Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young is on hand for the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament up in Lake Tahoe, and like everyone else, he is making the media rounds. On the way to his tee time Friday morning, he stopped at the KNBR booth to chat briefly with Murph & Mac.
Young got a chance to discuss the changes in Santa Clara, and he is excited by the hiring of Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch. The hosts asked Young if they had been in touch, and he confirmed they had. He went to discuss how they understand what the 49ers do thanks to their connection with Mike Shanahan.
“So, I think that the great news, and people say, ‘oh, that’s self-serving,’ but I truly don’t believe it is. We have a history, maybe top four organizations with a history like this in the league. And we are now going to try to use all of that to inspire the guys on the field today. That’s a smart thing to do. Those guys are cousins to the original 20 years. John understands it because he was in Denver, Kyle understands it because … his dad was here. So they know what it’s supposed to feel like, they know what it’s supposed to look like, and I think they’ve completely embraced it.
“John especially has just said, ‘We are, the first thing these players are going to hear about is what we used to be like, what the standard is. What we expect everyone to be a 49er, what is a 49er?’ Like when I’m in Pittsburgh, and I’m in the tunnel, and they’re introducing all the guys, all the players from the past. They might even have a lousy defense, they might be bottom half of the league, but they draw on it. It’s like, it’s incrementally helpful to draw on it. And I think these guys are going to do all they can to draw on it.”
Young seems to be a particularly big fan of Lynch. Murph said Lynch seemed like Young’s type of guy, and Young explained what he likes about Lynch.
I really admire John, as a human being, as a leader, as somebody who’s going to be very open, transparent — players that leave, even the guys that get cut, I’m sure will say, ‘Welp, I got cut. I didn’t make the team, but they respected me. They gave me —’ You think, oh that’s obvious, everybody does that. Everybody treats people well. Everybody does the right thing. No, not everybody. And so, the truth is, we got a culture now that’s gonna feed excellent. Now, you gotta have great players, but at some point they gotta put that locker room back together, where they have those five to seven to nine to ten great leaders in the locker room. And then it doesn’t matter what play you call, it doesn’t matter what defense you run, you’re gonna play well.
It is not surprising to hear praise for Lynch. He’s got the kind of personality that rubs off well on others. His work in the media will only reflect well on him, and likely buys him some time if things don’t turn around as quickly as he might like. There is no doubting his work ethic and his football IQ, but it’s not a simple task turning around a franchise. The past six months have me optimistic, but we’ll get some real answers when the team finally gets into game action next month.