San Francisco

New 49ers Running Backs Coach Has Successful Record

Veteran Bobby Turner has coached strong running teams in Denver and Atlanta and will take over for the departing Tom Rathman

Tom Rathman was a survivor, outlasting several head coaches with the 49ers. But now his time in San Francisco has come to an end.

Rathman, the former 49ers standout fullback, had been running backs coach with the team since 2009 after a previous stint from 1997-2002. But now that new head coach Kyle Shanhan has brought in veteran Bobby Turner to coach the running backs, Rathman will move on. Shanahan had offered Rathman a different job on the staff, but Rathman wants to continue to coach running backs, so he’s decided to sit out the upcoming season and eventually land a job with another NFL team, reports Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.

Rathman had a successful run with the 49ers, but his replacement, Turner, is perhaps an even more accomplished assistant coach.

Turner, 67, has coached running backs in Atlanta and Washington (with Shanahan) and Denver (with Mike Shanahan, Kyle’s dad).

In Atlanta, Turner coached a terrific young duo in Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, two explosive runners and receivers out of the backfield.

Turner coached 15 seasons in Denver, where the Broncos ranked among the top NFL rushing teams 10 times. His backs accounted for 11 1,000-yard seasons, and his standout ballcarriers included Terrell Davis, Clinton Portis, Mike Anderson, Tatum Bell and Reuben Droughns.

As Peter King of Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback reported Monday, the 49ers think so much of Turner that they will pay him at least $625,000 in 2017, making him perhaps the highest-paid running backs coach in the NFL.

King says Turner’s reputation is well deserved, and his departure is a loss for the Falcons.

“Back in Denver, (Turner) made a slew of low-drafted backs (Terrell Davis most notably) play great, and he was vital in the development of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman in Atlanta,” wrote King. “But I applaud the Falcons. They could have played hardball and kept Turner. But Turner wanted to go with Shanahan – Turner obviously was close with Mike Shanahan – and he becomes a very influential senior adviser (he is 67) to Kyle Shanahan.”

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