaining in the season. The Eagles were 6-9 at the time of Kelly's firing.

“Chip is one of the most innovative football minds of our generation,” ESPN senior coordinating producer Lee Fitting said. “As a coach, he saw the game from a unique perspective, never afraid to take an unconventional approach. We want him to bring that mentality to our college football coverage each week, offering fans a varying viewpoint outside of the conventional thought process.”