San Francisco 49ers

Tomsula talks NFL Europe and landing a coordinator

New 49ers coach Jim Tomsula was more at ease with a small group of beatwriters than he was in front of the cameras Thursday
New 49ers coach Jim Tomsula was more at ease with a small group of beatwriters than he was in front of the cameras Thursday Bay Area News Group

In fairness to new 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula, he may have had a hard time in front of the cameras and crowd at his formal news conference Thursday, but he was more comfortable later in a more intimate setting with the team’s beat writers.

One of the more interesting things he talked about was running an NFL Europe squad. It’s been noted more than once that Tomsula never has been a coordinator on the NFL level much less a head coach. But Tomsula took exception to the sense that his time in Europe didn’t count.

“I don’t like the asterisk in front of NFL Europe. You know what I mean?” he said. “There’s always an asterisk there.”

Tomsula coached in Europe from from 1998 to 2006; in his final season there, he was the head coach of the Rhein Fire. He said his responsibilities included everything off the field – “feeding 75 guys a day,” he said as an example – as well as preparing them for their weekly games.

He doesn’t have those extraneous worries in the NFL.

“This village here – you don’t think one thing about the field,” he said. “Don’t even think about it. You could wake up and not think about the field. You could wake up and not think about the equipment. You can wake up and not think about the travel. You can wake up and not think about the PR. I mean, those things are so good.”

The field? Well, Tomsula’s predecessor had to worry about the field quite a bit in 2014. But that issue seems to have been resolved. The rest of his point is well taken.

As far as his coordinators, Tomsula said he didn’t want to get into specifics because of the fast-changing nature of coaching searches. He said he also wanted to avoid tampering.

It would only be tampering if a prospective coach were still in the playoffs. One potential offensive coordinator who fits that description is Colts assistant Rob Chudzinski, who once ran the Browns and Panthers offenses. He was reportedly targeted as an offensive coordinator by Mike Singletary in January of 2009 but was one of several men – Scott Linehan was another – who turned down the job.

Could the same thing happen this year? Chudzinski, 46, is represented by the same agent who works for Adam Gase. The 49ers came close to hiring Gase this week but went with Tomsula instead. Was an offer made? Who turned down whom? It’s hard to say. Trent Baalke insisted Thursday that only one offer was made and it was to Tomsula.

But if there are any hard feelings from the episode, it could prompt Chudzinski’s agent to steer his clients away from the 49ers, a dynamic that occurred when Singletary took over in 2009.

Meanwhile, NBC 4 in Washington reports that Kyle Shanahan turned down an interview for the 49ers’ coordinator position and will interview in Denver instead.

The interview in Denver is ostensibly for the head-coaching spot, which would make him turning down the 49ers’ coordinator job understandable. Still, it’s something that bears watching.

Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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