After being selected in the 3rd round of the 1986 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers, Tom Rathman spent the first eight years of his career here in San Francisco. He was part of two Super Bowl teams, clearing the way for Roger Craig. He also got a unique opportunity to come back and coach for a team that he was a part of as a player.
He has had two successful stints in the 49ers' organization, first from 1997-2002 under Steve Mariucci, and then from 2009-2016 under a handful of coaches. He was the one of the few coaches that lasted through all of the changes in regimes and was able to help running backs improve regardless of who was in the offensive backfield.
When Kyle Shanahan was hired as the Head Coach, he had told this to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com, “I made a commitment to Bobby Turner a long time ago that if I got a head-coaching job I was going to take him with me, regardless of where that was. And Bobby is a life-long running backs coach, just like Tom. Bobby is going to come here and be the running back coach."
At the same time, earlier in the week, there were reports that Shanahan wanted to Tom Rathman around in some capacity. Leaving it up to Rathman, it seems as if the ex-49ers RBs coach would rather coach the same position with a different team.
In his exclusive interview with Matt Maiocco, he mentioned that "I'm not going to be back. I feel like it's best for everybody if I just parted and let those guys do their thing and take me out of the equation so that nobody's uncomfortable."
Arguably one of the best RB coaches in the league, he was a huge reason for Frank Gore's success during his tenure here and made household names from guys picked up late in the season. Guys like Shaun Draughn and DuJuan Harris seamlessly transitioned into the 49ers' offense with the help of Rathman.
Bobby Turner's hire brings excitement as he helped with Shanahan's zone scheme in Atlanta and will be key in installing a similar scheme in San Francisco. Personally, I'm also impressed with the fact that Shanahan had promised Turner the job and didn't go back on his word. He knew he potentially had a great coach in Rathman, but still chose to go with Turner. Relationships and trust are very important within the building, something the 49ers desperately lacked in the past few years.
Although Rathman is on his way out, the future seems bright for the Running Backs with Bobby Turner. But before he leaves, from all of the 49ers' fans, we just want to say, Thank You Coach Rathman.