Tom Brady's big assist to boyhood coach

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Tom Brady's big assist to boyhood coach

Tom Brenner
CSNBayArea.com

Three-time Super Bowl champion. Two-time Super Bowl MVP. Two-time NFL MVP. Seven-time Pro Bowler.Those are just a few of the major accomplishments in the Hall of Fame career of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and he can add to that list this weekend when the Patriots play in Super Bowl XLVI.While it's easy to credit Bill Belichick, Charlie Weis and Josh McDaniels as the coaches who have helped Brady become the superstar he is, one guiding hand has been with him since he was 13.That hand belongs to quarterback guru Tom Martinez of Menlo Park. Brady gives Martinez credit for developing him into the quarterback he is to this day, dating back to camps he attended as a teen. "(Tom's) been a great friend of mine for a very long time and taught me how to throw a football at a very young age." --Tom Brady
I sat down with Martinez at his home this past week to discuss Bradys pending trip to the Super Bowl, and their long, personal history.
The main reason for my visit was for a much more serious reason though. Martinez needs a kidney transplant; and he needs the transplant to happen as soon as possible.The longtime coach at the College of San Mateo has diabetes and has suffered kidney failure.Days are not easy for Martinez and his wife Olivia as they continue to look for a matching donor through many resources. Besides the daily fatigue due to his condition, Martinez has faced major roadblocks.We have been refused by two hospitals to be a candidate for transplant, UCLA was one of them, Martinez said. We were just told 'Nope, youre not acceptable to us.' To my wife and I, that was devastating. It was depressing. I dont like the word depressed but it was depressing."When Tom Brady turns out to be part of the solution, its unbelievable." --Tom MartinezThis is where Brady comes back into the picture.In December, Brady took to his Facebook page to spread the word about his mentors need for a new kidney. Martinez says that about 60 people responded to Bradys post throughMatchingDonors.com; a site giving people in need of a transplant a way to find a matching donor. Forty of those people were serious about helping Martinez, something he says would not have happened without the help of Brady.When Tom Brady turns out to be part of the solution, its unbelievable, Martinez said. You have gone through rejection and people dont believe in you. Youre trying to explain to people I dont know if I am going to make it or not. I dont know how long I am going to live, but I am going to fight from A to Z, and I will give you my best shot the whole time.It really is an amazing story. A quarterback who Martinez says reached the mountain top is using his celebrity platform in an effort to save his mentors life."He's been a great friend of mine for a very long time and taught me how to throw a football at a very young age," said Brady, who starred at Serra High School in San Mateo. "He's been looking for a kidney for quite a while.While there has been increased interest from the public to find Martinez a donor, he is still waiting to find a match.It was clear from our conversation that no matter what the future holds, Martinez couldnt be more thankful for what his star pupil has done for him over the last couple months."Without Tom Martinez, Tom Brady would not
have been the quarterback of the New England Patriots." --Tom BradyWhat he is giving me is an opportunity to live longer, so I cant thank him enough. Yet we have the kind of relationship where we dont have to thank each other, Martinez said. It is understood that there is nothing that I wouldnt do for him and there is nothing he probably wouldnt do for me.Martinez plans to watch this weekends Super Bowl at his home in Menlo Park with family and friends. The only way those plans fall through is because of possible good news; a trip to Johns Hopkins Hospital where he could receive a life-saving kidney transplant.It's safe to say that while Martinez and his family would love to watch Brady play in the biggest stage in all of football from the comfort of their home, there would be no better news than that of finding a donor.So while Brady may be a three-time Super Bowl Champion, a two-time Super Bowl MVP, a two-time NFL MVP and a seven-time Pro Bowler; his effort to find ONE matching donor could make all the difference in the world.Tom Brenner is an associate producer for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

Eric Reid embracing new role with 49ers: 'I was made for this position'

Eric Reid embracing new role with 49ers: 'I was made for this position'

SANTA CLARA – Despite recording seven interceptions in his first two seasons and being named to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, Eric Reid said he believes he is now in a role that best fits his skillset.

