HENDERSON, Nev. — The first time 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch met Maxx Crosby, things did not go well.
It was during a pre-draft meeting in 2019, and the 49ers had a new defensive line coach, Kris Kocurek, who was still playing by his old team's rules.
On Thursday, Shanahan apologized to Crosby after the first day of joint practices featuring the 49ers and Las Vegas Raiders.
“He came up and said, ‘What's up?’ ” Shanahan said of Crosby. “I wanted to apologize to him because we were kind of (expletives) to him.”
Shanahan said Crosby is “one of the coolest dudes I've been around.” And, apparently, he handled a potentially awkward situation with aplomb more than four years ago.
“It was Kris Kocurek’s first interview and he had been at some other places where they liked to kind of attack the guys a little bit, rattle them,” Shanahan said. “That's not totally our style.”
San Francisco 49ers
Crosby was the 49ers’ first interview with a defensive lineman that year. Crosby, a prospect from Eastern Michigan, would end up going to the Raiders in the fourth round.
Crosby has become one of the best edge rushers in the game, a two-time Pro Bowl player with 37.5 sacks in four seasons.
“I feel like every single team that I interviewed with didn’t take me seriously,” Crosby said. “I can name every team if I want, but I’m not going to do that. But Kyle Shanahan is an incredible coach. The dude is literally one of the best play-callers in the game, so I’ve got a massive amount of respect for him. We played against them last year and they gave me all type of looks.
“I remember everything, trust me. I remember all those interviews, but that’s what makes me who I am today. I carry every little scar. I won’t talk about a lot of it, but I keep everything noted.”
Things got so bad from the 49ers’ standpoint that, according to Shanahan, Lynch tried to tap Kocurek under the table to get him to back off his aggressive stance toward Crosby.
“After (Kocurek) was like, ‘What did I do?’ ” Shanahan said.
Kocurek was in his first season after spending one year with the Miami Dolphins on Adam Gase’s staff. It was explained to Kocurek that the 49ers try to keep their draft interviews more congenial.
“And he's like, ‘Sorry, my last coach really wanted me to do it that way,’ ” Shanahan said. “And he did it to like the coolest dude (Crosby). So we always tell him that was all Kris, not us.”
Crosby’s reaction to the unusual interaction made Shanahan like him even more.
“He was a stud,” Shanahan said of Crosby. “He didn't care at all. He did not waver. He didn’t. He handled it as good as anyone could handle it.”