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49ers' new regime sent message with Tramaine Brock's swift release

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- From Day 1, San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch made it clear that he, coach Kyle Shanahan and CEO Jed York will put a priority on finding players who represent what they want a 49er to be.

"Kyle and I are on the same page that we're going to put together and assemble a team and how long that takes we don't know, but we're going to assemble a team that will make you proud," Lynch said at his introductory news conference. "I can promise you this: We're going to have players that will compete, that will compete every day, that will compete to be the best that they can be. They're going to be great teammates.

"We're going to have a team that plays fast. We're going to have a team that plays physical. We believe in those things. We're going to have guys with great character, football character and we're going to have guys that are interested in making their community a better place. That's important to Kyle and I, and it's important to Jed."

Those comments help explain why the Niners moved so swiftly to release cornerback Tramaine Brock last Friday afternoon. The Niners parted ways with Brock less than 24 hours after his arrest on suspicion of felony domestic violence.

According to the Santa Clara Police Department report, officers responded to a call from Brock's girlfriend last Thursday night and, upon arriving at the scene, found her with "visible injuries." Brock was taken into custody Thursday night and released on bail Friday afternoon. The Niners sent a one-sentence statement announcing Brock's release later that afternoon.

It was the first test for how the new 49ers regime would go about its business on the heels of the team's recent history of domestic violence issues with players such as Ray McDonald, Aldon Smith and Bruce Miller.

On Monday, Shanahan explained the decision to release Brock.

"It was a tough situation because it's a big deal and you don't have all of the information," Shanahan said. "My first time going through it, I found out how hard it is to kind of get all the information. So we spent most of the day trying to figure out all the information you can, as much as you can get, and you never do get all of it, but there was enough there that we felt it was the decision we had to make and move on from."

Shanahan added that he wasn't trying to send a message to his team by moving on from Brock so swiftly. He said the decision was made simply because it was the right thing to do.

"You're dealing with people's lives, so I'd never want to use a situation as sending a message," Shanahan said. "It's just us trying to do the right thing, whatever that is. I think each situation is different and you've got to look into every situation, gather all the information that you can. When you do, you try as hard as you can to make the right decision and I think that's what I felt we did."

While Brock wasn't a star for the Niners, he was a key contributor and letting him go was no small thing in a football sense. He started all but one game over the past two seasons and was considered by some to be the team's top returning cornerback.

Given Brock's prominent role in the defense and the fact that he was one of the most-tenured players on the roster, his release resonated with the rest of the roster, even if that wasn't Shanahan's intent.

"It definitely sends the message to do the right things, not only on the field but off the field," tackle Joe Staley said.

"It's just a situation where you have to realize the microscope that you're under," linebacker NaVorro Bowman said. "Guys have different issues in their selves, but you have to always put the team first and think about the decisions that you make."

In an ideal world, Lynch and Shanahan won't have to make more decisions like the one they made Friday. Odds are, they probably will. Moving forward, Shanahan said, the Niners will evaluate such situations on a case-by-case basis.

"I don't really look at any absolutes," Shanahan said. "I think every situation is its own situation. So you've got to look into everything. ... You've got to talk to people when you're dealing with people's lives and you've got to get to the bottom of the truth and then go from there."