HOUSTON — The 49ers shocked the NFL on Sunday by hiring former Bucs and Broncos safety John Lynch as the team's general manager.
Lynch, 45, has no front-office experience, but his connection to former 49ers head coach Bill Walsh, whom he played for at Stanford, turned out to be a plus, as well as his ability to surround himself with a "great staff," 49ers CEO Jed York told the San Jose Mercury News.
The 49ers are expected to hire Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan as their head coach after Atlanta faces New England on Sunday at Super Bowl LI in Houston and pair him with Lynch.
Lynch has agreed to a six-year contract, according to ESPN.
"Obviously, I'm rooting very hard for him to succeed,'' said Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks, who with Lynch and Warren Sapp were the leaders of the Bucs defense from 1995-2003. "His leadership and work ethic is top notch. He transitioned well from the field to broadcasting and now I expect the same from the booth to the front office.''
Shanahan began his NFL career as the Bucs' offensive quality control assistant from 2004-05. But by then, Lynch had begun the second part of his career playing for Shanahan's father, Mike, and the Broncos.
Lynch is a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the third straight year. The class of 2017 will be elected Saturday at Super Bowl LI in Houston. He was named to nine Pro Bowls and was inducted into the Broncos and Bucs Ring of Honor last season.
Shanahan "is good" with Lynch's hiring, according to a Bleacher report. Lynch reportedly called Shanahan last week to offer his services.
Lynch has not been bashful about sharing his feelings about the 49ers decline over the past couple years. Shanahan will be the fourth head coach in as many seasons for San Francisco.
Two years ago, Lynch said, "with all due respect to Jim Tomsula, they let go of Jim Harbaugh, a tremendous coach. I think it's a failure of the organization."
Tomsula was fired after a 5-11 season in 2015. Chip Kelly went 2-14 in his only season with the Niners, losing the last 13 games.
One of the hardest-hitting safeties in the history of the NFL, Lynch played for 11 seasons with the Bucs and was a key component on their rise to becoming Super Bowl XXXVII champions. He played for the Broncos from 2004-07. In 15 pro seasons, Lynch had 1,051 tackles and 29 career interceptions.
Since retirement, he has served as an NFL analyst for Fox.
COLTS GET GM: The Colts hired Chris Ballard as general manager, the first time he has been a team's top decision-maker.
Ballard was chosen a little more than a week after owner Jim Irsay fired Ryan Grigson and after six candidates interviewed for the job.
"Chris has a solid reputation throughout the National Football League as a heavyweight executive and our extensive discussions with him confirmed that reputation," Irsay said in a statement.
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Ballard takes over a team that has missed the playoffs each of the past two seasons. Previously, he was the Chiefs' director of football operations.
He was hired by Kansas City in 2013 as director of player personnel. Ballard also spent 12 seasons with the Bears, primarily as an area scout.
Information from Times wires was used in this report.