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San Francisco 49ers General Manager Search: Tony Softli The Rooney Rule Candidate?

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The San Francisco 49ers cannot get their head coaching search underway until they find a suitable general manager. Although it has been reported that the next 49ers general manager has to see eye-to-eye with owner Jed York on who the next head coach is (translation: If York wants one head coach and the GM doesn't agree, bye-bye GM), it could still be a very important hire. A talent evaluator has long been needed in San Francisco.

The first candidate passed through the door today, although it remains to be seen if he's really a legitimate candidate. Matt Maiocco, NFL Insider for CSN Bay Area and thus the 49ers, reports on the story.

CSN learned, and confirmed through York, that he interviewed former Panthers and Rams personnel man Tony Softli, whom the Rams released in June. Softli had previously held the position vice president of player personnel with the Rams. He was not retained after former 49ers personnel man Mike Williams was promoted to the same title.

On the surface, Softli seems qualified enough. His LinkedIn profile does include his time as VP of Player Personnel with the Rams (four years running!) and his decade long stint with the Carolina Panthers as their college head scout. On the other hand, it quizzically includes his time as a Nordstrom Sales Rep back from 1982-83. I guess his impeccable style is more than enough to impress at any job interview. So it seems like a guy who's well-qualified to be a general manager.

But it's hard to figure out if Softli is only being interviewed because of the color of his skin [he's black], as stipulated by the terms of the Rooney Rule.

The 49ers must meet the requirements of the "Rooney Rule" with an interview of at least one minority candidate before hiring a general manager.

So, yeah. It's safe to be skeptical that Softli is in serious contention for the job, since his name had never been circulated as a general manager candidate before today.