John Lynch

John Lynch: Football not about secrets, 'it should flatter Pete Carroll'


John Lynch: Football not about secrets, 'it should flatter Pete Carroll'

During his time as a broadcaster, John Lynch spent a decent amount of time with Pete Carroll during TV production meetings.

And on Wednesday, the Seahawks' head coach said some interesting things about the 49ers' general manager:

“I’m kind of disappointed he went on to be a GM in our division because I like John a lot,” Carroll told reporters. "He asked a lot of questions – more than most guys do. We went into a lot of depth.

"So he does know how we think. Whether that’s becoming part of what they (the 49ers) do, I don’t know.”

On Friday morning, Lynch was asked about Carroll's comments.

"He joked with me both at the combine and at the owners meetings. Pete and I have a very good relationship," Lynch said on KNBR 680. "But I could tell there was some truth (laughter). I spent some time trying to convince him that I promise this thing hasn't been brewing for years.

"I didn't know that I was gonna end up the general manager of the 49ers, let alone be a general manager at all.

"To be honest -- what I was doing -- my parents taught me anything you do you want to be the best at it. And when I was a broadcaster, that's a way you could let fans in. 

"I just have a natural curiosity for the game of football. It should flatter Pete Carroll because he's a guy that I was fascinated with -- the way he runs an organization. And so it was more those type of philosophical things."

So what did Lynch glean from Carroll?

"One thing that I probably learned from him is just that these season's are grinds," Lynch answered. "They really are. I knew that from playing in this league. They are long and tough and hard seasons, both physicall and mentally. And I think Pete has a tremendous positivity to him ... it's why I was fascinated with him.

"It's really in line with what I believe in life -- you be relentlessly positive but also have high expectations. And I've seen him in tough situations -- they've got some players with personalities up there and I've seen him handle those, and handle them in a way that I really respect. He lets people's personalities shine, but he also keeps the team together...

"You're in there, you're curious, you ask questions and he shared. But ultimately, this game is not about secrets. It's about who's gonna go execute, who's gonna go make plays when the game's on the line."

The 49ers play the Seahawks in Seattle this Sunday.

Pete Carroll disappointed John Lynch is GM in NFC West


Pete Carroll disappointed John Lynch is GM in NFC West

Through the years as an analyst on FOX Sports’ No. 2 NFL broadcast team, John Lynch had ample opportunity to sit down with Seattle coach Pete Carroll.

During production meetings, a routine in which the announcers meet with coaches and players a day before the broadcast, Lynch went deep during his conversations with Carroll.

In fact, Lynch called the Seahawks’ playoff game against the Atlanta Falcons last season. Less than a month later, Lynch teamed up with then-Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan with the 49ers.

The 49ers will face the Seahawks on Sunday in Week 2 of the NFL regular season.

“I’m kind of disappointed he went on to be a GM in our division because I like John a lot,” Carroll said Wednesday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters.

“He asked a lot of questions – more than most guys do. We went into a lot of depth. So he does know how we think. Whether that’s becoming part of what they (the 49ers) do, I don’t know.”

Carroll said he is not surprised that Lynch yearned to return to the competitiveness of the NFL. After all, Lynch was a nine-time Pro Bowl safety with Tampa Bay and Denver. In looking back on it, Carroll can see that Lynch had front-office aspirations.

“I don’t think there’s any question, the way he went about finding his information and getting answers to things,” Carroll said. “He was in-depth beyond where most guys go. He wanted to know why. And ‘What were you thinking?’ Those kinds of things. I didn’t really put it together. I thought he’d be doing Monday Night Football or something, some day.

“He was adding up his background and reservoir of information at the time. It makes sense it came out to get him a GM job.”

On the walls of John Lynch's office


On the walls of John Lynch's office

SANTA CLARA -- John Lynch’s office is on the second floor of the 49ers’ team offices with glass doors that lead to large balcony that overlooks the practice fields.

Lynch oversees the entire 49ers football operation from this vantage point.

On Wednesday, he spoke on “The 49ers Insider Podcast” about the significance of the items he has placed on the walls and shelves of his office.

From his desk, looking straight across to the room, is a photo of his four children, taken at Levi’s Stadium on the family’s first trip to Santa Clara after he was named general manager.

The family remained in San Diego during a busy offseason that included finalizing a 53-man roster that includes 31 players acquired since he took charge of the team's player personnel.

“You always want to be with your family,” Lynch said. “There’s a lot to be done, so when they’re not here, I just work.”

His son, Jake, was going to transfer to the Bay Area for his senior year of high school. Instead, he will remain at Cathedral Catholic, where he plays linebacker on a team that went 15-0 last season and won the Division I-AA California state championship.

“His guys had an intervention with him down there,” Lynch said. “One guy took him out, and the next thing you know, the whole team was there, saying, ‘You can’t leave.’ He decided to stay down for the first semester.”

It should be noted that Lynch’s 9-year-old daughter, Leah, warmed quickly to the idea of her father working for the 49ers. She is wearing a red 49ers T-shirt in the picture. She was the biggest critic of her father’s move to join a team that went 2-14 last season.

Said Lynch, “I think her thing was, ‘How’s this a good thing, Dad? The 49ers are horrible.’ With kids, you’re going to get the real deal.”

On a shelf behind Lynch’s desk is a football he acquired at an auction during Winter Fest, a fundraiser for the 49ers Foundation. Dwight Clark personally drew the X’s and O’s of “sprint right option” – the play on which he made “The Catch.”

“Dwight Clark’s fight with ALS is close to everyone because of what Dwight stands for, but close to me because I lost my mother in law a couple of years ago to ALS, so we’ve been involved in that fight,” Lynch said.

“First off, it’s really cool. It’s a diagram of 'The Catch' and signed by Dwight on a ball. But (the proceeds) also went to Dwight’s cause and his fight.”

Next to the football is a photo of Lynch and Ronnie Lott, then with the New York Jets, after a preseason game in 1995. Lynch was entering his second NFL season and his first as a starter. Lynch still remembers what Lott told him that night.

“I’d just become a starter,” Lynch said. “(Lott) said, ‘I watched some of your film from the end of last year. … You’re going to play at a high level in this league. You’re going to be a star.’ Hearing that from Ronnie Lott gave me everything I needed to be excited.”

Another item of particular significance is a small bronze plaque that his father gave him. It reads: “There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he does not mind who gets the credit.”

CEO Jed York hired coach Kyle Shanahan and Lynch as a team, and awarded them with six-year contracts to figure things out and work together over the long term. The 49ers have been torn apart in recent years by the inability of general manager Trent Baalke and the head coaches to work together. Lynch said he believes the relationship with Shanahan will remain secure in good times and bad. 

“I’ve got no doubt that it will just because the foundation is so strong,” Lynch said. “And the other thing we genuinely like being around each other. I kind of dig what I learn from him about football. I think he feels the same way. We’ve got similar philosophies on success and just how you deal with things.

“At the same time, we aren’t exactly identical and we challenge each other. And we’re not afraid to challenge each other. That’s a good thing. It’s worked really well. We haven’t played a game, yet, though. We understand that. We’re looking very much forward to kicking it off against Carolina this Sunday, though.”