Haley, the former San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys linebacker/defensive end whose five Super Bowl rings are the most by any player in league history, was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday in his sixth time as a finalist.
With his résumé, Haley admitted he was starting to get frustrated with the wait.
“It’s kind of up and down with me,” Haley told the NFL Network when the finalists were announced earlier this month. “I’m bipolar. When I’m not called, I go into a little bit of depression.
“If it takes me passing away and my kid stepping up for me [at the induction ceremony], I’m good with that. Because I’m going to be looking down from heaven going, ‘Yeah, I could have told you I was worthy.’”
Truly, many observers wondered what took the Hall’s 46 selectors so long to recognize Haley, who was in his 11th year of eligibility and had 100.5 sacks in 169 games over 12 seasons, which included five Pro Bowls, two All-Pro selections, two NFC Defensive Player of the Year honors and 10 division titles.
A 1986 fourth-round draft pick (No. 96 overall) of the 49ers out of James Madison, Haley led the 49ers in sacks in each of his first six seasons, with 12 as a rookie and a career-high 16 in 1990.
But after wearing out his welcome in San Francisco, where he was part of two Super Bowl title teams, Haley was traded to the Dallas Cowboys in 1992, when he was switched to defensive end and elevated the Cowboys’ defense to a dynastic level.
The Cowboys won three titles in his first four years in Dallas, and his 4.5 sacks remain a Super Bowl record 19 years after he last played on Super Sunday, just ahead of Justin Tuck’s four sacks.
Per the report, Tim Lewis will be the Niners’ secondary coach, replacing Ed Donatell, while Clancy Pendergast will coach inside linebackers.
The 49ers, it should be noted, have yet to announce any assistant hirings.
Along with outside linebackers coach Jason Tarver, who was with the Oakland Raiders the previous three years, and new defensive coordinator Eric Mangini, who was the New England Patriots’ D.C. in 2005, the Niners will have four former defensive coordinators on staff.
Lewis, a former No. 11 overall draft pick who played defensive back for the Green Bay Packers from 1983 through 1986, was the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive coordinator from 2000 through 2003 and the New York Giants’ D.C. from 2004 through 2006.
He has also been a defensive backs coach for the Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons.
Pendergast served as the Arizona Cardinals’ defensive coordinator from 2004 through 2008 and the Kansas City Chiefs’ D.C. in 2009 before working in the same capacity at Cal from 2009 through 2012 and at USC in 2013.
PHOENIX -- Former San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau and Kansas City Chiefs guard Will Shields, both 12-time Pro Bowl selections during their NFL careers, were elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2015 on Saturday.
Seau, in his first year of eligibility, Shields, former Pittsburgh Steelers running back and current ESPN analyst Jerome Bettis, wide receiver Tim Brown and defensive end Charles Haley were the five modern-era enshrinees selected in the meeting of the Hall's board of selectors.
The class of 2015 also will include former Minnesota Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff, who played 240 games in his career and was the seniors committee nominee, as well as two nominees in the contributors category -- former Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts general manager and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian, as well as longtime NFL executive Ron Wolf.
The board of selectors began the day with 15 modern-era finalists, which were trimmed first to 10 finalists and then to five in the daylong meeting. A finalist must receive 80 percent of the vote from the 46 selectors to be selected for enshrinement.
The class was announced during the "NFL Honors" awards show inside the Phoenix Symphony Hall. It will be formally enshrined at the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, in August.
Seau played 13 seasons with the Chargers, three years with the Miami Dolphins
Which is why, many believe, it is time for Charles Haley to get a gold jacket in this, his sixth occasion as a Hall finalist.
Sure, the former hell-raiser, both on and off the field, for the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, was anything but a model teammate. Who can forget his going after Niners QB Steve Young so hard in their locker room following a 1991 loss to the Los Angeles Raiders that former teammate Ronnie Lott had to be called over to calm Haley down?
"I'm bipolar," Haley told the NFL Network.
The transcendent elephant linebacker/defensive end was also a game-changer and a winner.
His five Super Bowl rings -- two with the Niners, three with the Cowboys -- are a record for a player. His teams played in six NFC title games in a seven-year span and his team won its division 10 times in his 12 seasons.
Haley, a fourth-round pick of the Niners out of James Madison in 1986, was obviously a major reason.
