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Rival Executive Evaluates 49ers New Regime

INDIANAPOLIS -- John Schneider's new NFC West adversaries are far from strangers.

The Seattle Seahawks general manager has had many a conversation with John Lynch during Lynch's eight-year run as an NFL broadcaster. Schneider recalled one specific chat leading up to a 2012 road game against the Buffalo Bills.

"I was able to sit down with him and take a ton of notes; pick his brain about the safety position," Schneider said. "The safety position is one of the harder positions in college football to evaluate. It was great for me to get to sit down with him and get his thoughts on everything."

Schneider admitted that was still caught off guard when the San Francisco 49ers announced that Lynch would be the team's new general manager.

"I was to be honest with you," he began. "I was at first, but when you sit back and look at it, the guy is the ultimate competitor. I would think he missed the team aspect, working with other people, the self sacrifice and everything that goes into having that feeling of putting something together and accomplishing a great goal.

"He's just a football guy, a football junkie and a great person. Obviously (the 49ers) are getting a great leader."

Schneider's interactions with Kyle Shanahan have been equally as impactful, albeit far more peripheral. The Seahawks faced the Atlanta Falcons twice during the 2016 season. As Atlanta's offensive coordinator, Shanahan helped the Falcons carve up Seattle's defense on both occasions.

That included a 36-20 drubbing against Seattle in the NFC Playoffs in which the Falcons racked up 422 total yards of offense. Schneider recalled the unpleasant memory upon being asked generically about San Francisco's head coach.

"Are you trying to rub in the Divisional (Round) loss in Atlanta? That's cool," Schneider joked at first. "He's a phenomenal play-caller. I don't know him personally, but some of my good friends who know him brag about how his football mind is off the charts."

Schneider will get to know Lynch and Shanahan much better in the coming years. San Francisco's new regime will look to revitalize what has been a one-sided rivalry against the Seahawks in recent years. The twice-annual matchups could return to be marquee matchups on a national stage.

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