No guarantees

A visibly distraught 49ers owner John York stopped well short Sunday afternoon of guaranteeing that general manager Terry Donahue and coach Dennis Erickson will return in 2005 to direct San Francisco's rebuilding project and lead the team back from the depths of this horrible 2-14 season.</p>

York spoke very briefly with reporters in the San Francisco locker room after the Niners' season finale at New England, a 21-7 loss to the Patriots that tied the 1978 and 1979 teams for the worst record in franchise history.

York wouldn't reveal any of the changes that are certain to come during an offseason that promises to be both uncertain and tumultuous, but he didn't exactly give a vote of confidence to two of the organization's most prominent leading men.

Erickson's future with the 49ers has been in doubt for several months. But after York's brief comments Sunday, it also appears Donahue could be on the firing line. Donahue's future seemed secure after he was signed 16 weeks ago to a contract extension through the 2009 draft. Now he doesn't appear so secure.

When asked if there's a chance Donahue will not be with the team next season, York did not answer directly.

``Terry and I are going to sit down and talk about everything, and with Dennis," York said. ``That's all there is to it. When we've had the meetings, we'll talk to you.''

York said the meetings will take place at some point this upcoming week, though they have yet to be scheduled. Donahue did not speak with the media after Sunday's game.

Erickson did.

The embattled second-year coach – who is 9-23 in two seasons with the 49ers, including 2-14 on the road – said he did not having a meeting with York over the past weekend, but he expects to have one soon "to discuss a lot of different things."

"As far as my future,'' Erickson said, ``I'm confident my future is here.''

But nobody in a position of power with the 49ers – besides York – can be feeling too confident after this embarrassing season. It would be expensive for York to get rid of both Donahue and Erickson – who has three years and $7.5 million remaining on his contract – but the possibility, and perhaps even likelihood, that one or both will be gone within the next week definitely has moved to the forefront.

Before his 60-second media briefing was over, York was asked if he was relieved the season finally is over.

"There's no relief," he said. "This was a very unacceptable season. I said that in Arizona. It hasn't gotten any better. Terry and Dennis and I will sit down and go over the season sometime this week and evaluate the whole thing, and we'll go from there."

Stay tuned.


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