The five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro had 100.5 sacks in 169 games, with a safety and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.
But beyond his tangible stats, he made offenses account for him, often freeing up someone else to make a play. And after the Niners tired of Haley's antics, which reportedly included urinating on a teammate's car, exposing himself to a female reporter and cussing out coaches, and sent him to Dallas for mere second- and third-round draft picks in 1992, his arrival helped launch the Cowboys' dynastic defense.
"I put football before my family," Haley said. "I put football before my God. I was committed. I sacrificed and I loved the game of football with all my heart."
Kaepernick is the hybrid, the cannon-armed quarterback with the nimble feet of a deer, while Warner, a Hall of Fame finalist in his first year eligible, was more of a lead-footed technician in the pocket.
Sure, his completion percentage was better than the previous season (60.5 versus 58.4) and his 3,369 passing yards were a career high, and he did rush for 115 more yards than in 2013. But he never looked comfortable as his touchdown passes were down (from 21 to 19) while his interceptions were up (from 8 to 10).
Oh, and his Total QBR plummeted from 68.6 (sixth in the NFL in 2013) to 55.9 (17th).
"There's always things you can tighten up," Kaepernick said late in the season.
"It's hard to break habits in season. You don't want to completely try to change something because it can throw off everything else you're doing."
So with his old position coach, Geep Chryst, now in line to become the Niners' offensive coordinator and his new position coach, Steve Logan, having last worked in the NFL in 2011 as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' running backs coach, what, exactly, is Kaepernick working on with Warner?
"We're early in the process," Warner told the Bay Area News Group this week in Arizona. "We've only worked together a few days so far. But it's a full process. To play quarterback, there's a lot of different things.
"Start with the physical part of it," Warner added. "We're trying to teach him ... what 'normal' looks like for a quarterback. Not an athletic quarterback. Not a guy that you've thrown in there and allowed to live on his athletic ability. It's about getting balanced and being in a situation where your technique is so good, that it drives how you throw the football. So we're starting there."
Sounds like Warner believes Kaepernick is still a major work in progress.
"Then the second part is going to be seeing how far we can push him from a mental standpoint, to understand the whole game," Warner said. "And I've been very impressed so far with what he knows mentally. We've been on the [chalk] board and we've talked about it. Been very pleased with where he is at. But you know, the whole thing is, you have to be able to decipher what 22 guys are doing, or at least 11 guys on the other side, in three seconds, know where to go with the football, know how to get there and technique-wise, be able to get it there. So we're going to push the envelope in all those areas and see how far we can get him."
With Kaepernick, though, as with every other quarterback, it begins with technique.
"Because if you don't have technique, you'll never have consistency," Warner said. "And then from there, we'll go to the mental side of it and see how far we can push the envelope and how good he can be."
The Bay Area News Group also asked Warner how long he figured to work with Kaepernick.
"From my understanding, he's going to be here until April," Warner said. "I'm not working with him exclusively, so I'm not sure how many sessions there will be but I want to work with him as much as I possibly can. My hope is to get two or three days a week whenever he's here and hopefully that's through April."
The Niners announced Thursday that Tom Gamble was returning to the organization as senior personnel executive after two years with the Philadelphia Eagles as their vice president of personnel.
“Tom is one of the most experienced, knowledgeable and respected personnel men in the business,” Niners general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. “He played an instrumental role in our personnel department from 2005-2012 and is well versed in our system, having played a role in its development. This familiarity, along with his many strengths, will be tremendous assets as we prepare for free agency and the draft. It is great to have Tom back with the 49ers.”
Gamble, who was with the Niners for eight years, was the team’s director of pro personnel from 2005 through 2010 before serving as the team’s director of player personnel in 2011 and 2012. He oversaw both college and pro scouting.
His position with the 49ers was never truly filled after he left for the Eagles.
With the Niners, Gamble will help Baalke with some heavy lifting as the team has 15 unrestricted free agents, including running back Frank Gore, receiver Michael Crabtree, left guard Mike Iupati and cornerbacks Perrish Cox and Chris Culliver, and will have some salary-cap issues to address as well. The 49ers also hold the No. 15 overall draft pick.
Episode No. 42 will review ESPN.com's recent joint venture with Pro Football Focus, which broke down how many "above-average" players each team is from contending for the Super Bowl.
