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Chip Kelly, Mike Shanahan interested in 49ers' opening

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Even after benching him for the final seven games of the season, the 49ers maintained a belief that quarterback Colin Kaepernick could be saved.

And while that proposition is still very much in the air, Monday's link between Chip Kelly and the 49ers' coaching vacancy makes some sense.

Per NFL Media columnist Michael Silver and NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, Kelly's representatives have reached out to the 49ers to express interest in the head coaching vacancy, which was left open Sunday night after the team parted ways with Jim Tomsula. The former defensive line coach lasted just one 5-11 season.

Kelly, who spent the last three years in Philadelphia, was let go by the Eagles last week ahead of their season finale against the Giants.

Per Silver, Kelly was not the only one. Former Broncos and Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan also threw his name into the ring. Shanahan, 63, last coached in 2013.

While it might be too simplistic to say that both of these coaches have had some recent success with good mobile quarterbacks, this could be San Francisco's line of thinking assuming that they want to keep Kaepernick and are able to shave down his balky salary number in 2016. Kaepernick also has to pass a physical in a few months and underwent surgery for a torn labrum in November.

At the least, both of these coaches have proven they can win at the NFL level, though Kelly now knows he needs some guidance from the personnel department and who knows if he'll get it in San Francisco.

Shanahan, who won a pair of Super Bowls in Denver as a head coach and a ring in San Francisco as the offensive coordinator for the 49ers during their Super Bowl XXIX run, has been out of the game for two seasons and was at his best recently when his son, Kyle, was running the offense.

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