The bizarre 49ers general manager search that looks like a poorly conceived public relations strategy took its strangest turn yet Wednesday.
Soon after a report surfaced that NFL Network analyst Mike Lombardi interviewed for the G.M. position, Lombardi appeared on the network’s Around the League and dismissed his chances.
“The 49ers are going to hire Trent Baalke,” Lombardi said.
Lombardi appreciated getting the opportunity to talk with 49ers President Jed York, but said speculation regarding his chances was unnecessary.
“I’m not a candidate there,” Lombardi said, while not denying he interviewed. Lombardi thought Baalke will be hired within 48 hours.
Other than satisfying the Rooney Rule, the 49ers’ transparent attempt to interview job candidates with no real chance to be hired seems to serve little purpose.
The promotion of Baalke may not be a bad move in the end — although it continues a trend of not truly starting over in San Francisco. Still, this charade leading up to his hiring feels like more of the same from perhaps the most dysfunctional franchise in football over the last decade.
UPDATE: York said publicly “We aren’t hiring anybody on Sunday.” So Lombardi’s timeline may be off, but the reality remains that it’s Baalke’s job. Like Florio reported Tuesday.