For the first time since 2008, the 49ers will play a football season without running backs coach Tom Rathman.
After some conversations, Rathman and Kyle Shanahan were unable to find “a comfortable role” moving forward. The new head coach has brought in longtime running backs coach Bobby Turner to hold the post.
A few days into his job, Shanahan is already realizing how many excruciating decisions he’s going to make that’ll put people out of the football business.
Rathman called into the Murph and Mac show on Tuesday to discuss what went into the decision of him walking away from the 49ers.
“It’s a volatile industry and the bottom line is you have to win football games,” Rathman started off. “Teams that are successful, you’re not having coaching chances. This has kind’ve been a wheel-go-round, so to speak, just the last three four years with the head coaching changes here.
“I do believe they have it right now, to be honest with you. With Kyle going in there and John Lynch. I mean, two great football knowledge guys. You talk about John Lynch, he played the game the way the game was supposed to be played. So the demeanors there, the style of coaching when Kyle was there. He’s a very dynamic young coach coming up and I think they’ll do well.
“What happened to me is very similar to what happens all around the league. You get a new head coach, he’s got his guys that come with him. He promised Bobby Turner a job to coach running backs. It just happened to be the same position I was coaching. He was going to bring Bobby in to coach running backs. And that’s great, you know what I’m saying. He should feel comfortable with the guys he bring in here and works with. I just thought taking a step back, I just didn’t want to have anyone feeling uncomfortable with me being there. So I just decided to take a step back and let these guys go. Let them develop their own relationships with these guys, mentor them. And they’re in good hands. Bobby Turner is a damn good coach. Carlos (Hyde) is in great hands. Nothing but positive things to say. What works out best for me is to try and get another running back coaching job. Unfortunately, that’s going to be some place else. But that’s just the nature of the business.”
There’s a ton more on the podcast, including Rathman saying he won’t go coach in college. He also reiterated there wasn’t going to be a role that was comfortable for him on this staff. Serving as Turner’s assistant running backs coach is too steep of a demotion for a man as accomplished as Rathman. Philosophies would collide.
But again, back to Shanahan. He’s literally about to make a decision on every single player on this roster. He couldn’t go wrong with either Turner or Rathman leading that running backs room.
This is just a reminder how much is on the plate on the first-time head coach in the middle of February. His new reported defensive coordinator Robert Saleh is inexperienced and the franchise quarterback answer is a going to be a bit of a maze trying to solve in just one month.
Shanahan can handle it. But the 49ers are further behind than any team in the NFL right now.