The Niners ended their season as the most intriguing story in pro football. They aren’t eligible for any automatic exemptions from being chosen for HBO’s Hard Knocks: They didn’t make the playoffs, don’t have a brand-new coach and haven’t been on the show in the last 10 years. So, all signs point to them being a highly sought-after option for the show’s producers.
The issue? The 49ers don’t want that kind of attention.
“It’s not something we would be really excited about,” general manager John Lynch told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco. “I love the show, but I think some things are best left behind closed doors. I fundamentally have a problem with cutting players and things of that nature [on camera]. It’s not something we’d be thrilled about.”
Lynch’s sensitivity to things that are important to players is one of the benefits of having him as general manager. When he and head coach Kyle Shanahan took over, they made it a practice to both be present when they release players — no matter how far up or down the depth chart. It sounds like an inconsequential thing to do, but it matters to players.
And in a league where the players’ needs are often treated as afterthoughts, that kind of attitude will go far in luring free agents.