SANTA CLARA — Walking up onto the stage to begin their first press conference of training camp, 49ers general manager John Lynch patted head coach Kyle Shanahan on the back before the two began answering questions from media.
Amid reports of friction in their relationship, both Lynch and Shanahan denied any front office dysfunction.
“That is what it is,” Lynch said in regards to the offseason speculation of discord. “The only thing I’ll say is that the respect just continues to grow and with what we’re doing … What I can assure people is that we really do like each other.”
The idea of “friction,” as it was initially reported, spawned from a draft recap piece written by Matt Miller of Bleacher Report in late April. According to Miller, Lynch and Shanahan had began bumping heads due to disagreements in each other’s roles and duties at their respective positions.
Shanahan did not mince words when responding to these claims that Miller reported came from sources around the team.
“For anyone to question our relationship is the stupidest thing ever,” he said. “Hang around us. It’s kind of a joke.”
Lynch and Shanahan also addressed a second report from Bleacher Report’s Tyler Dunne, who claimed that scouts within the organization were discontent with how their work was being evaluated and undermined.
According to the longform article, an anonymous former 49ers scout said that it was “demoralizing” to see work go undervalued.
“I think we have a really good process going on here.” Lynch said. “Two people have been charged with decisions to give this team the best opportunity to win and that’s Kyle and myself.”
As a result of the two stories, Lynch and Shanahan were forced to address the possibility of leaks within the building.
“There have been two stories that have been negative towards us and both came from the same spot,” Shanahan said. “That, to me, is a person who’s not here so I feel pretty good about that.”
Both Lynch and Shanahan are on the third year of their matching six-year contracts that each signed in 2017. While the injury to Jimmy Garoppolo put a kink in what could have been ahead-of-schedule success last season, there is no sense that the relationship between the two was strained, especially given the fact that the team was beset by multiple high-profile injuries that resulted in a 4-12 season.
“We communicate really well,” Lynch said, “on every facet of this football team, and that’s fun. It’s fun to work with someone you believe in and we’ll leave it at that.”