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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Gary Plummer: 49ers new regime hires came from above Jed York

Aug 18, 2017 at 7:30 AM--

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Former San Francisco 49ers linebacker Gary Plummer joined the "Taylor Price Talk" podcast this week to share his thoughts on the course of the franchise, which he very much approves of. Following some frustrating seasons, Plummer feels that the 49ers are finally headed in the right direction.

During the interview, Plummer didn't mince words in regards to his feelings toward 49ers CEO Jed York. While he had some negative comments to make, he feels that York got the most recent regime hires right. He felt that new 49ers general manager John Lynch was a "damn good" hire and believes his football background will be an asset for the franchise's ability to improve.

Plummer also likes the hiring of Kyle Shanahan as the team's new head coach. He loves that Shanahan, who is the son of former 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan, was around during the franchise's last championship run. He was 15 years old when the 49ers won Super Bowl XXIX – a team that Plummer was a part of.

Plummer said that he remembers the former ball boy for the team. The younger Shanahan was a "sponge" and soaked up knowledge during his early years with the 49ers when other kids would have just been running around and having fun.

"He wasn't just running around, having fun," Plummer explained. "He was paying attention to stuff. When you grow up around greatness, like he did, I think that's your expectation, not only for yourself but your staff and for your players."

The former 49ers linebacker also shared some information he has heard regarding the hiring process of Lynch and Shanahan.

"I'm going to drop a little bombshell on you right here," Plummer said. "I've heard that this hire was not the hire of Jed York. I heard that it came from a much higher source than Jed York and you might think to yourself, 'Woah, what's higher than Jed York?' How about Jed York's mother (Denise DeBartolo York)?

"I'm just telling you that's what I've heard and sources have said she has been embarrassed. Now, remember, this is a woman who grew up with her father (Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr.) owning the Pittsburgh Penguins and I think she loved hockey and she was involved in – I think they might have even won the Stanley Cup when they were there in terms of ownership. But seeing that and seeing her brother (Edward J. DeBartolo, Jr.) win championship after championship after championship, winning is in her blood."

It's not inconceivable to believe that Denise DeBartolo York, who is the principal owner of the 49ers, was in some way involved in the final decision to hire Lynch and Shanahan. What Plummer appears to be suggesting, according to what he has heard, is that Jed didn't have the final say.

It has been well-reported that Jed, along with EVP of football operations Paraag Marathe, spearheaded the interview process with head coach candidates. There were no reports that Jed's mother was that ingrained in the process. In fact, Lynch traveled with York and Marathe – in secret – to the group's interview with Shanahan in Atlanta after staying overnight at the 49ers CEO's home. Reports also stated that it was Shanahan who put Lynch on York and Marathe's radar.

There has been no real evidence to suggest that Denise was the one calling the shots in the hiring process but Plummer insists that it wasn't Jed's call.

"I believe that this hire wasn't by Jed York," Plummer continued. "That it was by Denise and Denise isn't going to want any of the credit because she's not that kind of person and she knows that her son loves that kind of credit. And I'm sure, being a good mom, she'll let him have it."

You can listen to the entire interview with Plummer on the "Taylor Price Talk" podcast.

Of course, we know that Denise was not completely uninvolved in the process. In January, Mike Silver of NFL Network reported that Denise interviewed Seattle Seahawks assistant head coach Tom Cable on the phone for about an hour after his name surfaced as a legitimate candidate for the 49ers' head coach job. According to Silver, Cable pulled out of the running because he became convinced the 49ers had informally offered the job to Shanahan and that the then-Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator planned to accept – which he did following Super Bowl LI.

Regardless of how the hiring process was managed, Lynch and Shanahan are now the men in charge of turning the 49ers franchise around and, so far, they appear to have a good grasp on what needs to be done. By all accounts, York, Lynch, and Shanahan appear to get along wonderfully and the chemistry within the organization seems stronger than it has been in a long time. At this point, it doesn't really matter how the trio got there.

Plummer spent 12 seasons in the NFL and four seasons (1994-1997) with the 49ers. He was signed by the 49ers prior to the 1994 season after spending the previous eight seasons with the San Diego Chargers. Plummer retired following the 1997 season with 1,029 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and six interceptions over his career.

Plummer spent the next 13 years as a color analyst for KNBR during 49ers game broadcasts but was fired in 2011 after making some questionable comments and being openly critical of the team on-air.


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