The crew will also preview the Super Bowl matchup between the defending champion Seattle Seahawks and three-time winner New England Patriots as well as break down how the Pro Football Hall of Fame's upcoming class may shake out Saturday.
Host Paul Gutierrez (ESPN Nation's San Francisco 49ers reporter) and co-hosts Coley Harvey (Cincinnati Bengals reporter) and Mike Wells (Indianapolis Colts reporter) will be joined by Jeff Legwold (Denver Broncos reporter) and ESPN NFL Insider Mike Sando, both of whom are among the Hall's 46 selectors.
Following is the most up-to-date tracker of assistants linked to Tomsula's staff:
Offensive coordinator -- Geep Chryst, who was Jim Harbaugh's quarterbacks coach from 2011 through last season, is in line for the promotion to become the Niners' offensive playcaller. Fallback option, or in-house survivor? In any event, the 49ers had also been linked and/or turned down by the likes of Marc Trestman, Adam Gase, Kyle Shanahan, Mike Shanahan, Lane Kiffin, Rob Chudzinski and Bob Bicknell before Chryst got the gig. He was last an O.C. in 2000, with the San Diego Chargers.
Offensive line coach -- Chris Foerster, the Niners' O-line coach in 2008 and 2009, reportedly returning to same position, though he ran more zone schemes in Washington and Niners' personnel dictates power blocking.
Assistant offensive line coach -- Eric Wolford, former head coach at Youngstown State, purportedly joining Foerster, after reportedly accepting job at Oklahoma State.
QB coach -- Steve Logan, Tomsula's O.C. in NFL Europe with the Rhein Fire in 2006, said he's Colin Kaepernick's new position coach. Logan, who has been doing sportstalk radio in North Carolina, last worked in the NFL in 2011 as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers running backs coach.
Tight ends coach -- Former Oakland Raiders interim head coach Tony Sparano set to come down I-880.
Running backs coach -- Tom Rathman reportedly set to return in same capacity.
Offensive assistant -- Ronald Curry, with the Niners since 2013, wooed by Buffalo, though Niners reportedly denied Bills permission to interview him. Curry is also reportedly now a target of the University of Florida to be the Gators' receivers coach.
Special teams coordinator -- Former New York Jets special teams coach Thomas McGaughey Tweets that he is the man at S.T. coordinator after Brad Seely, released by Niners, was hired by the Oakland Raiders for the same position. McGaughey worked with Tomsula in NFL Europe.
Defensive coordinator -- 49ers set to name Eric Mangini, the ex-Niners TE coach who was the New England Patriots' D.C. in 2005 and head coach of the New York Jets (2006-08) and Cleveland Browns (2009-10), after being denied permission by Cincinnati to speak with Bengals secondary coach Vance Joseph, whose NFL coaching career began with Niners as a secondary coach.
Senior defensive assistant/linebackers -- Former Oakland Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver hired for the job. He ran a 4-3 defensive scheme in Oakland but is a 3-4 strategist at heart.
Secondary -- Former New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell turned down an offer from the Niners to instead go to Washington to be its secondary coach after former Niners secondary coach Ed Donatell was released and followed D.C. Vic Fangio to the Chicago Bears.
Defensive assistant -- Former 49ers nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin, whose position coach was Tomsula, reportedly in line to be a defensive assistant.
Geep Chryst was one of the few holdovers from former coach Jim Harbaugh's staff after serving as the San Francisco 49ers' quarterbacks coach from 2011 through 2014.
Chryst was not, however, assigned a title. In fact, the 49ers have yet to officially announce any assistant hires for new coach Jim Tomsula since he was announced on Jan. 14, two weeks ago.
A promotion, though, is coming for Chryst as he is expected to be named the Niners' offensive coordinator, according to the NFL Network.
This after the Niners missed on at least three purported candidates -- Lane Kiffin, who chose to stay at Alabama, Rob Chudzinski, who got a promotion to stay with the Indianapolis Colts, and Philadelphia receivers coach Bob Bicknell, who will stay with the Eagles in that position.
Logan was Tomsula’s offensive coordinator with NFL Europe’s Rhein Fire in 2006.
“Jim Tomsula is the one guy who I would open this can of worms back up for,” Logan told the station.
