Kyle Shanahan is adding a familiar offensive assistant, one who has a long history with his father, Mike Shanahan.
Per NFL.com, the 49ers will hire Bobby Turner, 67, as their running backs coach. Turner spent the last two years in Atlanta on Kyle Shanahan’s offensive staff. He had stints in Washington and Denver before that, at both points serving under then-head coach Mike Shanahan.
It’s not known what Turner’s addition will mean for incumbent 49ers running backs coach Tom Rathman, a fan favorite who has survived previous regime changes in San Francisco. 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. The team is believed to be looking to retain Rathman in some capacity, whether as part of the coaching staff or elsewhere.
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.
The 49ers will introduce Shanahan and new general manager John Lynch to the media in a news conference Thursday. Other updates on Shanahan’s staff:
▪ The NFL Network reported that not only will Shanahan call his own plays as expected, he will serve as the team’s offensive coordinator.
The plan, according to the network, is to hire current Falcons assistant Mike McDaniel to assist with the running game and have another former assistant, Rich Scangarello, operate as quarterbacks coach.
Scangarello is the offensive coordinator at Wagner College. The Roseville native also has been an assistant quarterbacks coach with the Raiders and has worked on the UC Davis football staff. He graduated from Sacramento State in 1996. Shanahan also is expected to add Falcons assistant, Mike LaFleur, to his offensive staff.
▪ A league source confirmed that the team likely will hire Jon Embree as tight ends coach. Embree served in the same capacity with Tampa Bay the last four seasons and also was with Kyle Shanahan in Washington in 2010. The source did not have authority to speak on record and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
▪ The 49ers plan to retain defensive assistants Jason Tarver and Jeff Hafley, the Sporting News first reported. Tarver is a long-time 49ers assistant who served as the team’s outside linebackers coach last season. Hafley spent his first year in San Francisco in 2016 and coached the defensive backs.
▪ The team has not yet settled on a defensive coordinator, although Jerome Henderson and Robert Saleh are being considered, the Sporting News reported. The 49ers’ 2016 coordinator, Jim O’Neil, is not in the running for coordinator but could be retained in some capacity. The defensive staff is fluid and pivots on who gets the coordinator job.
▪ As previously reported by The Bee, Richard Hightower is a top candidate to be special-teams coordinator. Hightower, the Bears’ assistant special-teams coach, was an offensive quality control coach in Cleveland with Shanahan in 2014. He also was in Washington for four seasons under the Shanahans and served as an assistant to 49ers special-teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey in 2015.