Shanahan recalls childhood memories as 49ers brace for Broncos
Kyle Shanahan gets an opportunity to coach against his dad's old team Sunday when the San Francisco 49ers host the Denver Broncos in Santa Clara, Calif.
Mike Shanahan served as the Broncos' wide receivers coach, offensive coordinator and head coach over three stints from 1984-98, with young son Kyle by his side for just about everything, including Super Bowl wins over Green Bay and Atlanta.
"That was back when they didn't have wireless cords (for their headsets)," Kyle said when recalling the win over the Packers at the end of the 1997 season. "I was always the cord boy, holding my dad's cords, which got made fun of a lot for it, but it was neat to be up front and personal with everything.
"The last guy to hold cords for a coach in the Super Bowl was me, if you want a good trivia question. After that Green Bay Super Bowl, they went wireless the next year. I think they only won one more because they didn't have as good of a cord-holder, is what I always tell my dad."
Shanahan won't be back in the Super Bowl this season, with the 49ers (2-10) having already been eliminated from playoff contention.
The Broncos (6-6), meanwhile, have surged within one game of a playoff spot in the AFC on the strength of three-game winning streak fueled by running back Phillip Lindsay.
The rookie has rushed for 346 yards and five touchdowns in the three wins, putting the Broncos in a position to take advantage of a weak schedule (they play Cleveland and Oakland the next two weeks) in their pursuit of a postseason bid.
The spotlight will shine even brighter on Lindsay this week with news that wideout Emmanuel Sanders ruptured his Achilles in practice this week and will be lost for the season.
"It's tough. You don't really replace guys (like Sanders)," Broncos quarterback Case Keenum assured reporters Wednesday. "Emmanuel is one of the best guys I've ever worked with."
Keenum will be matched up at quarterback with Nick Mullens, who began the season on the 49ers' practice squad. In four starts following injuries to Jimmy Garoppolo and C.J. Beathard, the undrafted rookie out of Southern Mississippi has led a win over Oakland and threw for 414 yards -- the most for a 49er in 14 years -- last week in a loss to Seattle.
The 49ers likewise suffered a key injury when their top running back this season, Matt Breida, aggravated a sprained ankle in Seattle. He has been ruled out this week, allowing another former practice-squad guy, Jeff Wilson Jr., to get his chance.
--Field Level Media
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