Whenever their season ends - and the San Francisco 49ers hope it's Jan. 29 in Miami - offensive coordinator Mike Shanahan will be on the short list of NFL teams looking for new head coaches.

"To me, if you really concentrate on the job at hand, then good things happen to you," Shanahan said. "As I've said before, I feel like I've got a great job and I enjoy what I'm doing. At the same time, my long-range goal is to become a head football coach. "The goal may not be that long range. Shanahan's stock has grown each of the last three seasons as the 49ers' offense achieved No. 1 rankings in the league. The Philadelphia Eagles are said to be high on Shanahan now that it seems certain owner Jeffrey Lurie will fire coach Richie Kotite after the season. The Denver Broncos and Rams are also possibilities if they make coaching changes when the season is over.

In any event, coach George Seifert is preparing himself for the eventual departure of Shanahan, much as he did Mike Holmgren in 1992. Holmgren prepped in the role of San Francisco's offensive coordinator for three seasons before becoming Green Bay's coach.

"I would say there's a possibility because he's done a wonderful job and we'd support him in any way we could," Seifert said. "I would hate to lose him. He's extremely valuable."

Shanahan has said he will only take an NFL head coaching job if he has control over the draft and personnel. As it is, being offensive coordinator for the 49ers is better than some head coaching jobs, both in prestige (they lead the league in points scored) and salary (about $500,000).

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"There's a lot of rumors and speculations," Shanahan said. "You can't get caught up in it because it takes away from your job."

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