Jed and Trent’s fumble could hurt the 49ers for years

Feb 17, 2015 at 8:09 PM65


Forget the dismissal of Jim Harbaugh. Yes, that should factor into the conversation, but that has already been discussed to death. This is not yet another piece about Harbaugh. It is a piece about the men that could not coexist with Harbaugh. It is a piece focusing on San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York and general manager Trent Baalke. We are going to take a look at the mess of a hiring process that took place to find Harbaugh's replacement in San Francisco.

Most of the media has been shocked by what has occurred within the 49ers organization over the past couple of months. This was a team that emerged from mediocrity to once again become one of the elite teams in the league. Now, the near future for the team may not be as bright, fans may not be quick to forgive, and management only has itself to blame.

Long before Harbaugh's departure, the chatter from around the league and those still close to the organization was that defensive line coach Jim Tomsula would be his replacement. Of course, fans figured that this must be plan Z, right? The plan if all else failed. Surely there were better candidates that would be interested in taking over a roster as talented as the one in San Francisco.

The search for a new head coach took a lot longer than anyone thought it would. Even longer than the estimate that York and Baalke gave following the "mutual" separation of the team and its former head coach. This must have meant that they were either being very thorough or that they were waiting for someone specific on a playoff team to become eligible to interview. They had their eye on someone, which meant that a Tomsula scenario might not actually occur.

The team had shown interest in a number of candidates, from guys like former Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan to New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

The team even had defensive mastermind Vic Fangio, the team's defensive coordinator at the time, as an option. It was all but assured that if Tomsula leapfrogged him for the head coaching job, Fangio was as good as gone. However, Fangio admitted that he might have considered staying if someone like Shanahan were hired. He might have even stayed if someone else was hired, depending on how initial discussions with the new head coach went. This was reason to believe that the team's defensive coaching staff had at least a chance to remain strong after the transition.

Of course, few from the existing coaching staff were given any impression that they would be welcome to return. They were free to interview with other teams while their jobs in San Francisco remained in limbo.

Over the past week, a lot of information came out on what really went down in San Francisco during this whole coaching fiasco. Tim Kawakami really outdid himself during a podcast interview with Harbaugh, where the big take away was confirmation that his departure from the 49ers are far from mutual. After the team's week 15 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Harbaugh learned that he would not be allowed to return to the 49ers. Jed York repeatedly insisted that the divorce was mutual. Contrary to what York said, Harbaugh stated, "I didn't leave the 49ers. I felt like the 49er hierarchy left me."

This paints York as a liar and as someone that fans cannot trust.

Later, Kawakami revealed what really occurred with the 49ers' strange and abrupt ending to their pursuit of Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase.

The team had real interest in making Gase their next head coach. Alone, that did not give fans much reason to rejoice. Gase did not seem like an upgrade to his predecessor. However, it was a fresh face who possibly had fresh ideas and he had experience as an offensive coach — an area the 49ers struggled with this past season. Although, some questioned his skill level. After all, he had Peyton Manning to work with in Denver, but with the right staff around him, this could have been a good hire.

There were reports that the 49ers had a deal in place to make Gase the new head coach after Baalke met with him in Colorado for over seven hours. It even got down to the details on who Gase wanted as his coordinators. Here comes the painful part for 49ers fans. NFL Network's Albert Breer revealed on Monday that Gase wanted to keep Fangio on as the team's defensive coordinator if he was willing to remain onboard. If not, his backup plan included highly regarded secondary coach Vance Joseph of the Cincinnati Bengals.

It's probably no coincidence that the 49ers would later pursue Joseph to be their defensive coordinator after the Tomsula hire.

With the details in place, Baalke traveled back to the Bay Area and it looked like Gase would become the 49ers' new head coach. Gase was even willing to keep Tomsula on as the team's defensive line coach with a title promotion. After all, they worked together on Mike Nolan's staff in 2008.

Then something changed the next morning. Gase was informed by the 49ers that he could only have the job is Tomsula was named his defensive coordinator. Gase said n.

The 49ers then quickly announced the hiring of Tomsula as their new head coach and Gase was out. Of course, after all of this, Baalke would say that the head coaching job was offered to just one person — Jim Tomsula — and that the whole Gase portion was simply "part of the interview process." This was before more of the facts were reported and if you ask Gase, he may have a different answer.

Over the weekend, it was revealed that Fangio would have remained with the 49ers had Gase been hired as the head coach. So the team could have had Gase as the head coach, Fangio as the defensive coordinator, anyone but Greg Roman as the offensive coordinator, and Jim Tomsula would have remained on the staff.

