49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

March 22, 2010
York: McCloughan gone by "mutual interest"; Baalke takes draft lead

Jed York just conducted an 18-minute conference call from the owners meeting in Orlando, Fla. where the main top was general manager - now former general manager - Scot McCloughan. York began with a brief statement in which he said that "Scot McCloughan is no longer the general manger of the 49ers in the mutual interest of both parties." He went on to say that Trent Baalke, the director of player personnel, not only would lead the team to the draft but would have the so-called "trigger" during the draft. The team does not have a general manager now and York said he is undecided whether it will have one in the future.

Here are the key points of the call:

On McCloughan's exit:
York refused to discuss what caused the team to part ways with McCloughan, calling it a "private personnel matter" when asked several times. As for the team's heretofore silence on the matter, York said this: "It was five days. And I gave Scot my word that I wouldn't comment for five days. Because my integrity is more important to me than trying to get out a story. I gave Scot five days to think about where we wanted to go and we decided to have a mutual parting." Asked if the team had reached a settlement with McCloughan, who had roughly two years remaining on a multi-million-dollar contract, York described the arrangement as a "mutual parting." He said the parting was for "personal reasons" relating to McCloughan and were not related to McCloughan's ability to evaluate talent.

On not being surprised by McCloughan's departure:
York said "that we've been prepared for this," an indication that in the team's mind what prompted McCloughan's departure was not an isolated event. "I couldn't give you a specific (timeline), but we've been prepared," York said. "I wanted to make sure Trent was as up to speed as possible. He's taken on more responsibility in the past and I'm confident that he can lead us to the draft."

On who takes over in the short-term:
York said that Baalke would have the final say on draft day and that he would be assisted by director of pro personnel Tom Gamble. "Trent knows the draft better than anyone else and I have full confidence in him," York said. York said that the team's draft board is 90 percent to 95 percent complete at this time. York said that Mike Singletary would continue to concentrate on coaching and that his role would not change.

On who takes over long-term:
York said he has not made any decisions about the long-term structure of the team's front office and said he wasn't sure whether the team would even have a general manager. He said he would begin making those decisions after the draft. "The one thing that I will promise you is that I will not be general manager and Paraag (Marathe) will not be general manager." York said that Marathe was not involved in McCloughan's exit. "None," he said of Marathe's involvement. "This is my decision. And Scot and I worked this out together."

On York's relationship with McCloughan:
York said: "I wish nothing but the best for Scot. I think that Scot has added a lot of good players We haven't made the playoffs yet. We expect to make the playoffs next year and in the future." ... "It is difficult because I care a lot about Scot and I think everybody knows how I've defended Scot and talked about the things he's added to the team. So it's never easy to part ways with somebody you consider a friend. But again, this is in the best interest of both Scot and the 49ers." ... "I care about Scot from a personal standpoint. And I hope Scot gets a job somewhere. I wish nothing but the best for he and his family."

On further fallout from the move:
McCloughan was perhaps quarterback Alex Smith's biggest champion in the organization. Asked if McCloughan's departure affects Smith, York said, no. "Alex is our guy. He's our QB. We believe in Alex. Coach Singletary believes in Alex." In other words, the Donovan McNabb rumors can be put to rest for now. Asked about David McCloughan, Scot's brother and the director of college scouting, York said: "David is a professional and he has been great through this process." He said David McCloughan would continue to work for the team at least through the draft.

On what McCloughan can share:
York said that McCloughan's contract forbid him from joining another team before the draft and kept him from sharing draft secrets with other teams. That's likely further evidence that some kind of settlement has been reached.

-- Matt Barrows

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Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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