Just do something already

John York is not a proactive NFL owner. If he were, we would have had answers about the 49ers' uncertain future yesterday.

But as a few assorted assistant coaches left 49ers headquarters late Tuesday afternoon, each indicating they knew of no new developments at the top levels of the team's organizational hierarchy and expected nothing 49er-shaking to happen later in the day or evening, it became increasingly apparent another day would go by without York making – or, at least, announcing – any of the definitive decisions that he already should have had figured out before San Francisco's historically-bad 2-14 season ended Sunday.

Instead, it is bunker mentality at 49ers Central, with York meeting during the day with general manager Terry Donahue and coach Dennis Erickson, with whom York had a two-hour chat session Monday evening.

Nobody can be sure exactly what is going to happen, but it has become increasingly obvious York is ready to show the door to both Donahue and Erickson, regardless of the millions that will cost him.

The big question: What's the hold-up?

Perhaps Donahue and Erickson still are in the building right now as you read this begging for their jobs and painting scenarios for York how this can all still work out under their watch.

But everybody knows that's an unlikely result, considering how far the franchise has plummeted in the 23 months since Donahue hired Erickson to replace the deposed Steve Mariucci.

Remember the Mariucci saga? The way the Niners botched that hatchet job, and the resulting coaching search that followed, was the beginning of the team's steady slide into the abyss from its promising perch of just two short years ago, when the Niners were one of the final four teams left standing in the NFC playoffs.

Just look where they are now. And in so short of time, too.

You'd think York would have learned from that fiasco, which basically saw the 49ers running out of time and having to settle for Erickson in mid-February. In two years, Erickson has distinguished himself – in the wrong fashion – with a 9-23 record that has put the Niners in this boiler they currently reside.

For someone that has been around the team regularly the past two years, it is obvious Erickson is not the problem here. But he is part of it. He never had a chance to succeed with the 49ers, and that's not his fault. But now, as a weary and embattled figure who is being derided by fans and media alike, Erickson hardly gives anybody confidence he is the man to infuse the 49ers with the energy and game plan to dig themselves out of this mess.

He should have been relieved of his misery Monday. Instead, he was trotted out for his season-ending media conference to say that "I expect to be back" and "yes, I do want to come back" – things Erickson has been saying in several variations for the past two months.

At this point, it's hard to believe anything he says.

And that he still is in a position to be saying it – while his neck rests uncomfortably on the guillotine – just shows how wrong York is to go about this imminent divorce in this manner.

If York as expected dumps both Erickson and Donahue – whose moves over the past two years have been exposed this season as classic mismanagement – he should have had a plan in place and executed it swiftly once the season ended.

Instead, all indications again are that he has no plan – and no able bodies ready to replace either Erickson or Donahue.

Perhaps York is just waiting until he identifies and secures those replacements before making his move. A lot of good that does anybody. Instead of having any resolution, everybody – and we're talking management figures, coaches, players and everybody else who gives a hoot about the 49ers – twists in the wind instead of getting the respect and sanctity of moving on with their lives.

It's a lousy way to operate.

I believe, as many close to the team say, that York wants to get it right this time. But he's going about it all wrong.

There is darkness now at 49ers headquarters. Team officials said Monday that Donahue was expected to meet with reporters today for his season post-wrap, as he did last year. But Donahue is nowhere to be seen, and the team's media relations department has no update on when he might appear. They're on the outside looking in, just like everybody else.

Perhaps as late afternoon stretches into this evening, some decisions will be made and the news – one way or another – will be made official.

I have a rather educated guess about that one: Don't count on it.


Niners Digest Top Stories