Adding insult to injury, after all of this insanity, the 49ers tried to get Gase to join Tomsula's staff as the team's offensive coordinator. It wasn't enough to insult Fangio, but they had to do the same thing to Gase. The 49ers' loss would become the Chicago Bears' gain as Gase and Fangio landed there as the offensive and defensive coordinators.

After struggling to attract the interest of any external coaches, the 49ers would be left with Geep Chryst as their offensive coordinator and Eric Mangini as their defensive coordinator. Prior to this, Chryst was the quarterbacks coach and Mangini was the tight ends coach. Although, Mangini does have experience on the defensive side of the ball.

A possible coaching problem goes well beyond something that can simply be fixed in a couple of years with another hire. The 49ers will need to continue to focus on the NFL Draft to build the team because San Francisco may no longer be seen as desirable destination for free agents or even assistant coaches and being so close to the salary cap limit will prevent the team from acquiring free agents that are just looking for a pay day.

Last week, it was reported that the 49ers will have the third-toughest schedule in 2015. Just getting through the divisional games will not be a simple task. Every NFC West team is getting stronger. The Arizona Cardinals and the St. Louis Rams will likely be healthier and better than their 2014 counterparts and the Seattle Seahawks are the defending NFC Champions. Each team is loaded with talent. The biggest difference between those teams and the 49ers are the coaching staffs. Right now, Pete Carroll, Bruce Arians, Jeff Fisher and their coaching staffs have to be considered stronger than what is in San Francisco. At least on paper they are. When you ask yourself if the 49ers are closer to a first place or last place team within the division, the truthful answer may scare you.

Of course, this team could shock its critics. Stranger things have happened. Of course, we won't know that for over six months and all we can do right now is speculate.

No one is hoping for Tomsula to fail. Quite the contrary actually. When you learn more about him and his career, the guy is genuinely likable and you automatically want him to succeed. Fans are hoping that he succeeds. Players are hoping he succeeds. York and Baalke are probably praying for him to succeed. The problem is that he may have been thrown into a situation that he is not ready for. He bumbled through early interviews with the media in embarrassing fashion. Hopefully, he is a better head coach than interviewee. Hopefully he and his staff surprise us all.

If the 49ers stall out of the gate, no one is going to blame Tomsula. They will blame the men who put him in a position to fail. The same men who let their egos tear apart a strong 49ers team because they could not figure out a way to coexist with the previous regime.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


