Source: Legendary assistant Bobby Turner walks away from 49ers coaching staff

INDIANAPOLIS — Legendary running backs coach Bobby Turner is moving away from the 49ers coaching staff, a league source told NBC Sports Bay Area early Tuesday morning.

Turner, 72, was a central figure in successful running games while serving on the coaching staffs of Mike Shanahan and Kyle Shanahan for nearly three decades.

There is no indication that Turner is retiring, and the 49ers have not commented on Turner’s official status.

The 49ers recently hired former Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, likely in anticipation of the move. Lynn joins Kyle Shanahan’s team as assistant head coach. He is expected to work closely with team running backs.

Lynn played running back for six seasons in the NFL, including two years with the 49ers and his last three with the Denver Broncos under Turner’s tutelage.

Turner is widely regarded as one of the great running backs coaches of all time. Last year, Turner was named the winner of the Paul “Dr. Z” Zimmerman Award for Excellence in an Assist Coach, as presented by the Pro Football Writers of America.

Turner is known for his meticulous evaluation of prospect projects, which includes numerous calls and interactions with prospects he identifies as good candidates for the program. Turner oversaw three of the best rookie seasons in NFL history: Alfred Morris (1,613 yards) in 2012; Clinton Portis (1,508) in 2002; and Mike Anderson (1,500) in 2000.

He was the only post coach to work with Pro Football Hall of Famer Terrell Davis during his seven-year NFL career. Turner has often achieved extraordinary results through under-the-radar running backs. Davis was a sixth-round draft pick.

The 49ers selected two running backs in the 2021 NFL Draft, including Elijah Mitchell in the sixth round from Louisiana-Lafayette. Following his selection, Mitchell said the opportunity to work with Turner would be a major benefit to him early in his career.

“He’s a terrific coach,” Mitchell said. “Just talking to him I know he coaches hard and loves the little things, running smart, running between tackles and running outside the area. He’s very involved and I’m delighted to be able to work with him. one of the great coaches in the league.

Mitchell immediately caught on and worked his way into the substitute role to open the season. When Raheem Mostert was injured early in the season in Detroit, Mitchell was called up. In 11 regular season games, Mitchell gained 963 yards and five touchdowns on 207 carries for an average of 4.7 yards. He added 169 yards and a touchdown in three postseason games.

The 49ers had different front runners — Carlos Hyde, Matt Breida, Mostert, Jeff Wilson and Mitchell — in each of the five seasons with Turner coaching that group of positions on Shanahan’s staff.

Turner began coaching running backs in 1975 at Indiana State, his alma mater. He continued his coaching career at Fresno State, Ohio State and Purdue.

Turner entered the professional coaching ranks in 1995 on Mike Shanahan’s team with the Broncos. The Broncos had 11 individual 1,000-yard seasons during his time with the Broncos, including a four-year stint (2003 to 2006) of having a different 1,000-yard rusher each season.

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Turner was part of a team that won back-to-back Super Bowls after the 1997 and 1998 seasons. He moved to Washington on Shanahan’s team in 2010 with Kyle Shanahan as offensive coordinator.

Turner spent two seasons with Atlanta when Kyle Shanahan was offensive coordinator, then followed Shanahan to the 49ers in 2017.

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