Neck surgery for 49ers' Heitmann, 2011 in doubt

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Neck surgery for 49ers' Heitmann, 2011 in doubt

JUNE 29, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVE
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Center Eric Heitmann, a mainstay on the 49ers' offensive line since entering the NFL in 2002, is expected to miss his second season in a row after undergoing recent neck surgery.Dr. Robert Watkins, an orthopedic spine surgeon in Marina del Rey, performed the surgery to repair a ruptured disk approximately four weeks ago, said Kenny Zuckerman, Heitmann's agent. Heitmann is currently rehabilitating in his home state of Texas.
"The bottom line is that he feels much better, and the pain has disippiated," Zuckerman said. "The tingling has decreased, and his hopes are to play as soon as he's cleared."This type of surgery generally takes approximately six months from which to recover, Zuckerman said. Therefore, it appears unlikely Heitmann will play this season. Heitmann's contract with the 49ers expires after the upcoming season.Heitmann, 31, sustained what was reported as a "stinger" early training camp last summer. Five days later, he suffered a broken left fibula that kept him out of action for the early part of the regular season.REWIND: 49ers center Heitmann out with leg fracture
After Heitmann's leg healed, he was unable to return to action because of his neck condition. The 49ers ultimately placed him on injured reserve on Nov. 2. David Baas, who remains unsigned, started all 16 games at center in place of Heitmann.MAIOCCO: Baas' long flight shows commitment to 49ers
Beginning in 2004, Heitmann missed just two starts in six seasons. He sustained a broken leg late in the 2006 season, forcing him out of the final two games of the season.Heitmann was named the winner of the Bobb McKittrick Award for three consecutive seasons (2006-'08). The award is given annually to the 49ers offensive lineman who best exemplifies the dedication, excellence and commitment of the long-time offensive line coach.Heitmann has played in 119 NFL regular-season games with 114 starts during his career after the 49ers selected him in the seventh-round of the 2002 draft.

Source: Shanahan does not insist on full personnel control

Source: Shanahan does not insist on full personnel control

Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, the presumptive coach of the 49ers, promised 100-percent focus on his current job.

Shanahan confirmed Thursday he expects to meet with 49ers executives Jed York and Paraag Marathe for a second time after the Falcons’ NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

Shanahan interviewed with the 49ers on Jan. 5 in Atlanta. He is the last remaining available candidate among the six coach candidates with whom the 49ers met after firing Chip Kelly. The 49ers announced the firings of Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke after the team concluded a 2-14 season.

Shanahan met with the media three days before the conference championship wearing a gray shirt that read, “The only fight that matters is the one we are in.

“You don’t have an option, so there’s nothing to get distracted about,” Shanahan said. “You can put this aside and totally focus on right here and right now. That’s not tough to do.

“This is an opportunity that I personally as a coach – I’ve wanted to win a playoff game my entire career and got to do that last week. Right now, that we have a chance to play for a Super Bowl, is pretty much what’s consuming my mind.”

The 49ers are prohibited from officially hiring Shanahan until the Falcons’ season is over. If Atlanta defeats the Packers on Sunday, the 49ers can still interview Shanahan next week and have him involved in the process to hire the team’s next general manager. But Shanahan could not be officially hired until following Super Bowl 51, which will take place Feb. 5 in Houston.

Shanahan admitted there is “some interest” but denied there’s been any spoken agreement he will become the 49ers’ next head coach.

“There’s a lot of stuff out there,” Shanahan said. “My friends growing up hear all that stuff. My wife hears that stuff. But everyone’s asking me what’s going on. I don’t know.

"I’m in my office looking at film all day and there’s nothing I’m allowed to do about it. So I think I’ll have an idea of that after the game. I don’t know what date that will be, whether it’s Monday or the following week, I’m not sure, and right now, I truly don’t care.”

The 49ers are expected to hire a general manager next week that will be matched with Shanahan. A source close to Shanahan told CSNBayArea.com that Shanahan is not insisting on full control over personnel and is fine working together with a general manager, on whom he would lean, to execute the plan with free agency, trades, the draft and determining the 53-man roster.

Green Bay director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst and Minnesota’s assistant general manager George Paton are expected to meet Tuesday with the 49ers and, possibly, Shanahan. The 49ers are keeping the door open on Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough. The 49ers informed a handful of candidates early this week they would not be brought back for second interviews. McDonough was not among those cut from contention.

Eliot Wolf, Green Bay’s director of football operations, pulled out of the running on Thursday. Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Wolf withdrew his name from consideration when it became apparent he would not get the job. The Packers increased Wolf’s salary and will give him a change in titles, according to the report.

If Shanahan and the 49ers determine Gutekunst is the man they want, Packers general manager Ted Thompson is expected to let him leave immediately even if Green Bay advances to the Super Bowl, the Journal Sentinel reported.

Two years ago, Paton and Falcons coach Dan Quinn, Shanahan's current boss, were reportedly connected as part of a possible general manager-coach team. Paton and Quinn know each other from their time together with the Miami Dolphins. Paton and Shanahan interviewed with the 49ers on the same day – both in Atlanta.

McDonough is a highly respected talent evaluator who was believed to have Shanahan at the top of his list all along for coaches with whom he wanted to work, according to sources.

The second interviews are reportedly scheduled for Tuesday in Atlanta, according to the report. The 49ers could have their next coach and general manager in place by the middle of next week – depending on the outcome of Sunday’s game.

“My situation outside of this week, I’m definitely excited about that,” Shanahan said.

“You’re only allowed to talk to teams when you do have a bye week. I got that opportunity a couple of weeks ago. Regardless of what happens in this game, win or lose, you can talk to them again when your season’s over or if you get another bye week. I know I think I’ll get that opportunity next week, whatever happens, and I plan on doing that.”

 

Source: Bears deny 49ers attempt to bring back Fangio

Source: Bears deny 49ers attempt to bring back Fangio

The 49ers inquired about the possibility of re-hiring defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to presumptive coach Kyle Shanahan's staff, but the Chicago Bears denied permssion, a source told CSNBayArea.com.

Fangio recently completed his second season as the Bears' defensive coordinator after spending four seasons in the same position on Jim Harbaugh's staff with the 49ers.

The Bears made it known to the 49ers that Fangio would not be allowed out of his contract. It never got to the point where the 49ers made a formal request to speak with Fangio, a source said.

Fangio's defenses were the strength of three 49ers teams that advanced to the NFC Championship game, including one Super Bowl appearance. He interviewed for the 49ers' head-coaching job after the 49ers parted ways with Harbaugh. After being passed over for defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, Fangio ended up on John Fox's staff with the Bears.

The Sacramento Bee was first to report the 49ers were blocked in their attempt to lure Fangio back to the organization.