NFL Notes: 49ers Hire Former Safety John Lynch as GM

The San Francisco 49ers made a surprise hire to fill their general manager void Sunday, hiring former NFL safety and Fox television analyst John Lynch to replace Trent Baalke.

Lynch comes into the job with no front-office experience, having gone straight from the playing field to the broadcast booth. But after a lengthy search that included interviews with nine other publicly identified candidates, team CEO Jed York settled on Lynch.

ESPN first reported the deal, saying Lynch had gotten a six-year contract.

After playing for former Niners coach Bill Walsh in college at Stanford, Lynch went on to have a stellar 15-year career with Tampa Bay and Denver that included three All-Pro selections and one Super Bowl title with the Buccaneers. He's a finalist this year for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Since retiring in 2008, Lynch has been an analyst at Fox.

Now he will be tasked to rebuild a once-proud franchise that has fallen from NFC champions in 2012 to a 2-14 record this past season that matched the worst in franchise history. That led to the firing of Baalke and coach Chip Kelly as York set to overhaul the operation after the struggles the past few years.

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Colts hire Chris Ballard as new GM
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay is turning to another first-time general manager to get his franchise back on track.

Eight days after firing Ryan Grigson and conducting a week of interviews, Irsay hired former Kansas City Chiefs executive Chris Ballard.

The announcement came Sunday on the team's website.

Ballard has never previously served as a team's top decision-maker, but he comes with a long history as a scout and front-office executive. He was hired by the Chiefs in 2013 as the director of player personnel and was promoted to director of football operations under current GM John Dorsey.

Dolphins' Tannehill will avoid ACL surgery
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is expected to avoid surgery on his partially torn ACL. Tannehill was having an MRI, but he isn't believed to require a surgical reconstruction of his ACL prior to the 2017 season. The MCL sprain is giving Tannehill some trouble and he might visit Germany for the platelet-rich plasma therapy used by some athletes, including former Lakers star Kobe Bryant. Miami is hopeful that Tannehill will be healthy enough to participate in the offseason training activities that begin in April.

Kraft's relationship with Goodell broken 
Patriots owner Robert Kraft says his relationship with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will never be the same after the league's handling of the Deflategate scandal. Kraft had a once-close partnership with Goodell until the commissioner handed down a four-game suspension to quarterback Tom Brady, a $1 million fine to the team and the forfeiture of a first-round pick in 2016 along with a fourth-rounder in this year's draft. New England and Brady were accused of deflating footballs prior to AFC Championship Game against the Colts in January 2015.

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