Q: Why has McCloughan left the team?
A: It’s a private personnel matter. I’m not going to get into details of a private personnel matter. I want to respect Scot’s privacy. I want to make sure people understand that this was a mutual parting.
Q: Did the decision have anything to do with matters concerning McCloughan’s private life?
A: If Scot wants to talk about personal matters, not personnel, personal, he’s more than welcome to do that. It’s not my place to talk about Scot’s personal matters.
Q: Was this a difficult decision for you to make?
A: It’s difficult because I care a lot about Scot. I think everybody knows how I have defended Scot and talked about the things he’s added to the team. It’s never easy to part ways with someone you consider a friend, but again, this was in the best interest of Scot and the 49ers.
Q: What will be McCloughan’s legacy with the 49ers?
A: I wish nothing but the best for Scot. I think Scot has added a lot of good players. But again, we haven’t made the playoffs yet and we expect to make the playoffs this year and in the future. None of our legacies are set at this point.
Q: With McCloughan no longer a part of the organization, who will be leading the team and making the decisions during the draft?
A: The 49ers have been prepared for this event. Trent Baalke, our Director of Player of Personnel, is going to take over and will be the point person in the draft. He will be assisted by Tom Gamble, who I feel very comfortable can step up and add a lot to this process.
Q: Will Baalke have total authority during the draft as far as making the picks and making trades, or will the process involve making decisions by committee?
A: We’ve been prepared for this. Trent knows the draft better than anybody else and I have full confidence in him. He’s been the person that’s been out on the road. He’s organized the area scouts. He will absolutely be able to lead us through the draft.
Q: Will Baalke be making the decisions for free agent signings as well?
A: Yes, he’s the Director of Player Personnel.
Q: Will Head Coach Mike Singletary have more of a lead role in personnel matters going forward?
A: Mike’s not going to move into a more significant role in personnel. [He] is concentrating on coaching. No matter who is the point person in the draft, the coach is always going to have a say. There has to be good communication between personnel and coaching, but Trent will be the point person for the draft.
Q: Will Baalke officially be named as the team’s general manager at some point?
A: Trent is the person that is going to lead us through the draft. Right now we are concentrating on that. We want to make sure that we have a good draft obviously, with [picks] 13 and 17, and instead of worrying about roles going forward, Trent will be acting as the point person and will have all the decision authority. I haven’t decided on whether we’re going to have a general manager.
Q: Will your role be changing or will you have any more responsibilities now?
A: No, I am still the President of the 49ers, and it doesn’t change my role.
Q: You haven’t given much thought to who will be your general manager after the draft at all?
A: I’ve absolutely thought about it. Right now, we want to make sure we’re focused and concentrated on the draft. The one thing that I will promise you is that I will never be the general manager and [Executive Vice President of Football Operations] Paraag Marathe is not going to be the general manager.
Q: How will the unusual timing of this move affect the team’s preparation for the draft?
A: I would say our board is 90-95 percent set. Right now, it’s really making sure you finalize all your homework. Finalize getting injury reports on folks. Again, there’s not much change to our board at this point and Trent has been intimately involved in putting that board together.”
Q: McCloughan was always a big believer of [QB] Alex Smith. Will his departure at all alter how Smith is viewed within the organization?
A: Alex is our guy. He’s our quarterback. We believe in Alex. Coach Singletary has always believed in Alex. I think Alex did a nice job stepping in when he came in. I think it’s great that this is the first time that he’s had the continuity as the coordinator, [and with] some weapons around him with [WR] Michael Crabtree, with [TE] Vernon Davis, with Frank Gore. I think Alex is poised to have a good season for us and we are excited that Alex is our starting quarterback.