65 Comments

  • Anthony Torres
    Ever since they forces DeBartolo out, the team has sucked,except the few years Harbaugh coached. The management of the Niners has been the worst! They seem to have no idea where they want to go and their draft picks have been miserable failures. I will not spend my money nor time to watch the Niners on TV,it hurts too much,frankly.
    Aug 3, 2015 at 6:34 AM
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  • Buford
    An "owner" (he really ISN'T an owner!) who TWEETS like a 14 year old, (after the 49s lose a game) has no business running as NFL franchise. Go back to playing video games and leave football to a professional; this company is too big for him to handle. Has York even played football before? Boycott the stadium and don't watch them on TV...
    Apr 22, 2015 at 9:53 AM
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  • NJNIERFAN
    This team has had too much turnover and turmoil to succeed. Watching an owner and a GM sabotage a team is downright painful. But as fans, we do have the power. Send a message to Jed and Trent and don't purchase their tickets. I tell you this, if this season starts off on a bad note, the stadium will be reminiscent of candlestick 2004-10.
    Mar 3, 2015 at 10:46 AM
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  • WeWillWinAgain
    Great article. I feel it represents how the majority of Niner fans feel. Before JH was coach, this team had nearly a decade of turmoil. I foresee many struggles in the near future. Maybe this time the fans will actually get their request, and have Jed vacate the throne.
    Feb 25, 2015 at 11:47 AM
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  • zachameen
    I have lost interest in following 49ers.
    Feb 25, 2015 at 11:18 AM
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  • Ninerfan4907
    The team is setup to fail and Balke will be let go. Maybe by the end of this year, I hope. Tough time to be a Niners fan.
    Feb 24, 2015 at 4:55 PM
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  • Tgr...
    Didn't the niners have a stocked roster of very good players with mediocre coaches before jimbo and co. arrive? Those were non playoff years right? Guess what, a stocked roster with mediocre coaches will have a mediocre season. Hoping I'm wrong, but I don't think so... History will repeat itself. The yorks have fired and hired and fired winning coaches in seifert, mariucci and harbaugh. I'm frustrated. Super Bowl or bust. LMFAO!!! Thank goodness I didn't renew to spend 30k x2 for those SBL.
    Feb 21, 2015 at 9:00 PM
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  • TomD
    York's, Leave, get out of town, take your team with you! We're Californian's and have better things to do: Tahoe, Big Sur, Carmel, DisneyLand, Gaslight District in San diego, Siskiyou National Rain Forest, Beaches, Disneyland, California State Fair, Napa Wine Tasting, Armstrong redwoods park, Virginia City, Bodega Bay,Joshua National forest, Desolation Valley, Yosemite National Park, etc, etc.!!!
    Feb 20, 2015 at 5:05 PM
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  • Tomd
    Another thing about the York's/Baalke. They don't know this market. When owners asked the fans to build the Giant's a new stadium or we'll leave, the fans said Okay billionaires--leave. Guess what happened. The York's will be taught a lesson about California. The weather is too nice and money will be spent where a good time, not a bad time is happening!!!
    Feb 20, 2015 at 3:34 PM
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  • Tomd
    At least your owner tries to win, and win with a quarterback who can audiblize and make it happen when he sees 10 men on the line of scrimmage. Poor Frank gets hammered. But he has Baalke behind the 8-Ball now and can ask for millions because Baalke made running the focal point of his offense...When teams do that they do NOT RESPECT your passing game.
    Feb 20, 2015 at 2:54 PM
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  • Dallas Niner Fan
    TomD, York would never consider Shanahan or Holgren because he is an ageist. He is being sued for it.
    Feb 20, 2015 at 2:15 PM
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  • TomD
    And I Know someone is going to write, well we made the Nfc Championship 3 straight years and that's true. However did anyone watch Aaron Rogers under Mike McCarthey (Joe Montana's last offensive coordinator..I guess coaches don't matter do they York's), it was bad luck that cost them that game. Did you see the superbowl. Both teams use a lot of quick West coast Passes (Randy Cross said the Pats use lots of Walsh pass principles)..The point is, it was our defense that carried us for those years. Imagine if we Didn't play 1940's style offense, scored in red zone or listen to Baalke and Hired M. Shannahan or M. Holmgren as consultants this year with some influence!!!
    Feb 20, 2015 at 8:08 AM
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  • TomD
    Speaking of 8,9,10,or 11 players on or near the line of scrmmage how come the 49ers under Baalke never audibilize to a big time pass play....I hear Ted Robinson count the defenders in the box, or I read about 10,11 players there in the newspapers the next day. Joe Montana and Steve Young, AAron Rogers, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady John Elway, Brett Farve all made defenses pay big time when they were disrespected this way...The 49ers are the only team that still insists on running into a brick wall, without a play change...The percentages of keeping running backs healthy or making the playoffs with this strategy are slim compared to spreading the ball around (i.e., like a real West Coast Offense). Jeremiah Trotter,6'3", 260 lb. linebacker of Philadelphia on Monday Night football said after the 49ers ran 5 Straight run plays from their 5 yd. line, in '05 or '06, "I knew what was coming by their alignment."Baalke was with the team then...On the 4th staight dive, Trotter lined his helmet up on Gore's wrist and snapped it....This is what you get with Baalkes blockhead football, and it hasn't changed since the York's owned the team...Harbaugh's West Coast syle was ultra conservative hybrid