Whereas in the past, the 49ers’ safety positions were considered interchangeable, there is a clear delineation this season under first-year defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

“Even dating back to college, this is the first time there’s a distinct strong (safety) and a distinct free (safety),” Reid said. “I’ve been used to the interchangeability type of role.

“(In) some situations, certain calls where there’s a motion, we might flip. There are a couple situations where I might be in the post in the free-safety role, but it’s not nearly as much as it has been in the past.”

Reid, who is listed at 6 foot 1, 213 pounds, said he is excited to be stationed closer to the line of scrimmage for run support while free safety Jimmie Ward patrols the deep middle of the field.

The 49ers offseason program concluded Wednesday, and Reid found himself in the middle of the action with an interception on a short Brian Hoyer pass over the middle. While he will still be counted upon for coverage, his biggest impact could come to assist a run defense that last season ranked among the worst in NFL history.

“I love it, being around the ball more,” Reid said. “I anticipate making more tackles, hopefully making more plays. I feel like I was made for this position with my body type, being a bigger safety. I’m excited about this year.

“I feel like I’m using what God has blessed me with, more, which is my size and being in the box in the run game. In the past, I felt like I could do more. And being in the post, I can’t use my size as much when it comes to the run game.”

After producing seven interceptions in his first two seasons, Reid recorded just one interception in 26 games over the past two seasons.

As a first-round pick in 2013, the 49ers picked up the fifth-year option this season for $5.676 million. He is scheduled for unrestricted free agency at the conclusion of the season. Reid said the 49ers have not spoken to his representation about a long-term extension. That will come, he believes, if he lives up to his end of the bargain in his new, streamlined role.

“I look at it from a business standpoint,” Reid said. “I majored in business. They have me under contract. They don’t have any reason to talk to right now. I imagine if I play well in the first half of the season, they’ll reach out to me. Maybe they’ll reach out to me before training camp, I don’t know. It’s whatever route they decide to take. It’s a business. I’ll treat it as a business. I have a job to do, so I’ll do it.”

 

Mike Shanahan's official role with 49ers: Father of head coach

Mike Shanahan's official role with 49ers: Father of head coach

SANTA CLARA – Kyle Shanahan always wanted to coach football with his father. But, first, he knew he had to prove himself without any boost from his well-known dad.

Once the son established himself as one of the NFL’s respected offensive minds, the Shanahans teamed up for four up-but-mostly-down seasons with Washington.

Mike, the two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach, hired his son to serve as his top offensive assistant in 2010.

“I thought we saw football similar, but we quickly realized after a few weeks that we saw it differently,” Kyle Shanahan told NBC Sports Bay Area in February. “We grew together. He gave me a lot of leeway while I was there. It was fun to try a bunch of different things, having to even incorporate the zone read when we got Robert (Griffin).

“We did our deal in Washington, and I wouldn’t take that back for the world, but that was pretty much the end of it.”

Kyle Shanahan broke into the coaching ranks under Karl Dorrell at UCLA. He moved onto the NFL to work with Jon Gruden on the staff of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Gary Kubiak with the Houston Texans. But nothing prepared him for the scrutiny he would face as offensive coordinator under his father.

Kyle Shanahan adjusted the Washington offense to take advantage of Griffin’s skills as a dual-threat quarterback as a rookie 2012. The club qualified for the playoffs with a 10-6 record.

But things blew up the following season as the Mike Shanahan-Griffin relationship soured. Shanahan and eight assistant coaches, including Kyle, were fired the morning after Washington’s 3-13 season concluded.

Mike Shanahan has remained out of coaching, though he was a finalist for the 49ers’ head-coaching job after the 2015 season. The 49ers hired Chip Kelly.

Kyle Shanahan rebuilt his career with one season as offensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns and two successful seasons with the Atlanta Falcons to enable him to become CEO Jed York’s choice to replace Kelly.

