Assistant general manager Tom Gamble leaves 49ers

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- With changes abound in the San Francisco 49ers personnel department, assistant general manager Tom Gamble's position was becoming increasingly less defined.

And so it was that on Wednesday afternoon, the Niners announced that Gamble is leaving the organization. In a statement, general manager John Lynch said he and Gamble agreed that it would be best for Gamble to seek other opportunities.

"The 49ers organization has tremendous respect and appreciation for Tom Gamble and his many years of service," Lynch said. "He is a class act who has helped a great deal in this transition, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him. After working together over the last month, Tom and I agreed that it would be in both of our best interests for him to pursue other opportunities. Tom is a true professional and we wish him and his family great success in the future."

Gamble's role with the team moving forward had become more unclear after Lynch hired Adam Peters as his vice president of player personnel and Martin Mayhew as senior personnel executive earlier this month. That came after a period in which Gamble served as the de facto general manager while CEO Jed York was seeking candidates to replace Trent Baalke as general manager.

Although York made it clear he held Gamble in high regard, he said at the beginning of that search that he did not view Gamble as a candidate to replace Baalke. Still, Gamble has spent a decade with the organization and his statement indicated that the sides are parting on good terms.

"I must thank Jed, the York family and the entire 49ers organization for the wonderful memories they provided me and my family, but it is time I move on," Gamble said. "This past month, I have had the pleasure of working alongside John Lynch and the talented staff he has assembled. The team is in capable hands and I wish them nothing but the best."

Gamble wrapped up his 29th season in the NFL in 2016 after returning to San Francisco in January of 2015. He was promoted to assistant general manager from senior personnel executive in July of last year. Before that, he spent two years as the Philadelphia Eagles vice president of player personnel. His first stint with the 49ers began in 2005 and lasted eight years, including two as director of player personnel before he went to Philadelphia.

With free agency set to begin soon, the timing of Gamble's departure isn't ideal for the Niners. While Mayhew and Peters have been on the job for a few weeks, neither has worked in pro personnel recently and Lynch is just beginning his work at any level of personnel. The 49ers do still have director of pro personnel Mike Williams in place. Gamble's departure would presumably clear the way for Mayhew to get a new title and more clearly defined role.

More often than not, substantial changes to personnel departments come after the draft and the Niners could make more at that time after Lynch has more chances to evaluate his staff.