The Falcons are heading to the Super Bowl, and the 49ers are heading back to Atlanta for a second interview with Kyle Shanahan.
The Falcons offensive coordinator’s unit had another dominating playoff performance Sunday, scoring 44 points and gaining nearly 500 yards against the Green Bay Packers.
The 49ers are permitted a second interview with Shanahan, their presumptive next head coach, after meeting with him earlier this month. According to national reports, that session will take place Friday at the behest of Falcons head coach Dan Quinn. The 49ers can’t make Shanahan’s hiring official until after the Super Bowl on Feb. 5.
The upcoming meeting also will occur in conjunction with more interviews for San Francisco’s vacant general manager post. The 49ers already have met with two candidates being considered, George Paton of the Minnesota Vikings and Terry McDonough of the Arizona Cardinals.
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Others could enter the mix this week.
The 49ers are looking for cohesion between their general manager and head coach, and they may look at candidates who have worked with Shanahan.
Candidates who fit that description include Mark Dominik, who was Tampa Bay’s pro scouting director in 2004 and 2005 when Shanahan was an entry-level assistant with the Buccaneers, and Mike Lombardi, who was Cleveland’s general manager and vice president of player personnel when Shanahan was the Browns’ offensive coordinator in 2014.
The 49ers interviewed Lombardi in 2011, the year they made Trent Baalke their general manager. Lombardi was a scout with the 49ers from 1984 to 1987. The 49ers also have inquired about Jacksonville Jaguars personnel director Chris Polian, who previously served as the Indianapolis Colts’ general manager.
The only general manager meeting firmly set for next week is with Paton, who has served as the second in command in Minnesota for the past 10 years. Paton is from Southern California and played at UCLA. He has never worked on the same team as Shanahan, although the two share an agent.
Three previous candidates – Green Bay’s Brian Gutekunst and Eliot Wolf, and Seattle’s Trent Kirchner – withdrew from the search last week. The 49ers also eliminated others, including ESPN’s Louis Riddick and Indianapolis Colts executive Jimmy Raye III, who appears to be the front-runner to take over from recently fired Ryan Grigson.
McDonough has not been eliminated. But it’s still unclear whether he will receive a second interview.