Kyle’s Shanahan’s success on the field speaks for itself. Shanahan is one of the premier coaching minds in the league, and successfully played a major role in rebuilding the culture of a 49ers organization that was teetering on laughingstock of the league status prior to his arrival in 2017.
One of the primary reasons Shanahan has been able to cultivate sustained success in San Francisco stems directly from his ability to earn the respect of his players by employing a hands-on approach that is focused on being direct and up front with those in the locker room.
While doing an interview with the Ringer’s Kevin Clark during Super Bowl media week, 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel provided some insight about what that relationship with Shanahan is like from a players' perspective:
“You don’t see too many coaches like him. In the aspect of he prioritizes players before everything. He asks us our input on everything that goes on with the team, he don’t make no decisions on his own.”
Clark followed up by asking Samuel if that direct approach was what led to Samuel to develop the appreciation that he now has for Shanahan:
“Yeah. The amount of respect I have, me and Kyle are like this. Like I know so much about Kyle, you’d think he was like my pops or something. How much we talk, he will probably call me within the next couple of days and he in Cabo chilling with his family, we got that type of relationship.”
Kyle Shanahan yelled at rookie Deebo Samuel so much over play details that Deebo wore a dark visor to practice so Kyle couldn’t see Deebo cursing his coach out under his breath. Here’s how they grew close out of that. All this and more on tonight’s SND. pic.twitter.com/Pajglrw7GP— Kevin Clark (@bykevinclark) February 8, 2023
When I spoke with George Kittle a few days ago, he echoed a very similar sentiment about the direct nature of Shanahan’s approach within the locker room. Kittle made it a point to emphasize that Shanahan is a straight shooter even when the conversations might be tough, and reiterated that is not something that happens in every NFL locker room.
Here is what Kittle had to say about it:
“One thing everybody in our locker room appreciates is he is not much of a B.S.er, he’s going to tell you to your face what it is. Hey maybe this is why you aren’t on the field, this is what you have to do to get on the field, this is what you have to do to get the ball. He’s very honest, he’s up front with you, he won’t hide anything. When you have a head coach that you can believe in and know he’s not saying anything about you behind your back, that’s huge because that’s not everywhere in the NFL.”
While he hasn’t reached the ultimate goal of hoisting the Lombardi, Shanahan has successfully cultivated a culture that has the potential to have the 49ers be a contender for many years to come.
You’re never going to be a consistent winner in the National Football League without having the respect of your players. The backing of two All-Pro stars speaks volumes to the degree of mutual reverence that exists between Shanahan and his players within the 49ers locker room.