The San Francisco 49ers interviewed Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan for their head coach opening and Minnesota assistant general manager George Paton for their GM vacancy.
Team CEO Jed York met with both candidates on Friday as part of his cross-country tour of interviews as he seeks to replace coach Chip Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke following a 2-14 season that tied the worst mark in franchise history.
The 49ers have announced interviews with five candidates overall, with York meeting Wednesday with Buffalo Bills interim coach Anthony Lynn about the coaching job and Thursday with Green Bay director of football operations Eliot Wolf and Packers director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst about becoming general manager.
York said he was open to hiring either the coach or general manager first.
Shanahan is the son of two-time Super Bowl winning head coach Mike Shanahan, who also won a title as offensive coordinator in San Francisco in 1994.
Kyle Shanahan’s stock as a candidate has climbed as his Atlanta offense has flourished . Atlanta led the NFL in scoring, averaging 33.8 points per game, and quarterback Matt Ryan was picked as a first-team AP All-Pro on Friday.
Shanahan is eligible to interview this week during the Falcons’ bye but can’t be hired until after Atlanta’s season is finished.
Shanahan got his first NFL job as an offensive quality control coach in Tampa Bay in 2004. He also served as an offensive coordinator in Houston, Washington and Cleveland before arriving in Atlanta last season.
Paton has 20 years of NFL personnel experience and has turned down interviews for GM openings in the past but decided to meet with the 49ers. He has worked most of his career alongside Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, assisting him in Chicago, Miami and for the past 10 years in Minnesota.
York said the primary goal in the search is finding a coach and general manager who can work well together. The Niners got rid of coach Jim Harbaugh following the 2014 season in part because of conflicts with Baalke. Harbaugh led the team to its only successful stretch of the past 15 years with trips to the NFC title game in his first three seasons from 2011-13 and a Super Bowl appearance.
Meanwhile, Denver Broncos general manager John Elway began his third coaching search in six seasons with a visit to Kansas City to interview Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub.
Elway will also travel to Atlanta this weekend to meet with Shanahan, whose team, like Toub’s, has a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Toub, 54, also is scheduled to meet with the Chargers, and Shanahan is expected to meet with the Rams, 49ers and Jaguars about their head coaching vacancies.
Elway’s docket also includes a visit next week with Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph. If Miami beats Pittsburgh on Sunday, that interview will be in Florida. Otherwise, the Broncos could fly him in.
Joseph impressed Elway during an interview the last time Denver’s head coaching job was open. When Gary Kubiak got the nod, the Broncos tried to hire Joseph as defensive coordinator but the Bengals wouldn’t let him out of his contract and that job went to Wade Phillips instead.
Of the half-dozen head coach openings, Denver’s is probably the most attractive. The Broncos boast the resources, championship culture and a defense that led them to a Super Bowl parade just 11 months ago.
Tannehill nears return
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill practiced on a limited basis and might be available next week if his team advances to the second round of the playoffs.
Tannehill worked with the scout team in his first practice since being sidelined against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 14 because of a sprained left knee. He has been ruled out of Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh, and 10-year veteran Matt Moore will make his first playoff start.
Before practice, Miami waived backup defensive end Jason Jones, signaling four-time Pro Bowler Mario Williams will likely make his playoff debut this week as a reserve.
Around the league
Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Ladarius Green sat out practice, putting his availability for Sunday’s playoff game against Miami in doubt. … Jarvis Landry’s post-touchdown celebration in a game against New England last weekend came with a hefty price tag: The NFL fined the Miami Dolphins wide receiver $48,618. … Packers wide receiver Davante Adams was fined $12,154 for celebrating a touchdown score against Detroit with a 360-degree dunk over the goal post, a move the league outlawed a couple of years ago.
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