Randy Cross unsure 49ers 'can recover' from nixing Harbaugh

Cary Edmondson / USA TODAY Sports

Former NFL offensive lineman-turned-analyst Randy Cross believes the San Francisco 49ers are in for several more years of rebuilding in the post-Jim Harbaugh era.

Cross, who played for the 49ers from 1976-88, weighed in on the current state of the franchise during an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Saturday.

"The drain out of the building is something - from a talent standpoint, mentality standpoint, football knowledge standpoint - that's gonna take them, best-case scenario, at least five or six years to replace," Cross told hosts Alex Marvez and Zig Fracassi. "Line of scrimmage, quarterback, head coach, everything about it.

"I wish (owner Jed York) the best of luck. I think the league's a lot better when the California and Bay Area teams are relevant. But I look at that place right now as being in pretty dire straits when it comes to what's going to happen."

Harbaugh guided the 49ers to three straight playoff berths and an appearance in Super Bowl XLVII during his first three seasons with the team. After he left for the University of Michigan in 2014, the 49ers' roster was decimated by retirement and free-agent departures.

His replacement, Jim Tomsula, lasted just one season before being fired.

"I'm gonna be honest with you - I'm not sure if they can recover from that decision to get rid of Harbaugh, which brought on the wave of talent going away, some guys just walking away, others choosing to go somewhere else in free agency," Cross said.