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Kyle Shanahan says 49ers are ‘fortunate’ Robert Saleh didn’t leave

Kyle Shanahan, Robert Saleh, 49ers

The Cleveland Browns hired Kevin Stefanski as their next head coach which actually benefitted the San Francisco 49ers. Following Cleveland’s decision, Kyle Shanahan says that the 49ers are ‘fortunate’ that Robert Saleh didn’t leave.

The Browns conducted plenty of interviews for head coaching candidates and apparently their final decision came down to Saleh and Stefanski. Of course, Saleh and Stefanski faced one another on Saturday when the 49ers faced the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Divisional Round.

Even though Saleh’s defense stymied Stefanski’s offense, the Browns chose to make Stefanski their head coach. While Shanahan would’ve been happy for Saleh to get a head coaching gig, he’ll be even happier keeping him around in San Francisco.

When Shanahan became the head coach of the 49ers in 2017, he brought Saleh in as his defensive coordinator. In his first season on the job, Saleh helped produce a defense that ranked 25th in points allowed and 24th in yards allowed.

Just two years later, Saleh has configured San Francisco’s defense into a defensive juggernaut. During the regular season, the 49ers’ defense surrendered 281.8 yards per game (second-fewest in the NFL) and 19.4 points per game (eighth-fewest in the NFL).

Throughout the impressive season for the defense, Saleh began to draw interest as a head coach due to his fiery, competitive nature. After winning Saturday’s game, San Francisco is set to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

In the event that Saleh helps the 49ers make or win the Super Bowl, his interest as a head coach will definitely increase. Provided that, Shanahan and the organization realize that Saleh days as the team’s defensive coordinator could be numbered.