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Time to regroup
Niners look to recover from front office shakeup
Posted: Wednesday July 22, 1998 11:40 PM
Steve Young took some consolation in pointing to the team's history of handling adversity in tumultuous times.
Carmen Policy's startling resignation as the San Francisco 49ers' president left players, coaches and executives wondering Wednesday about the direction of one of the league's marquee franchises.
"This is the team that everybody seems to look at, and I'm sure the commissioner's office is not real happy with the commotion that's going on with the Niners," Barton said after practice at training camp.
"This is the flagship team of the league. There's a lot of superstars on this team. It's won Super Bowls. It's always up there contending. They want stability. When stuff like this happens I know the rest of the league is looking at it and saying `What the hell is going on out there.'"
Policy's stay with the club had become tenuous since his relationship with team co-owner Eddie DeBartolo soured this year. The two, friends for 30 years, have not spoken to each other since a heated meeting in January.
"So something was inevitable. Something was going to happen. I just think we were all surprised by the timing," Barton said. "You just wish somebody could have stepped in between them."
Coach Steve Mariucci said he learned of Policy's resignation Tuesday night and called a team meeting around 11 p.m. to inform the players.
"Time will tell what kind of effect it has on the team, but my guess is this: This football team will remain very focused and will take care of business," Mariucci said. "We as coaches have a job to do. Our players have a job to do. This is our time to go get another Super Bowl."
Policy was known for his ability to manipulate the salary cap and stock the team with talent.
Rice, in the midst of a comeback from two serious knee injuries that wiped out his season last year, said he will be difficult to replace.
"You worry about it, but you just hope the next guy in line can make the right decisions, the right judgments," Rice said. "We have to wait and see. We just have to focus in on our job because when it's time to play football if we don't go out and play well, I think the blame will go towards the players."
Young said the 49ers in the past have withstood changes to coaches, executives and players and handled them with aplomb, winning five Super Bowls since 1981.
"I know I'm very fond of Carmen, but I believe this is the organization that can handle these types of transitions," Young said.
"This actually has happened at a very good time for us in that management has done all that it can already to put this team together. Now we're in training camp and it's really up to the players and coaches so really very little will change. We [the players] feel it's business as usual for us because it's in our laps anyway."
Added safety Tim McDonald: "I don't know what's going to happen down the road and I don't think it's my place to say. Our job is to win football games and I think we have a good chance of doing that."
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