Thrailkill Quits as 49ers’ President


On the field, they have run their final formation of the season.

But off the field, the San Francisco 49ers continue to shift into new alignments, the only constant in the front-office being chaos.

Larry Thrailkill stepped down as team president Saturday, to be replaced on an interim basis by John McVay, who is also interim general manager.


McVay becomes the team’s third president in less than a year.

Thrailkill was brought in to replace Carmen Policy, who left to run the new team in Cleveland. McVay took over as general manager for Dwight Clark, who left to join Policy in Cleveland.

Officially, Thrailkill was said to be leaving to take care of his law practice and “other commitments.” But sources close to the team say he had grown weary of being caught in the middle of the muddled ownership situation. Owner Eddie DeBartolo has been forced to give up the reins, at least temporarily, after pleading guilty to gambling charges. His sister, Denise, currently holds the title of owner.

With all indications that Bill Walsh is about to return to the team he coached to so many triumphs in the 1980s in a still unspecified front-office role, McVay will serve as both interim president and general manager.

“I don’t know,” McVay said when asked about his future with the team. “I’m here to serve, to do whatever needs to be done.”


One of McVay’s tasks will be to continue negotiations with Coach Steve Mariucci on a new contract even though he is finishing only the second year of a five-year deal.

“We’re hoping to get it done,” McVay said, “but it’s not like we have a gun to our head.”


Although he spent the entire game on the sidelines, Falcon Coach Dan Reeves, who underwent quadruple-bypass surgery less than a month ago, was not directly involved in the play-calling.

Quarterback coach Jack Burns had that task, relaying the information to backup quarterback Steve DeBerg.

But Reeves was able to listen in on his headphones and make changes when he saw fit.

“I changed three or four plays,” Reeves said, “those that didn’t work.”


Those around him were most concerned when Reeves became agitated over the controversial second-quarter fumble by the 49ers’ Terry Kirby, a fumble on which the officials first gave the ball to the Falcons, then changed their minds and put it back in the hands of the 49ers.

“I was emotional, but that wasn’t going to do any good,” Reeves said. “They [the officials] weren’t going to change it. I had to let it go.”


San Francisco defensive end Chris Doleman, who played for 14 seasons, announced his retirement after the game.