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Peter King gives unique insight into Kyle Shanahan, John Lynch relationship

Dec 5, 2023 at 2:18 PM--

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This article was first published by Audacy, written by Ryan Gilbert, and syndicated with permission.

The San Francisco 49ers have turned their franchise around over the several years. The changing of the guard in 2017 with John Lynch as general manager and Kyle Shanahan as head coach has led to three NFC Championship Game appearances in the last four years, and another one could be in the cards.

NFL Insider Peter King joined the Audacy podcast "49ers Webzone: No Huddle" and shared a story from the 2017 NFL Draft that shows the working relationship between Lynch and Shanahan.

"I see Kyle and I said, 'What are you looking at?' He goes, 'Looking at the running backs. I'm looking at this guy Joe Williams.' I said 'Who's Joe Williams?'" King recalled (20:43 in the player above). "He goes, 'Well, he's a running back that got really devalued because of some problems he had in college, but I absolutely love him.'"

Williams ran into trouble at Connecticut before transferring to ASA College and then Utah, where he broke out after unretiring from football. Those issues with the law made him undraftable for the 49ers – at least they thought.

"Kyle is looking at the board and he says, 'I really want this guy. I want him,'" King continued. "I forget, there was some color code or some dot next to him that meant the 49ers had an undraftable grade on him."

This conversation occurred after the completion of the third round on Friday night. Shanahan then went to Lynch and made his feelings known.

"Kyle goes in, talks to John Lynch, and the next morning, I phone Lynch and I talk to him about it," King said. "He goes, 'I talked to Joe Williams on the phone today for 30 minutes. I really wanted to interview him. Kyle wants him and we have to decide whether we're going to go for him.'"

Williams ran for 1,407 yards and 10 touchdowns in just nine games with Utah in the 2016 season. That included a 332-yard, four-touchdown game against UCLA and a 222-yard showing at the 2016 Foster Farms Bowl.

Shanahan and Lynch came together to ultimately select Williams with their fourth-round pick.

"You know what, he failed. That's not the story," King continued. "The story is that Kyle could've put his foot down and said, 'Damn it, we're going to be taking him.' But he didn't do that.

"He said, 'John, I really want to take him.' And Lynch talked to him and instead of being forced into taking him, John Lynch basically agreed with Kyle; maybe because he wanted to give this one to Kyle, but he agreed with Kyle and they picked him.

"That has been their working relationship. It's not a dictatorial thing from either side and that's one of the things that I think long-term bodes really well for how this relationship is going to work."

Over six years later, the relationship between Shanahan and Lynch has resulted in a perennial contender in San Francisco.

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