San Francisco 49ers  


Niners close to promoting Baalke to general manager


The San Francisco 49ers don't plan to announce a new general manager Monday, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, but all indications continue to strongly point to vice president of player personnel Trent Baalke being promoted to the role, as reported a week ago.

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Baalke met with president Jed York for about two hours at 49ers headquarters in Santa Clara on Saturday. Baalke, who has six years with the franchise, is largely considered the front-runner for the job -- and he sounded confident about his chances while talking with reporters on the field at Candlestick Park before the team's Sunday season finale against the Arizona Cardinals.

Baalke's promotion has long been considered a fait accompli by many players and coaches within the organization. Baalke has met with several players to talk about possible plans for 2011, and this week, he will meet individually with every coach on staff, according to a team source.

The 49ers also are seeking a new coach. York and Baalke, once promoted, will officially lead that search. Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh remains atop the 49ers' wish list, according to sources. Two executives I spoke with believe Harbaugh will chose between the 49ers or the University of Michigan, where he played in college.

Other potential candidates in San Francisco include NFL Network analyst Brian Billick, Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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