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Donahue Continues To Impress
April 4 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
As Bill Walsh stepped aside after last season's draft, one of the biggest questions surrounding the 49ers would be: how well could Terry Donahue assume the General Manager position with the 49ers? Although Donahue has proved he is a very valuable member to the staff as Walsh's understudy, until the start of the free agent period of this off-season, Donahue's woth was really un-proven. The past few days in particular have proven Donahue knows what he is doing at the top of the 49ers front office.

At the start of free agency, Donahue proclaimed that he would like to return every one of the teams top five free agents to the team - but realistically realized that he may only be able to sign four out of those five. Immediately after the start of free agency, Donahue re-signed Newberry, Willig, Beasley and Hearst. He also made a pro-active move and locked Zack Brosnon up to a contract to prevent exposing him to free agency next season.

The lone hold out was Lance Schulters. Schulters, who would be best served in finding a new agent to work on his behalf, was asking for too much money. A Pro Bowl safety is not easily replaced, but earlier this week - Donahue made what appears to be a brilliant move. In signing safety Tony Parrish for less than the team offered Schulters, the 49ers managed to find a suitable replacement. Parrish brings virtually everything Schulters did to the table, and may even be a better run stopper and a little quicker than Schulters. A great signing - but Donahue wasn't done. With the money left over from the difference between Parrish's contract and Schulters' proposal, Donahue brought in defensive lineman Sean Moran. Moran is a solid player who will challenge John Engelberger for the starting position.

It's been a very productive off-season so far. Donahue has less than three weeks until his biggest day of the off-season, the draft. During that time the team and he will continue evaluations of draft eligible players as well as continue their search for an upgrade on the offensive line. It is still to early to claim the 49ers off-season a success, but if Donahue continues on the path he has started, it won't be long for such a proclamation is realistic; and at that point Donahue too, will prove to be a success.

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