SANTA CLARA — Four days after the Green Bay Packers fired long-time head coach Mike McCarthy — three weeks aways from closing out his thirteenth season in Green Bay — several rumors have surfaced in regards to who will be his replacement in 2019.
Of the many names that have come up as potential candidates, former Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan has been one of them. According to his son, current 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, convincing dad to take the job won’t be all that easy.
“He’s retired,” Kyle said on Wednesday afternoon. “So, they’d have to convince him very hard to come out of retirement … I think he still likes coaching and loves football. But I think that window has passed for him, I think, after what he went through in Washington.”
For the last five years, Mike Shanahan has been enjoying the luxuries of retirement after being fired as the Redskins’ head coach in 2013, in part thanks to a 3-13 season the year after leading Washington to its first playoff appearance since 2007. Even though his father’s last memory of the NFL isn’t too fond, Kyle says there are far more good things to reminisce on during his dad’s tenure in the NFL, specifically in Denver, where Mike coached for 13 years, as the 49ers get set to host the Broncos on Sunday.
As the second-year head coach took a trip down memory lane, he spoke about the time he used to spend with his dad on NFL sidelines and even at the homes of NFL legends.
“It was a great time,” Kyle said. “[The Broncos] won their first Super Bowl my senior year in high school, which was real neat. That was back when they didn’t have wireless cords.
“I was always the cord boy, holding my dad’s cords which got made fun of a lot for it, but it was neat to be up in front and personal with everything.”
Kyle also mentioned how he would spend Thanksgiving days at the home of Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway when he was a young child, around the age of five.
While Mike would wind up leaving Denver in 2008, the peak of his success was long behind him after winning back-to-back Super Bowls in 1997 and 1998. Between 1999 and 2013, Mike Shanahan made the playoffs five times, only winning postseason one game during that span.
Along the way, Kyle says he would assess each and every game his father coached, praising the things he called correctly and critiquing the things he could have improved on.
“No matter how busy he was, he had to make sure that he set some time aside to spend about 20 minutes to answer or return my phone call,” Kyle said. “All the things that he did right and did wrong. He always took it.”
Now 38-years old and coaching a team of his own, Kyle says that Mike does the same thing to him after each and every 49ers game. The difference now: Kyle listens to his dad more than his dad listened to him.
Kyle also addressed the possible scenario of coaching against his father, which is something that he has never had the chance to do as a head coach.
“We played against each other as coaches,” Kyle said. “I was a quarterback coach at Houston when I got to play him when he was in Denver. But I didn’t know he was being mentioned [for the Green Bay job] … My dad and I talk football all the time. But, we don’t really talk like that.”
While Mike has yet to officially comment on the chance of coming out of retirement and make a return to the NFL, Kyle says his father has settled into his current life quite well.
“I think as the years have passed, now I think he’s very content with where he’s at,” Kyle said. “He’s enjoying life and being a real good grandpa and annoying the heck out of my mom.”
– 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin made his return to practice after being absent for the last two weeks due to an undisclosed personal reason.
“I’m just happy that he’s doing better, good enough to be back in the building,” Shanahan said.
Goodwin was unavailable for comment on Wednesday but is expected to speak at some point during the week.