The San Francisco 49ers made a surprising move this offseason when they hired John Lynch as their next general manager, replacing Trent Baalke at that spot. The former NFL safety and broadcast analyst for FOX Sports goes into the job with no front-office experience, something that doesn’t often happen.
Matt Millen, former GM of the Lions, made the same transition in the early 2000s, leaving the broadcast booth to head the team. It didn’t go well as he was fired after seven unsuccessful seasons, but there’s plenty Lynch can take away from Millen’s struggles. He’s using that to his advantage.
“Matt Millen and I had a great conversation the other day,” Lynch said Tuesday on 95.7 The Game. “I found it was very interesting to talk to him. He shared with me some of the things that he would’ve done differently. I think you can learn a little bit from everything and everyone, but ultimately you go to put your head down and go to work.”
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Lynch, along with new head coach Kyle Shanahan, have plenty of work to do this offseason. The 49ers’ roster is arguably the worst in the NFL, lacking talent at a multitude of spots. The biggest hole is at quarterback, where Colin Kaepernick figures to be moving on, as will Blaine Gabbert.
Millen isn’t the only guy Lynch has consulted with about managing a team. He also talked to another former player-turned-GM, John Elway.
“John Elway was a guy I bounced things off,” Lynch said. “He’s been there. He’s a good friend. I watched him kind of go through this in his own way. He is someone I’ve consulted with. You learn at a certain point that stops, because all of a sudden we’re competing with each other.”
Millen and Elway experienced very different levels of success in their respective positions with Elway still holding his job. He’s done a remarkable job with the Broncos’ roster, and that has to be the standard Lynch sets for himself in San Francisco.