RENTON Pete Carroll used to share with John Lynch all kinds of wisdom and philosophies on how he remade the Seahawks into a Super Bowl champion.
That was when Lynch, a former NFL Super Bowl-winning safety, was a color analyst for eight years for Fox Sports. Until January, his network assigned Lynch to many Seahawks games while he was on its No.-2 announcing team with Kevin Burkhardt. Before those games, Lynch would sit down with Carroll to get background information on what to expect, to enhance the announcers’ knowledge of the Seahawks for their broadcast. It’s standard network-TV stuff. These production meetings happen with college football coaches and network announcers, too.
Lynch called four Seahawks games last season. He was in the booth for Seattle’s last game prior to last weekend’s 2017 season opener, for Seattle’s divisional-playoff loss at Atlanta on Jan. 14. Carroll didn’t know then, almost no one did, that Lynch was about to become the new, first-time general manager of the San Francisco 49ers -- the Seahawks’ opponent Sunday in their 2017 home opener.
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Lynch told Seattle’s KJR-AM radio on Thursday the 49ers first approached him about the job during last season’s playoffs.
“No. I had no inkling at all,” Carroll said this week. “That’s why I talked so openly and so freely with him about it.
“We had great conversations for years when we talked about that stuff. He was always very interested in why and what to expect in all of that and sure enough now we’re competing against the guys. He’s awesome and there’s no question that he’ll do a fantastic job. Whatever John wanted to do he would do well, just because of his makeup and his competitiveness and his intellect and all that.”
Then Carroll said, seemingly not in jest, he “might not have talked as much to him if I knew he was going to be the Niners GM.”
Carroll told 49ers media on a conference call Wednesday: "He wanted to know why and what you think and all that stuff. I didn't really put it together. I thought he was going to be doing the Monday Night Football or something someday.”
Lynch told KJR Thursday he and Carroll weren’t breaking down Seahawks’ X’s and O’s and play calls, that their talks were more about overarching team building and philosophies.
Typically, those coaches talks before games with the network production and broadcast crew -- producers are routinely in the meetings to get a feel for which players to have their cameras trained on for story lines -- include talks about specific players and plans for them but not the nitty gritty of, say, what words are in Seattle’s play calls for a zone-read run play off the C gap.
Lynch also said on 950 AM he is rebuilding the 49ers following much of Carroll and general manager John Schneider’s blueprint in Seattle. He and first-time head coach Kyle Shanahan, last season’s offensive coordinator for the Falcons, hired former Seahawks quality-control assistant coach Robert Saleh to be the 49ers’ new defensive coordinator.
Asked if their pregame conversations came to his mind when Lynch got the 49ers’ job this past winter, Carroll said, “Yes, it did.”