Tom Rathman, one of the few 49ers assistant coaches who survived previous regime changes in San Francisco, won't be part of the team's current overhaul.
The 49ers' longtime running backs coach says he wants to do just that -- coach running backs -- and likely will sit out the 2017 season with the hope that a position opens up somewhere in the NFL in 2018. Incoming 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan last week hired Bobby Turner to coach the running backs.
A former fullback, Rathman won two Super Bowls with the 49ers and has had two long stints (1997-2002 and 2009-16) as the team’s running backs coach. Rathman, 54, said in a phone interview there were no hard feelings with the 49ers, who tried to find a spot for him in another area of the organization.
Rathman said he wanted to continue to be on the field and to interact with the running backs.
"There wasn't really anything that was really appealing in that regard," he said of alternative jobs with the 49ers. “... That’s just the way the business is.”
He noted he was fortunate to have remained in one place for as long as he had. “These jobs -- they used to be two or three years. Then they became two and now they’re one,” he said. “Any time you can be in one place for as long as I have, it’s kind of unique.”
Rathman also sat out the 2006 following a three-year stint as the Detroit Lions' running backs coach. He got a job with the Raiders the following two seasons before rejoining the 49ers in 2009.
Turner, 67, spent the last two years in Atlanta on Shanahan’s offensive staff. He had stints in Washington and Denver before that, at both points serving under then-head coach Mike Shanahan.
Atlanta finished fifth in the NFL – one spot behind the 49ers – in rushing offense during the regular season. Under Shanahan, the Falcons favored a smaller, pass-catching running back in Devonta Freeman, who finished with 1,079 rushing yards along with 54 receptions for 462 yards. Another Falcons runner, Tevin Coleman, had 421 yards on 31 catches in 2016.
49ers staff hires
Jon Embree, assistant head coach/tight ends
Rich Scangarello, quarterbacks
Bobby Turner, running backs
T.C. McCartney, offensive assistant
Ray Wright, strength and conditioning coach