Scot McCloughan said he was in good spirits in a text message today. "I know what I did for the organization and I'm really good with it," McCloughan wrote. McCloughan took in the early game at HP Pavilion in San Jose that saw Murray State upset Vanderbilt on a buzzer-beater shot. The 49ers, meanwhile, have not issued any statement or commented on the original Santa Rosa Press Democrat report that he is contemplating stepping down as general manager of the team. In fact, members of the media were barred from entering the media trailer at the team headquarters.
Earlier today, Nancy Gay of AOL Fan House reported that the 49ers were "cutting ties" with McCloughan due to "personal reasons." Citing multiple sources, the report said that McCloughan no longer was with the team. ESPN's Adam Schefter, however, reports that McCloughan has been placed on an extended leave of absence while he "tends to personal issues."
The only thing that is certain at the moment is that McCloughan is not taking part in the day-to-day operation of the team. The 49ers and the rest of the league are entering the second phase of free agency, and they will host free-agent guard Chester Pitts this evening and tomorrow. Pitts, who was in Detroit this morning, is expected to meet with offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye and offensive line coach Mike Solari as well as director of pro personnel Tom Gamble. Mike Singletary, who already had decided to take on a bigger role in preparing for the draft, is on the east coast attending college pro day sessions.
With McCloughan and the 49ers estranged, Gamble is expected to take on a larger role in free agency while Trent Baalke, the director of player personnel, is expected to charge of the team's draft preparations. The 49ers have two first-round picks. The draft begins April 22.
-- Matt Barrows