If you were anywhere near the internet on Tuesday, you may have come across Matt Miller of Bleacher Report and his report that there was friction between San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan.
This wasn’t a tweet or an individual article, it was in an article that encompasses the entire league with news tidbits. Once that hit, the collective groans began. Here we go again; history repeating itself from that whole Trent Baalke/Jim Harbaugh mess.
Except it might not be. Once it hit, some of the beat writers gave us what they know. The first of which was Matt Maiocco.
Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch signed matching six-year contracts in 2017. They both have four years remaining on their deals. There has been no indication of any acrimony or distrust from what I’ve personally seen and heard.— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoNBCS) April 30, 2019
That was Matt Maiocco’s first reaction and he’s as close to the 49ers as you might get. A short-time later Maiocco got this texted response from Shanahan:
Kyle Shanahan’s response:— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoNBCS) April 30, 2019
(Except he spelled out the entire word.)https://t.co/Bv5EmGpPMq
From there, things opened up:
From what I gather, the relationship between Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch remains positive. It sounds like everyone in the organization was surprised about B/R’s report today. #49ers— Chris Biderman (@ChrisBiderman) April 30, 2019
Again, the "friction" report may or may not have some truth to it. I don't know. I know I've seen no evidence of this.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) April 30, 2019
Also: this administration has been decidedly non-leaky for 2+ years and it's not going to be too hard for Shanahan and Lynch to figure out where this came from.
But I don't think there's much friction. Again, I'm just stating my opinion from my vantage point, which has been a pretty accurate one over the last few regimes.— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) April 30, 2019
Just got back from DC and am catching up on this. All I can say is I’ve never seen or heard of friction. I’ve seen many 49ers coach-GM pairings implode and they all initially surprised me. Still, Shanahan picked Lynch, & I saw no need for couples therapy during draft pressers https://t.co/xr0Vrm3Nrn— Cam Inman (@CamInman) April 30, 2019
When the Jim Harbaugh/Trent Baalke feud went down, Tim Kawakami was at the front of the reporting. Other reports followed from across the media indicating that whatever was built beforehand was getting torn down in 2014. While there were rebuttals, that situation was not the same as this. It felt like everyone was taken off-guard when a random PFT report showed up saying Harbaugh almost got traded to the Cleveland Browns.
If there really was friction, Shanahan and Lynch certainly deserve Oscars. If you watch the draft videos of the 49ers, the two seem to be quite civil and joining in on the fun when they get certain players (like the Aussie chant when they grabbed Mitch Wishnowsky). Harbaugh and Baalke were reported to not even want to be on an elevator together.
That said, The Harbaugh/Baalke tension came from out of nowhere in the 2014 offseason. All it took was a report of the aforementioned trade to kick things off and let everything pile on. Many may have denied the initial reports week after week, but there was no denying that something was very, very wrong as that season progressed, but the first three seasons? Not a peep.
This might have come from out of nowhere as well, and has the makings of more drama, but it doesn’t have the same explosive components as those reports from 2014. Unless you count selecting a punter in the 4th round of the 2019 NFL Draft as something very, very wrong.
Keep in mind, it also doesn’t mean that someone didn’t say it or that Miller’s report has no truth to it. The 49ers have had their pipes cleaned and tightened and the leakage has much improved since Baalke was let go as Kawakami said above. It all could boil down to someone, whether it’s a coach or scout, saying something they shouldn’t have. Given the responses, whatever you think is true or significant is up to you.