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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


Tom Rathman discusses his departure from 49ers on KNBR

Feb 14, 2017 at 11:44 AM


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When Kyle Shanahan was named the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, he brought along Atlanta Falcons running backs coach Bobby Turner. He was making good on a promise to take Turner along if he ever became an NFL head coach. The only problem was that the 49ers already had one of the league's best and most well-respected running backs coaches on staff from the previous regime. Actually, from the previous five regimes – and that's just during this past stint with the 49ers.

Shanahan was such a fan of Rathman that he wanted to keep him on staff. Rathman wasn't interested in another role though and didn't want to make things awkward with the current coaching staff, so he did the classy thing and took himself out of the equation. Rathman decided to leave the 49ers.

The former 49ers running backs coach joined the "Murph & Mac" show on KNBR and discussed his decision to leave the organization.

"I do believe that they have it right now, to be honest with you, with Kyle going in there and John Lynch – two great football knowledge guys," Rathman said of the changes. "You talk about John Lynch – played the game the way the game's supposed to be played. The demeanor is there. The style of coaching with Kyle is there. He's a very dynamic, young coach coming up and I think they'll do well.

RELATED Tracker: Kyle Shanahan's 49ers Coaching Staff

"What happened to me is very similar to what happens all throughout the league. You get a new head coach. He's got his guys that come with him. He promised Bobby Turner a job to coach running backs. It just happened to be the same position I was coaching. He was going to bring Bobby in to coach running backs and that's great. He should feel comfortable with the guys that he brings in here and that he works with. I just thought – taking a step back – I didn't want to have anybody to feel uncomfortable with me being there so I just decided to take a step back and let these guys go. Let them develop their own relationships with these guys, mentor them, and they're in good hands.

"Bobby Turner's a damn good coach so Carlos [Hyde] is in great hands. Nothing but positive things to say. What works out best for me is to try and go out and get another running back coaching job. Unfortunately, that's going to be someplace else but that's just the nature of the business."

Rathman went on to say that when he sat down with Shanahan, he didn't feel that there was going to be a comfortable role within the staff for him. While he has received interest from collegiate programs, Rathman said that he wants to wait for an opportunity in the NFL to coach running backs.

Rathman was asked about running back Carlos Hyde. "The thing that was the most disappointing this year was the ability to take care of the football," Rathman said. "This was the worst season that I've been around in 28 years of football as far as taking care of the football for some reason and it started in training camp and we emphasized it every day, about squeezing it, high and tight, taking care of it with the clasp hand. I mean, there are things that we taught and they just didn't get carried over into games and that was probably the most disappointing thing – is the fumbles.

"If you look at the history of running backs that I worked with over the last 18 years, with regard to last year, I don't think anybody can match what we've done as a group of running backs, but last year, for some reason, we were jinxed. That was the most disappointing thing but Carlos is going to be a fine player. He's been in the league three years so he's right where he needs to be. He's at the prime. He's been coached the way the game should be played – I believe – the last three years. He's got to grow, keep growing, and stay healthy."

Rathman went on to say that Hyde's style of play likely contributes to his injuries. He says that Hyde is a physical runner and has to be smarter going into contact with defensive players.

You can listen to the entire interview on KNBR.
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