- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 16, 2019

ASHBURN — When the San Francisco 49ers meet the Washington Redskins on Sunday, Kyle Shanahan insists it won’t be personal. In a conference call with D.C. reporters, the 49ers coach noted this won’t be his first time back as a visitor and that he has “moved on” with his life.

But that didn’t stop Shanahan from taking a few shots against his former employer.

“It’s pretty easy to not make it personal,” said Shanahan, the Redskins‘ former offensive coordinator. “I mean, the guys it would be personal with don’t play in the game.”

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Shanahan, of course, spent four seasons with Washington from 2010 to 2013 when his father, Mike, was at the helm. By the end, Shanahan’s tenure in the District got contentious — with the coaching staff not seeing eye-to-eye with quarterback Robert Griffin, the front office and owner Dan Snyder. Kyle and Mike Shanahan were fired after the 2013 season in which Washington went 3-13.

Since then, Shanahan has gone on to have better success. He served as the offensive coordinator in Cleveland (2014) and Atlanta (2015 to 2016) before San Francisco hired him as head coach in 2016.

Shanahan, though, is seeking his first win against the Redskins as a head coach. The two teams met in 2017 and Washington prevailed 26-24.

This season, the 49ers are off to their best start under Shanahan at 5-0. The 39-year-old is regarded as one of the league’s top offensive minds and San Francisco ranks 12th in offensive efficiency.

Kyle knows the running game,” Redskins interim Bill Callahan said. “He’s well-respected around the league for what he’s accomplished here, in Cleveland, in Atlanta and obviously in San Francisco. He’s really worked hard to establish their identity. … You don’t see a lot of teams have that much diversity in their attack and in their scheme, but they gameplan really well.”

Earlier in the afternoon, Shanahan was asked the best part of being with Washington — to which he answered being able to coach with his dad.

And the worst?

“Everything else,” Shanahan said with a smile.

On the conference call, Shanahan also took a jab when asked about the team’s homecoming weekend and whether that gives him any additional motivation. Each year, the Redskins host an event — formally called the “Redskins Alumni Homecoming Weekend” —to honor the team’s history.

“I didn’t know NFL teams had homecoming games,” Shanahan said. “I thought that was a high school thing. Are you serious?”


Shanahan did say that he had good memories with the Redskins, loving the opportunity to be close to his parents for the first time since high school. He also cited his relationship with the coaches and the players, the latter of which could also be seen as a dig.

“I know there’s not many left over still now, except for probably Trent– but there were a lot of relationships I had there and a lot of people that meant a lot to me,” Shanahan said.

The “Trent” in this case is Trent Williams, who notably is in the midst of a holdout.

Near the end of the call, Shanahan was asked what advice he would give an up-and-coming coach who was considering joining the Redskins.

At the start, Shanahan tried to be diplomatic.

“Just look into it, see what the situation is and who you want to work for,” Shanahan said. “I mean, anytime you get opportunities you’ve got to look into it, but I’m not there and I don’t know how it is right now. That would be up to that person.”

But before he finished his answer, Shanahan threw more shade.

“I’m probably not the person they want to call on that advice,” Shanahan said.

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