The 49ers could have trouble prying Tom Coughlin from the east coast and are focusing their sights on another 60-something head coach.
The team met with Mike Shanahan, 63, Wednesday and interest "has ramped up considerably," according to the NFL Network. Shanahan is the only coach they have interviewed with ties to the 49ers' glory days and he has spent 20 seasons as a head coach, the last four in Washington.
ESPN reported that the 49ers’ search is now down to two candidates: Shanahan and ex-Eagles coach Chip Kelly, whom the 49ers interviewed last week.
Coughlin, 69, was coveted by the team, who envisioned a possible one-two combination with him and Browns' offensive coordinator John De Felippo, whom the 49ers interviewed on Saturday. A league source said that DeFilippo also would be in play if Shanhan were hired as head coach.
Perhaps in a telling move, instead of meeting with Coughlin in California, general manager Trent Baalke flew to New York earlier in the week to interview the 69-year-old coach. Coughlin has been on the east coast since 1988 and has 11 grandchildren who live there.
He met with the Eagles -- just a short drive down Instertate 95 from his New Jersey home -- on Monday and has a second meeting with them today.
The other still-available candidates the 49ers have interviewed are Kelly, Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and Bills running backs coach Anthony Lynn. Koetter is believed to be Tampa Bay’s top choice.
Shanahan would be a hit with 49ers alumni, many of whom have touted him as head coach. And he has plenty of experience in a critical area for the 49ers: working with quarterbacks, whether that's Blaine Gabbert, Colin Kaepernick or a draft pick.
Shanahan's last project was Robert Griffin III, who led Washington to the playoffs in his rookie season of 2012. Griffin, however, was hurt at the end of that season, never bounced back and the team went 3-13 the next year with Shanahan and Griffin feuding in the media. Shanahan has not coached since that season and the team reportedly will cut ties with Griffin this offseason.
Washington also drafted current starter Kirk Cousins in the fourth round in 2012.
The 49ers interviewed Shanahan last season and had maintained contact this year as well. Wednesday’s meeting was their first face-to-face chat in 2016.