There is no official role for Mike Shanahan, 64, on his son’s staff with the 49ers. But the father has attended several of the team’s practices this offseason, including both days of the 49ers’ mandatory minicamp this week. Mike has been issued his own iPad that gives him access to the 49ers playbook and coach's film. He will likely visit for an extended stay during training camp. But Kyle said he believes his dad will mostly remain home -- only a phone call away -- during the regular season.

“He’s enjoying life right now,” said Kyle, 37. “He’s got a pretty good deal in Denver, where he lives. He can help me out in other ways anyways without having to be here every day.”

Mike Shanahan does not need to be in the building every day to counsel and have influence on his son as he tries to navigate his first season as the head coach while also maintaining the responsibilities of running the team’s offense.

“You’re going 1,000 miles an hour,” Kyle Shanahan said. “Sometimes to see everything you’ve got to really slow things down and take your time to look at stuff and you don’t always have that time as a head coach.

“It’s nice when someone you know who thinks similar to you has a similar background and he just sits in a room all day and watches stuff. He doesn’t have any other responsibilities. He can see some things that I’m not always seeing and just to bring things to light that maybe I missed or other people have missed.”

Mike Shanahan was a successful NFL offensive coordinator for seven seasons. He won a Super Bowl on George Seifert’s staff with the 49ers in January 1995. His dad believes his time around the 49ers has a lasting impact.

“When I was with San Francisco, Kyle was at the 49ers training camps in Rocklin,” Mike Shanahan told Fangirl Sports Network. “He stayed with me at camp and we talked about football every night.

“He had the opportunity to experience an organization that had won four Super Bowls in nine years. He also had the opportunity to be around some great people and leaders. He still tells stories and talks about people like Steve Young, Joe Montana, Harris Barton, Tom Rathman, Jerry Rice, John Taylor, Deion Sanders, and many others. What a great experience to see how these men handled themselves on and off the field.”

The Denver Broncos hired him to become head coach shortly after the 49ers’ 49-26 victory over the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX. Shanahan went on to win two Super Bowls in his 14 seasons with the Broncos.

Kyle Shanahan was a wide receiver at Duke before finishing college at Texas, where he caught 14 passes for 127 yards in two seasons. He figured he would have a career in football and it would not be as a player.

“I’ve wanted to coach my whole life,” Kyle Shanahan said. “This is all I’ve known, just growing up around football. It’s almost all I’ve been into, too. Since I was little, it’s distracted me from everything I’ve done, especially school. I always tried to tell my mom, ‘Just be patient, it’ll play out for us in the long run.’ Fortunately, it did.

“Once I realized my genes were a little bit better as a coach than as a player, I pretty much locked into that – and that was about halfway through college. I haven’t looked back.”

During his short time with the 49ers, players on both sides of the ball have expressed amazement at how knowledgeable Kyle Shanahan is about the game of football. His dad told Fangirl Sports Network to succeed as a head coach he must always be dedicated to stuyding, learning and teaching the sport.

“He loves the game and knows it inside and out,” Mike Shanahan said. “My advice to him is to never lose the drive to study the game as he’s done over the last 13 years. To stay in the NFL as a head coach and have success for any length of time, you must never lose your drive to teach and stay abreast of what the top teams are doing every year: offense, defense, special teams. You must be able to coach all positions to really understand the whole game.”

Former 49ers president Carmen Policy said he remembers young Kyle serving as a ball boy during 49ers training camp in the early 1990s. Policy, who remains close to Mike Shanahan, has followed Kyle’s rise in the coaching ranks while playfully questioning the sanity of the family business.

Said Policy: “I used to tease Mike, ‘What kind of father are you to let your kid go into coaching?’ I said, ‘You should be charged with dereliction of parental duty.’ And he’d laugh and say, ‘Yeah, I tried talking to him and then my wife tried talking to him, but that’s his passion, and that’s what he wants to do, so I’m not going to dissuade him from it.’

“And, then, look at what happened. Here he is. He’s the head coach of the 49ers, and that’s just incredible.”