Harbaugh honored with AP Coach of the Year

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Harbaugh honored with AP Coach of the Year

Jim Harbaugh, who guided the 49ers to within one game of the Super Bowl, was announced Saturday as the Associated Press Coach of the Year.The 49ers had not made the playoffs or had a winning season since 2002 before Harbaugh took over.In the first year of a five-year, 25 million contract, Harbaugh led the 49ers to a 13-3 record and NFC West title. Harbaugh came to the 49ers after turning around the Stanford program.

Despite having no offseason program due to the NFL lockout, Harbaugh enacted a change in culture despite winning with many of the same players of the past.Most notably, quarterback Alex Smith benefitted from Harbaugh's tutelage. Smith had the best season of his career with 17 TD passes and just five interceptions.

49ers rookie linebacker Aldon Smith finished 2nd in the voting for AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, behind Broncos linebacker Von Miller. Miller finished with 39 out of 50 votes, with Smith receiving the remaining 11.

Source: Packers execs on list of 49ers GM finalists

Source: Packers execs on list of 49ers GM finalists

Green Bay executives Brian Gutekunst and Eliot Wolf will be among the finalists to receive second interviews for the 49ers general manager position, a source told CSNBayArea.com on Wednesday morning.

Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton will also be among the finalists, reports the NFL Network, but a second interview with him has yet to be confirmed, a source said.

The 49ers are also expected to bring in another candidate or two for a second interview, a source said.

The second interviews are expected to take place after Sunday, when the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers play in the NFC Championship Game. The 49ers will have a second interview with Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan for the head-coaching position.

The 49ers are expected to make a formal offer to Shanahan to become the team’s next head coach, and the NFL Network reported Tuesday night it is “almost certain” he will accept. The 49ers will be allowed to speak with Shanahan next week, regardless of Sunday's outcome, but are not allowed to hire Shanahan until the Falcons' season is over. 

The 49ers interviewed nine candidates for the general manager position. Seattle co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner removed his name from consideration on Tuesday.

Sources say that Kirchner and coach candidate Tom Cable, Seattle’s offensive line coach, were in serious talks with the 49ers on Tuesday about filling the organization’s top two positions. But Kirchner and Cable felt like they were being used as leverage to land Shanahan as the head coach.

The other general manager candidates who interviewed with 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe were Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough, Seattle co-director of player personnel Scott Fitterer, ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, Carolina assistant general manager Brandon Beane, Indianapolis vice president of football operations Jimmy Raye III.

Gutekunst, 43, is in his 18th season with the Green Bay and his first as director of player personnel. He and Wolf originally interviewed with the 49ers on Jan. 5.

Gutekunst received a new title prior to last season after Packers general manager Ted Thompson denied permission for him to interview for the director of player personnel job with the Tennessee Titans. He was also denied from joining the Philadelphia Eagles’ personnel department in 2015 during Chip Kelly’s tenure with the team.

Wolf, 32, is in his first season as Green Bay’s director of football operations after receiving a promotion after being denied an opportunity to interview with the Detroit Lions last year.

Wolf is the son Hall of Fame executive Ron Wolf. He has also worked closely through the years with current NFL general managers Reggie McKenzie, John Schneider and John Dorsey.

Report: Shanahan 'almost certain' to accept 49ers' offer

Report: Shanahan 'almost certain' to accept 49ers' offer

Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is reportedly “almost certain” to accept the 49ers’ offer to become head coach.

Shanahan is the lone remaining candidate among the six individuals who interviewed with 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe. The 49ers plan for a second interview with Shanahan and a job offer, a source told CSNBayArea.com. Shanahan is expected to accept the 49ers’ offer, reports Michael Silver of the NFL Network, citing sources familiar with both parties.

The 49ers continued to work Tuesday evening on the process of narrowing down the general manager choices, a source said. Shanahan is expected to play a role in the select the team’s next GM, sources said.

On Tuesday, Seattle offensive line coach Tom Cable and Seahawks co-director of player personnel Trent Kirchner removed their names from consideration for the vacant coach and general manager positions. The 49ers fired Chip Kelly and Trent Baalke after the 49ers' 2-14 season.

One source said Cable and Kirchner believed the 49ers were using them as leverage to hire Shanahan. Cable interviewed with 49ers co-chair Denise DeBartolo York over the phone on Tuesday, NFL Network reported.

The 49ers are allowed to interview Shanahan for a second time after the Falcons’ NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The 49ers are prohibited from hiring or making a formal contract offer to Shanahan until the Falcons' season has concluded.

The top remaining candidates for the general manager job are believed to be Green Bay executives Brian Gutekunst and Eliot Wolf, Arizona's Terry McDonough and Minnesota's George Paton.