"They say that good things happen to those who wait," Tom Rathman said Wednesday. "I waited."
The longtime 49ers running backs coach, who took a year off last season, landed one of the last positions available when he signed a two-year deal with the Indianapolis Colts on Tuesday.
Rathman is in town this week both to sign his contract and to help scout running backs for the Colts. Their top rusher from a year ago, Frank Gore, will be a free agent on March 14 and Rathman said he wasn't sure if Gore would be back.
Rathman, 55, spent 14 seasons as the 49ers running backs coach after an eight-year career as the 49ers fullback. When Kyle Shanahan was hired last year, he brought in long-time Shanahan assistant Bobby Turner to handle the running backs and offered to find Rathman another spot.
Rathman respectfully declined and decided to wait for another opportunity this year. It was slow to materialize and Rathman contemplated spending another year out of coaching.
The Colts, however, were the last team to hire a new head coach. They had wanted New England assistant Josh McDaniels, who ultimately decided to remain with the Patriots. Indianapolis instead hired Frank Reich on Feb. 11. He runs a West Coast offense with which Rathman is familiar.
"I'm just grateful I have an opportunity to coach again," Rathman said. "I really didn't think it was going to happen."