New 49ers Coach Breaks Silence on Departing From Broadcast Booth

Brian Griese

Getty Brian Griese during a November 21, 2004 game while with the Buccaneers.

At 47 years of age, Brian Griese is tackling a new career endeavor.

And for the first time since his last NFL game in 2008 while playing quarterback with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Griese will be spending his Sundays on the sidelines.

Not only was the NFL free agency period one for the league history books, but even broadcast booths saw some shuffling and new regimes come in — which impacted Griese and his role with Monday Night Football.

The next time Griese puts on a headset, it’ll be a different kind: The one where he’s hearing from fellow San Francisco 49ers coaches and coaching up Trey Lance and the quarterbacks. But on Friday, May 27, the newest quarterbacks coach of the 49ers finally broke his silence about parting ways with ESPN and being a part of the MNF crew.

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‘They Got a Bigger Fish’

Griese spoke with longtime sports columnist and reporter Matt Maiocco with NBC Sports Bay Area about departing from the “Worldwide Network” and making his transition to coaching.

Griese acknowledged that going a different direction became the theme — for both he and the ESPN network.

“I needed a new challenge and that coupled with the moment ESPN decided to go in a different direction,” Griese said to Maiocco about the circumstances he faced about his broadcasting future. “They (ESPN) got a bigger fish, and I understand the dynamics of that, and I always understood that possibility, and probably likelihood, was out there.”

The “bigger fish” he’s likely referring to? The longtime pairing of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, who left their post as the No. 1 team for Fox to sign new deals with ESPN during the offseason. Per Andrew Marchand of the New York Post on March 11, the 52-year-old Buck signed on for five years worth up to $75 million. Aikman signed his deal for up to $90 million to rejoin his longtime broadcast partner.

How Griese Plans to Take on New Challenge

Quarterback Coaching at the NFL level has been the newest job title Griese has put on his resume during the month of May.

Griese has not only roamed the field with the 49ers at their practice site in Santa Clara for Organized Team Activities (OTAs), but he’s even caught passes from Lance as seen below:

But he’s no stranger to Kyle Shanahan — saying he’s known the 49ers head coach for nearly 25 years.

Griese described the process of getting to know Lance as his newest QB coach a speedy one. Griese, however, dove into one specific area in getting to know his new QB.

“When I took the job, I only had two or three days,” Griese said this week. “I had to make a decision. So I didn’t look at Trey at all. I had conversations with Kyle about Trey and the kind of person he was. That’s what I was most interested in, honestly.”

Griese added: “I’m excited to continue to get to know him, on and off the field.”

But again, he’s taking on his newest challenge yet as he heads down from the booth.

“It was a challenge that I wanted to run towards and not away from. I’m excited about it,” Griese said.

He’s already taken some cues from watching the young 49ers like Lance and others: Having the hard working and humble mindset.

“I view it the same way. I have my entire life, whether I’ve been playing or broadcasting or now being a coach,” Griese said. “I’m going to come here with humility and we’re going to get better together.”

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