INDIANAPOLIS -- NFL teams don’t often allow personnel people who are under contract to make lateral moves to other organizations, particularly right in the middle of preparation for the draft and free agency.
But the San Francisco 49ers did just that last week when they allowed player personnel director Tom Gamble to leave and take a job as the Eagles’ new vice president of player personnel.
Niners general manager Trent Baalke said Thursday that his team didn’t want to lose Gamble, but honored his desire to move back to the Philadelphia area, where he was born and raised.
"There’s a lot that went into that decision,’’ Baalke said. "Tom and I have been friends for an awful long time. It was a chance for him to get home.’’
Gamble, the son of former Eagles’ president Harry Gamble, is from Haddonfield, N.J. His parents still live there.
Baalke acknowledged that the timing wasn’t ideal. After the draft would’ve been much better for the Niners. But the Eagles wanted Gamble now, and he knew how much it meant to Gamble to get back to Philly.
"It certainly is a difficult time to lose somebody, especially somebody of Tom’s caliber,’’ he said. "But at the same time, there are times in life when you’ve got to make those decisions, and you’ve got to let people go home.
"It was something him and I had talked about for over a year. It came up again. Through those discussions, we were able to allow that to happen.
"Tough timing? Obviously. But both sides feel good that the decision was made.
"You miss an awfully loyal, awfully qualified individual who helps you set your board, who helps you through free agency and the like.
"But at the same time, it’s never one person. It’s not me. It’s not Tom. There are a bunch of qualified individuals (in the 49ers’ organization). Just like we say with players, it’s next man up. Let’s go."