    Feb 20, 2015 at 7:47 AM
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  • TomD
    Gore can ask for the world--he has 49ers backed into a corner....As all 49er fans know, they have an unreliable passing game, and, anyone who has watched them over the years (closely as I do) realizes they don't get first year players on the field (offense or defense very often--Lamichael James, Patton, ellington, Dial,carradine-- although injured they still didn't appear in year two much). If the 49ers don't sign Gore teams won't need to put 8,9,10,11 in the box because they won't need to. If they don't sign Gore we could go 0-16!!!
    Feb 20, 2015 at 7:22 AM
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  • LM23Nun
    Before Harbaugh, the niners were a joke and now they will be the Rams of the last 3 yrs. Harbaugh brought toughness and a winning attitude the team lacked with Nolan and Singletary on the helm. I would have kept JH and fired Baalke, he was just jealous Coach H was getting all the credit for building up a winner. I'm glad Coach Carroll declined being the niners coach and took his talents up to Seattle!
    Feb 19, 2015 at 10:16 PM
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  • Eavalerio
    Good story really was captivated how everything went down. Ok... To every 49ers fan out there I know believe me I know there is something about all this that just does not seem right like its a freaking nightmare, and I'm waiting to wake up. We just finish a great run with a great coach and I know that it's all over but it doesn't seem right. Sadly it is and hope, big hope!!! That everything goes well next year. To every 49ers fan out there hope is what we have left, and faith on these veteran players. I don't want to see 5-11 seasons again that just ruined every Sunday for 49ers fans. Hope this coaching staff can get it right and balkee drafts well, and is able to make it work. Damn this just doesn't seem right. I'll ended in a positive Seattle lost the SB in the last play and freaking killing them right now they are still sleepless in Seattle. Next year baby lets just Hope!!!
    Feb 19, 2015 at 8:14 PM
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  • Zach ameen
    Dumb and Dumber turned 49ers in to new era Raiders of past decade.
    Feb 19, 2015 at 7:33 PM
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  • TomD
    That's it!!!!...Baalke can no longer draft for the offense...M. Shannahan and Holmgren are still out there. Call them in for the year as offensive consultants. That would send 49er fans a message that you're holding Baalke accountable, so when ship never makes it out of the harbor, 2 Super Bowl coaches will make repairs, stockpile bright, young offensive college coaches and make the 49ers a coaching and player mecca [email protected]@^&%^
    Feb 19, 2015 at 5:08 PM
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  • TomD
    San francisco Examiner Article: "Grading the 49ers 2012 Draft Class."...Google the Article in quotes...Lamichael James 2nd round bust, Aj Jenkins, 1st round bust, F grade!!!! Only one player left!!!Has anyone ever heard of an entire draft of busts for one team. Even in their worst years. This has got to be some sort of NFL Record.
    Feb 19, 2015 at 5:02 PM
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  • jp
    It's hard to realize that the niners have jumped back to the less than mediocre team they were after Mariucchi left but this is who they are this is where their Going. Their fate is sealed and the writing is on the wall. They had a chance with Harbaugh buy the team is in tormoil and no great player or coaching staff will be touching the niners with a 10 foot pole. Who would with the karma and rumours spreading along the NFL . And no Daddy is going to let their future champion son that is coming out of college (i.e. potential Manning qb) let the niners draft them in their team unless you would want their son to be a failure-No way especially the firing of one of the sons of the legandary Harbaugh family. Firing a legacy coach will stay w the niners like a bad smell-it won't go away. It's Bad and you will be in denial if you don't see this
    Feb 19, 2015 at 8:17 AM
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  • Flaccid
    Winning With Class.... A lot of people don't understand what it means. I have a hardon for winning. I want to win. That's what drives me. I have been working with Trent Baalke for years to build an organization that wins with class. Trent understands what I want. Trent is a humble man. A man that barely speaks above a whisper, his voice is so hoarse. But believe me, Baalke is choking on winning. He is committed to winning. And I'm riding him hard every day.
    Feb 19, 2015 at 8:15 AM
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  • TomD
    On top of all morass of problems Harbaugh summed up with "what a tangled web we weave,' Uppermanagement is seen as meddlesome. Coaches want to fail on their own terms, not have a guy from Bemidgi tell them how to run their offense in a nationally televised press conference, in addition to Paraage Marathe in the coaches booth in the flag challenge positon its the suits running the show...ARTICLE: "Textgate, Browns may lose draft pick, Ray farmer may be suspended."....Anyone notice K. Shannahan rejected the 49ers--google this for an answer.
    Feb 19, 2015 at 7:58 AM
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  • Omar G
    Its always been said that in order to avoid history repeating itself it needs to be studied. Sadly this does not seem the case with thes new coaching staff. This change looks exactly as when we put Singletary as head coach, great motivational coach and no real backup on his staff. And if he has been the mole and its backed over the years by York and Blaake, I say we are repeating history. So based on that I predict 5-11 record or at the best 8-8 and out of the playoffs and in into a good draft place
