49ers GM: Tom Gamble's decision to leave San Francisco was 'chance for him to go home'

Philadelphia had some personal appeal for new VP of player personnel Tom Gamble. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

INDIANAPOLIS -- Tom Gamble's departure from the San Francisco 49ers to the Eagles to become Howie Roseman's deputy as vice president of player personnel was notable not only because of the magnitude of the move -- Gamble is well regarded as a personnel evaluator -- but also the timing of the move. 

Losing a key executive one week before the NFL Scouting Combine, when teams are already deep in their offseasons plans, is uncommon. But 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said Thursday at the Combine that there was "a lot that went into that decision" and it was not as simple as leaving one organization for another.

"It was a chance for him to go home," Baalke said. "It certainly is a difficult time ot lose somebody, especially of Tom's caliber. But at the same time, sometimes in life, you have to make those decisions. And you have lto left people go home. It was something that him and I talked about for over a year. And it came up again. Through those discussions, we were able to allow that to happen. Tough timing, obviously, but I think both sides feel good that the decision was made."

Baalke and Gamble have been long-time friends and colleagues, so Baalke was complimentary of Gamble. He characterized it as a loss for the 49ers, although he viewed it similarly to losing a player -- citing the common NFL mantra, "next man up."

"You miss an awfully loyal, awfully qualified individual that helps you set your board, helps you through free agency and the line," Baalke said. "But at the same time, it's never one person. It's not me, it's not Tom. There's a bunch of qualified individuals."