What Logan’s specific job description means for Geep Chryst, who was retained after serving as Jim Harbaugh’s QBs coach since 2011, is not known. Though with the Niners missing on at least three offensive coordinator candidates – Lane Kiffin, Rob Chudzinski and Bob Bicknell – Chryst might now be their in-house front runner, though he has not been an NFL offensive coordinator since 2000, with the San Diego Chargers.
Logan, meanwhile, was also a part of the Berlin Thunder’s staff in 2004 and 2005 with Tomsula but now is charged on a position coach level with getting Colin Kaepernick back on track.
“The San Francisco 49ers’ roster is a roster that is Super Bowl competitive,” Logan said. “[Kaepernick] is my kind of guy – mobile, accurate and smart.”
Kaepernick was also sacked a league-high 52 times last season and his Total QBR fell from 68.6 (sixth in the NFL in 2013) to 55.9 (17th last season).
In Logan’s run, three years coaching Tampa Bay’s running backs, the Buccaneers’ rushing attack was ranked 23rd, eighth and 30th.
Before that, Logan was Boston College’s offensive coordinator in 2008 and 2007, working with Matt Ryan.
Logan was 69-58 at East Carolina from 1992 through 2002.
Bob Bicknell, the Philadelphia Eagles' receivers coach, has decided to stay in that position rather than join new 49ers coach Jim Tomsula's staff, according to numerous reports.
The Sacramento Bee first reported the Eagles had blocked the Niners from interviewing Bicknell, and CSNPhilly.com reported Bicknell decided to stay put rather than take a promotion to head the 49ers' offense.
NFL Nation reporter Phil Sheridan wrote that "it is possible [Eagles coach Chip] Kelly blocked Bicknell at Bicknell's request."
Bicknell and Tomsula have an NFL Europe connection in that Bicknell's only offensive coordinator experience came with the Berlin Thunder, from 2000 through 2003, and the Cologne Centurions, 2004 and 2005.
Also, the NFL Network has reported that Tomsula was already traveling in early January, before he officially landed the 49ers' gig, to "gather info to prep for possibility he'd get 49er job."
If so, it has not helped him land an offensive coordinator.
Over the weekend, Lane Kiffin announced he was staying at Alabama. On Tuesday, Rob Chudzinski was given a promotion to associate head coach to stay with the Indianapolis Colts.
Mike Shanahan has been linked. In house, Geep Chryst, who was the Niners' QB coach the past four seasons, might be considered an option, as could new tight ends coach and former Oakland Raiders interim coach Tony Sparano, who was the New York Jets' O.C. in 2012.
Tuesday, special teams coach target Perry Fewell chose Washington over San Francisco.
Steve Logan, who was Tomsula's offensive coordinator in NFL Europe with the Rhein Fire in 2006, is expected to join the Niners' offensive staff in an unknown role, according to CSNBayArea.com., while former 49ers nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin, whose position coach was Tomsula, is in line to be a defensive assistant, per the Sacramento Bee.
Also, the Niners have contemplated Philadelphia Eagles receivers coach Bob Bicknell as their offensive coordinator, while offensive assistant Ronald Curry, who was pursued by the Buffalo Bills, is now a target of the University of Florida to be the Gators' receivers coach, the NFL Network reported.
The 49ers have yet to announce any hirings.
Logan, the head coach at East Carolina from 1992-02, was the quarterbacks and receivers coach for the Berlin Thunder in 2004 and 2005, when Tomsula was the Thunder's defensive coordinator. Logan, who then was Boston College's O-coordinator in 2007 and 2008 and worked with quarterback Matt Ryan, has only worked in the NFL as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' running backs coach from 2009-11.
Franklin started 59 of 62 games for the Niners between 2007, Tomsula's first year with the team, and 2010, with three of his four career sacks and his lone interception coming under his tutelage. He last played in 2013, for the Indianapolis Colts.
The Niners missed out on offensive coordinator target Rob Chudzinski, who was promoted by the Colts from special assistant to the head coach to associate head coach, and Perry Fewell, who chose to take the secondary coach position with Washington.
Earlier in the day, offensive coordinator candidate Rob Chudzinski came off the market as he was promoted by the Indianapolis Colts from special assistant to the head coach to associate head coach.