    Feb 19, 2015 at 7:58 AM
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  • TomD
    Jenkins is one guy huh? Combined with an O-line without pass blocking skills , AJ Jenkins, an inaccurate, one read option quarterback, and courting Chudzinski (who's never met a 7-step drop he didnt like--you tube) its the perfect storm. I have been sending mail and gmailing the 49ers for months to get Holmgren or M. Shannahan in house. Both have been in or around (9) Superbowls between them so know what championship teams look like, could build a staff of young bright college coaches, and make the 49ers relevant again. What contacts do Bemidji or Catawba expertise bring except telling everyone were going to run.
    Feb 19, 2015 at 7:49 AM
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  • Dallas Niner Fan
    continued...But hey, Balkee is doing a great job. So lets see, TE's do a horrible job last year and they promote there coach. QB does a lack luster job last year and the Niners promote the QB coach. I used to think that the Niners had no plan and no vision but I was wrong the plan is to fire successful coaches and promote mediocrity. But hey if you people want to ignore all this like its not important than be my guest. Can I hear a Hallelujah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Feb 19, 2015 at 6:03 AM
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  • Dallas Niner Fan
    Amen, Amen, and Amen. We need to give the new coaches a chance Amen , we have not even played a game yet, Amen. This is still a very talented roster, Amen. The new coach is a motivator and the players love him, Amen. If you don't support our team (meaning York and Balkee) then your not a true fan, Amen. When all of you decide to come back from fantasy land the fact remains that the probability that this team will do better than 500 is extremely low for the reasons that I have outlined below. Now we are defending Trent Balkee!!!! Have we really gone that low? The guy that runs out of town one of the best coaches in NFL history because he is not comfortable having a beer with him after work. So Frank, "AJ Jenkins was just one guy", did you happen to notice the rest of that draft? It will go down as one of the worst drafts in NFL history. When Balkee gets finished drafting felons he may get around to drafting a good WR in this century. Here is a guy who had a stock pile of drafts but there still is no depth on the offensive line and defensive backfield. No TE's, No WR's and no backup QB. We have salary cap issues and many of our veterans have contracts up for renewal.
    Feb 19, 2015 at 5:56 AM
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  • christy
    And of course the 2 dipshits are going to blame the guys before themselves god forbid they let their egos take a hit. I hope they come out on top but if they don't us fans should let it be known we ALL blame the 2 idiots.
    Feb 19, 2015 at 5:52 AM
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  • 49ers_Joe
    To quote Aaron Rogers, "C.A L.M. down" Sounds like many of you have an infatuation with hating on the Yorks. If you don't like them thats fine, but my real beef is with the media stating as factual that the men that were hired are "rejects" and that "nobody" wants to coach here. B.S. There are probably tons of very talented individuals that would love to just be an intern for a professional football team, much less to be a Head coach for this storied franchise. I would like to re-state that I wish Harbaugh and Fangio would have been kept but I respect Tomsula, Mangini et all. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and I refuse to send negative energy their way by calling them inept, rejects or whatever else our illustrious media folks want us to believe they are. I will wait till sometime mid season to decide whether or not our hires were good. I believe we will be fine this year. You heard it here first folks!
    Feb 18, 2015 at 11:45 PM
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  • 50 year FORMER faithful
    THis is about the York family, their lack of honor, integrity, and their total lack of football knowledge or ability to do the right thing. This is about a disloyal inept dentist and his silver spoon douchebag liar of a son whose egos trump any semblance of knowledge of competence and whose greed overshadows every decision and whose lack of loyalty to fans and ticket holders has been amply shown over they years. The time has come to stop buying 49er gear, stop going to games, adn stop supporting the 49ers financially in any way unti the treasonous cowardly lying York frauds sell the team and move back to Ohio. Hey Jed and Dipshit daddy; you are frauds of the first order and charlatans . You kept a disloyal backstabbing GM who should have been fired the very day his bitch daughter called out Greg Roman on twitter. The fact you GM is talking shop to a 17 year old at home shown disloyalty and backstabbing of the greatest degree and that you would be still employed and harbaugh gone only adds to the ample evidence of the totally failure that is the york family. SELL THE TEAM YORKS YOU DISLOYAL COWARDLY GRREDY MORONS. YOU ARE THE JOKE OF THE NFL ENJOY LOSING YOU SILVER SPOON TWIRP
    Feb 18, 2015 at 6:15 PM
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  • Frank M
    And the sky's falling...give me a break. Some of you who've gotten on the negative bandwagon just can't seem to see the forest for the trees. Fact: this is still an extremely talented roster. Prediction: Baalke picking at #15 should have a great draft. Gloomers and doomers point to A.J. Jenkins...ok, that's one guy. Baalke's drafted and/or acquired a ton of excellent talent as GM. There's actually a lot of experience on Tomsula's staff. Tomsula was a DC for 2 seasons and a HC in NFL-E for another. Agree, that's not the NFL, but it shows this guy can coach. Give the man at least a season or two to show he can get the job done.
    Feb 18, 2015 at 6:03 PM
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