Well, this is certainly a little random something out of the blue on a Friday afternoon. Twitter user @49erholics from 49ersnews.com tweeted out a link to an interesting radio interview involving former San Francisco 49ers head coach Dennis Erickson. He talked about a lot of topics, but early in the interview he got a chance to talk about his time with the 49ers.
To say he’s still a bit salty is an understatement. He said leaving Oregon State was the dumbest mistake he ever made, and at the 1:05 mark he gets a chance to go into the 49ers situation back in 2003. He makes it sound like the job was an opportunity to get back in the league, and in his haste to take the job, he did not fully investigate it. Back when he was hired, he talked about how quickly the hiring happened over the course of four days, which would certainly lend credence to this notion that he did not really investigate the job thoroughly.
In describing the problems, he talked about the salary cap issues, and the involvement of John York, a non-football guy. He even had a crack about Jed York starting to get involved at that point as well. All told, he definitely regrets having taking the job.
Here’s the transcript of his 49ers comments, and you can listen to the audio below.
On the decision to go to the 49ers:
“[W]hat I didn’t do was investigate team. And what was going on, ownership-wise, and just a bunch of different things. I went because it was the 49ers, an opportunity to get back in the league. The reality of it, as once I got there, I was there about a week, I almost called [Oregon State AD Bob] De Carolis to see if I could come back. It was a situation that wasn't very good. We were over the cap, it was not a good time. That's when Eddie wasn’t in the league anymore, and they brought in Denise’s husband York to run it, now his kid’s running it. It was a bad situation. We didn't have a lot of great players, and we were over the cap. It was really an impossible job, as you found out after I left. I think there were three coaches before Harbaugh came in there. Finally after about 8 or 9 years it worked itself out. I didn’t do a very good job of investigating the job to be honest.
On Terry Donahue being divisive guy with non-football owner, but it still being the 49ers:
Yea, it really was. I grew up in Everett, Seattle area, and there wasn’t a pro team when I grew up. 49ers were the team back in those days ... Terry did a good job. No problem with what Terry did. We just didn't have the money to compete. My second year there we were $20-something-million over the cap I find out. So we had to get rid of anybody who was a player, and that second season was impossible. They thought you’d have about five or six years. It just goes to show you don't take a job unless you investigate all the things involved. And then, John York, you know he wasn't a football guy at that time and Jed had his nose in it a little bit, so it was not a good situation.