Scott Linehan turned down the 49ers’ offer today to become the team’s offensive coordinator. It was a decision he described as “excruciating.”
“I wish in so many ways that I hadn’t liked the people so much,” Linehan said in a phone interview. “I really think the franchise is going in the right direction.”
Linehan, the former Rams coach, was a successful offensive coordinator with the Vikings and Dolphins. He said he wants to remain in coaching, but he said he was not ready to make a decision about joining the 49ers. He did not want to hold up the organization, he said.
“I had two great visits with the organization and with coach (Mike) Singletary,” Linehan said. “The timing is such a crucial thing for me. I was unable to make a commitment at this point, and I felt like I could not do that to him (Singletary).
“It was basically a really tough phone call to make. There is not a better guy in the business than Mike Singletary.”
Linehan said his reasons for declining the job offer were “all personal.” Linehan and his wife, Kristen, have three young boys, the oldest of whom will be entering high school. The family has never lived in the same place for more than three years since Linehan broke into coaching in 1989.
“When I was 25, these decisions were made and I’d grab my luggage and go,” he said. “Now, at 45, with three kids, trying to figure out the right thing is different. It was a lot easier when I was 25 – it was not so complicated.”
Linehan said everything about the 49ers, from a professional standpoint, seemed right for him. He mentioned the background he has with quarterbacks Shaun Hill and Alex Smith. He said he is conflicted as he tries to figure out the next move, and he did not think it was fair to let the process drag on any further. Linehan said Singletary did not pressure him into making a fast decision.
I asked Linehan why he went through two interviews if he was not fully committed to joining the 49ers’ staff.
“I hadn’t been offered the job until the end of the process,” Linehan said. “Being interviewed is a two-way street, so we were looking at each other. Everything from a professional side was a really good fit for me.
“Maybe it’s because of where I was the last three seasons (head coach of the Rams) . . . It doesn’t mean that a week from now I won’t be kicking myself. But it’s just not fair to the 49ers to hold up the process.”
Linehan said he will probably attend the Senior Bowl in
“I don’t know where this is going to go,” he said. “This was really an excruciating decision for me.”
* * *