John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan quips about Robert Saleh potentially poaching 49ers assistants

Dec 17, 2020 at 8:40 AM--

San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh appears to be on a course for a head-coaching job, whether it be with the Detroit Lions or any other organization. Matt Barrows of The Athletic reported this week that he and head coach Kyle Shanahan already had discussions on which offensive coaches Saleh would be allowed to poach from the 49ers staff.

That prompted Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area to ask Shanahan about those discussions. Needless to say, the 49ers coach is trying to keep his staff as intact as possible and minimize any departures.

"I keep telling him he's not allowed to take anyone," Shanahan jokingly told reporters on Wednesday. "Sometimes I can ease up a little bit on that, but I usually set the bar very low, and then we'll see what happens after."

Of course, Shanahan can no longer block a non-play-calling assistant from being promoted to a coordinator gig with another team. That means Saleh could select someone like run-game coordinator Mike McDaniel or passing-game coordinator Mike LaFleur, two of Shanahan's most-trusted game planners, to be his offensive coordinator. Saleh could even bring along someone from his current staff to be his defensive coordinator.

Then there is the possibility of someone from John Lynch's staff heading to Saleh's new team to be its general manager. VP of player personnel Adam Peters immediately comes to mind.

"Yeah, Saleh and I talk about everything," Shanahan said. "We've known each other for a long time. We obviously work together, and he's a good friend of mine. So, that's stuff we're constantly talking about. When it comes up, once you talk about it, there's not much to keep talking about. You never know until you see what opportunity he gets, and you see what his choices are."

Saleh was a candidate to land the Cleveland Browns job in January. Instead, Kevin Stefanski was selected. Shanahan joked then that Saleh luring away members of the 49ers staff could put a strain on their friendship.

"That would have been a tough part on our relationship," Shanahan said on January 13. "I would have never talked to him again if he did that."

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