SANTA CLARA, Calif. — As the San Francisco 49ers await word on the potential loss of one key member of their coaching staff, they made a significant addition Friday. The Niners are hiring former Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn to their recently opened assistant head coach position, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Lynn comes to San Francisco despite multiple NFL and college offers, sources told Schefter. But with the 49ers, Lynn, who spent last season as the Detroit Lions‘ offensive coordinator, is returning to his roots.
A former NFL running back, Lynn played two seasons with the 49ers (1995-96) and played for the Denver Broncos and coach Mike Shanahan from 1997 to ’99, winning a pair of Super Bowls in the process. Shanahan, of course, is the father of 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan.
Kyle Shanahan was the ball boy for those Broncos teams that Lynn played on. Before the Niners played the Chargers in September 2018, Shanahan said this about Lynn: “Anthony is someone I’ve been close to my whole life since he was a player. I think I was in ninth grade when I got to know him. I’ve always kept in touch with him since he got into coaching. He’s been one of the most impressive people I’ve been around. I know he was always one of my dad’s favorite players. He was always one of my favorite people as a kid, and he hasn’t changed in the last 20 years. He’s a person I consider a very close friend.”
The addition of Lynn brings at least one major change to Shanahan’s coaching staff after tight ends/assistant head coach Jon Embree departed earlier this week. And more staff alterations could be on the way.
San Francisco offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel was in Miami on Friday for a second interview with the Miami Dolphins for their head-coaching position. McDaniel, who has been one of the primary architects of the Niners’ rushing attack, is considered a top candidate for that job.
Lynn brings a wealth of NFL experience, particularly in the running game. With Lynn as Buffalo’s running backs coach and assistant head coach in 2015, and interim head coach and offensive coordinator in 2016, the Bills finished first in the NFL in rushing yards per game, yards per carry and rushing touchdowns in both seasons.