Fewell, meanwhile, was wooed to bring his resume as former New York Giants defensive coordinator to Santa Clara and take over a secondary that helped the Niners lead the NFL with 23 interceptions last season.
Former secondary coach Ed Donatell was released by the Niners in the wake of Jim Harbaugh’s departire and followed defensive coordinator Vic Fangio to the Chicago Bears.
A day after the San Francisco 49ers’ tight end posted a picture of Rob Chudzinski and wrote “All I want for Christmas … is to meet #robchudzinski #OC,” Indianapolis announced a promotion for the former special assistant to the head coach, to associate head coach.
“We’re excited to keep Chud in our family,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said in a statement. “He’s been a critical part of our operation, and we’re looking forward to sharing even more success in the future.”
Besides the Niners, the St. Louis Rams also had expressed interest in Chudzinksi for their vacant offensive coordinator position, but Colts general manager Ryan Grigson denied both teams permission to speak with him last week.
So where do the 49ers look now for an OC?
Well, in house there are three assistants with such experience in tight ends coach Tony Sparano, who did the job with the New York Jets in 2012, offensive line coach Chris Foerster, with the Miami Dolphins in 2004, and quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst, with the San Diego Chargers in 1999 and 2000.
The Niners, though, have yet to officially announce any hires to new coach Jim Tomsula’s staff. And former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, who was the Niners’ OC the last time they won a Super Bowl, in 1995, also has been linked to the opening.
Still, the longer the search takes, the more credence is lent to the notion that the Niners had no true plan in place for assistants when the promotion of Tomsula from defensive line coach to head coach was announced on Jan. 15.
He also Tweeted out a picture of his new workplace.
Plus, 49ers free safety Eric Reid offered his congratulations to McGaughey.
We're building a great coaching staff! Congrats @CoachTMcGaughey on getting the ST Coordinator job. Was my coach at LSU so that says it all— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) January 27, 2015
Following is the most up-to-date tracker of assistants linked to Tomsula’s staff:
Offensive coordinator: Rob Chudzinski appears to be the leading candidate after "front-runner" Lane Kiffin announced he was returning to Alabama. Two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Shanahan, who was the 49ers' offensive coordinator the last time they won the Super Bowl, and Marc Trestman were also linked, though Trestman was hired as Baltimore’s offensive coordinator and Indianapolis has blocked teams from interviewing Chudzinski, whose contract with Colts reportedly ends next week. 49ers quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst is also considered an option.
Offensive line: Chris Foerster, the 49ers’ offensive line coach in 2008 and 2009, reportedly is returning to the same position, though he ran more zone schemes in Washington and the 49ers' personnel dictates power blocking.
Assistant offensive line: Eric Wolford, the former head coach at Youngstown State, is purportedly joining Foerster, after reportedly accepting a job at Oklahoma State.
Quarterbacks: Chryst, the 49ers' quarterbacks coach since 2011, is reportedly set to return, though the exact capacity is not yet known. He was linked to the Chicago Bears' offensive coordinator position before they hired Adam Gase.
Tight ends: Former Oakland Raiders interim head coach Tony Sparano is set to come down I-880.
Running backs: Tom Rathman will reportedly return in the same capacity.
Offensive assistant: Ronald Curry, with the 49ers since 2013, has been wooed by Buffalo, though the 49ers reportedly denied the Bills permission to interview him.
Special teams coordinator: McGaughey Tweets that he is the new special teams coordinator after Brad Seely, released by the 49ers, was hired by Oakland for the same position. McGaughey worked with Tomsula in NFL Europe.
Defensive coordinator: The 49ers are set to name Eric Mangini to this position. The ex-49ers tight ends coach was the New England Patriots' defensive coordinator in 2005, and head coach of the New York Jets (2006-08) and Cleveland Browns (2009-10). San Francisco was denied permission by Cincinnati to speak with Bengals secondary coach Vance Joseph, whose NFL coaching career began with the 49ers as a secondary coach.
Senior defensive assistant/linebackers: Former Oakland defensive coordinator Jason Tarver has been hired. He ran a 4-3 defensive scheme in Oakland, but is a 3-4 strategist at heart.
Secondary: Former New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell reportedly has an offer in hand from the 49ers but is also considering Washington after former secondary coach Ed Donatell was released by the Redskins and followed Vic Fangio to the Bears.