SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Jim Tomsula wiped down his glasses then winked at his family across the room as he waited his turn to speak on the podium, unfamiliar territory and formality for a humble defensive line coach thrust into the top job for the San Francisco 49ers.
Tomsula realizes full well the successful Jim he is following to lead this proud franchise, and the demands to get this team back on top in short order.
Back to the Super Bowl, to win it this time.
“I’m not Jim Harbaugh. Jim Harbaugh’s not Jim Tomsula,” the 46-year-old Tomsula said Thursday, when he was formally introduced as Harbaugh’s successor. “I’m not trying to be that guy. That’s absolutely no disrespect to him. I am comfortable with who I am.”
DEL RIO HIRED AS NEW COACH: In Alameda, California, the Oakland Raiders have officially hired Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio as their new head coach.
The team announced the hiring Thursday, a day after finalizing the deal to have Del Rio replace interim coach Tony Sparano. A news conference is expected Friday.
Del Rio becomes Oakland’s ninth head coach since the start of the 2003 season. The Raiders have the NFL’s worst record in that span, having failed to produce a single winning season or playoff berth.
Sparano had been elevated from offensive line coach during the past season to replace the fired Dennis Allen and had hoped to keep the job. Oakland went 3-9 under Sparano after losing the first four games under Allen.
LINEBACKER McNARY PLACED ON COMMISSIONER’S EXEMPT LIST: In Indianapolis, the Indianapolis Colts put backup linebacker Josh McNary on the commissioner’s exempt list Thursday, less than 24 hours after prosecutors filed criminal charges against the 26-year-old.
McNary faces charges of rape, criminal confinement with bodily injury and battery resulting in bodily injury — another off-the-field problem for a league that has been plagued by them this season.
McNary will not be permitted to practice with the team or attend games, including Sunday’s AFC championship game at New England. He will, however, continue to be paid.
FULLBACK JONES RETIRES: In Jacksonville, Florida, vreating holes for Fred Taylor and then Maurice Jones-Drew, Greg Jones proved to be one of the best fullbacks in the NFL for a decade.
Jones signed a ceremonial, one-day contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday and retired with the team that drafted him in 2004.
Around the league
A person familiar with the process said the Cleveland Browns interviewed former Bears coach Marc Trestman for their open offensive coordinator position. ... Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan’s new staff will include Dennis Thurman taking over as defensive coordinator, Bobby April III, who will coach linebackers, Karl Dunbar (defensive line), Tim McDonald (defensive backs) and Tony Sparano Jr. (tight ends). ... Bill Callahan is joining the Washington Redskins as offensive line coach after working for the rival Dallas Cowboys the past three seasons. ... The New York Giants are bringing back Steve Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator.