The San Francisco 49ers’ lengthy hiring process at one point had them reportedly close to hiring Josh McDaniels as their next head coach. We’ll never know exactly how close they were, but Louis Riddick thinks it was incredibly close. Riddick was paired with McDaniels as a potential general manager, and he said it was “very, very, very, very, very, vey close” to happening.
Riddick made an appearance on ESPN Radio to discuss the situation. The timing of it came after some modest controversy about comments Riddick recently made. During an appearance on ESPN, he ranked out the situations inherited by each of the six new head coaches. He ranked the 49ers situation dead last.
Back on January 2, not too long after Riddick was first mentioned as a potential candidate, he detailed on SportsCenter why he thought the 49ers might be the most appealing job. He talked about having a clean slate and the ability to kind of do what they want with the situation.
People called him on his most recent comments, suggesting that since he did not get the job, he was changing his tune. While the optics of this do look bad, I think we are also talking a bit about semantics. In January, Riddick thought the job was appealing because it was a blank slate. If you’re then ranking teams based on what you inherit, you could make an argument that you’re inheriting virtually nothing, which makes it a worse situation. There is a discussion to be had about the cap space and draft picks, but talent-wise, it’s a bad situation. I would think the wide open nature of it counts as making it a better situation, but I can kind of get the point he might have been trying to make.
Whatever the case, Riddick didn’t get the job, and he will stick to his media work for the time being. Here’s a transcript of his 49ers comments.
“That was very, very, very, very, very, vey close. The way that was setup was, look, San Francisco was very sensitive about the relationships between head coach and general manager there. That’s something that they, right from the get go, made a priority. They were trying to look for matches as far as head coaches and general manager. It wasn’t a very well kept secret — not that it was a secret, anyway — that Josh McDaniels and myself are very close. We share a lot of the same philosophical ideas, just about all of them basically. Because he was really taught the game at the highest level by Nick Saban and Bill Belichick just like I was. And that was pretty much the deal going in. It was either going to be him and I, or it wasn’t. And Josh for his reasons, his personal reasons, decided that now wasn’t going to be a good time. And when he decided that, I was onboard with that obviously. Therefore I wasn’t in the running anymore.
“So, I know there are a lot of people out there who, based on some things I was saying on some shows that we did about how San Francisco had the most work to do, which they do, but they have a lot of assets to turn that team around — it’s going to take some time. People are like, ‘Oh, it’s sour grapes. He’s salty.’ And I’m like, look man, most of the time when people are commenting, it’s amazing how people talk about stuff they don’t know anything about. But I wasn’t salty about it at all. It was a great opportunity. I had a great interview with Paraag Marathe and the owner, Jed York, in New York City. It went awesome. Got a lot of great feedback from ‘em. I thought that my plan was rock solid. And if it was something that would’ve worked out for Josh and myself, you know overall, then we would be there. But it had nothing to do with other than the fact that the pairing, it just wasn’t the right time for us to do that. And that’s fine. That’s fine.
“It’s still something that I’m interested in for sure. Once you go through that kind of process, it really kind of reignites all the things — like, we’ve been talking on TV for the past couple years — but it really kinda fans the flames because you’re talking about it in a very real sense. So, if the right situation comes up, I still want to work with Josh McDaniels. I think he’s fricking fantastic. The guy understands football like you wouldn’t believe. He’s gonna be dynamite when he gets another opportunity to be a head coach, and I’m convinced more than ever that I myself, from a general manager standpoint, have a plan that I know, I believe will work. Especially if it’s with the right kind of people, and Josh McDaniels is the right kind of people. So, we’ll see what happens in the future.”