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Tag:San Francisco 49ers
Posted on: February 26, 2012 2:56 am
Edited on: February 26, 2012 2:58 am
 

Owens catches 3 TD passes in IFL debut

Posted by Eye on Football staff

Terrell Owens, looking to get back into pro football, did just that Saturday night in his debut for the Allen (Texas) Wranglers of the Indoor Football League, the Dallas Morning News reports.

Owens caught three passes for 49 yards and three touchdowns in Allen's 50-30 opening victory at home over the Wichita Wild.

“I think I did all right,” Owens told the Morning News. “I’m just really trying to keep myself in shape for the most part. I feel like I’m healthy enough to play football. There’s not anything that I can’t do.”

The 38-year-old was on the field for 38 plays and was targeted five times in front of a crowd of 5,711. Wranglers owner Jon Frankel told the Morning News that the crowd was larger than the total home attendance for the 2011 season.

Owens hasn’t caught a pass in an NFL game since Dec. 12, 2010 and is using the IFL club as a hopeful springboard to an NFL tryout. He possesses an opt-out clause, in case an NFL franchise offers him a contract. However, after having a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee repaired last year, he hasn’t received much interest from NFL teams.

Facing some press and man-to-man coverage, Owens did not catch a pass in the third or fourth quarters.

 

Posted on: February 23, 2012 7:54 pm
 

Harbaugh on Luck: 'He's got all the qualities'

Breaking news: Jim Harbaugh loves Andrew Luck. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- There's a weird bit of symmetry going on in Indy for 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. He spent Wednesday night sitting on the bench with his brother-in-law, Indiana Hoosiers coach Tom Crean, and several of Harbaugh's former players at Stanford are prominent prospects for the 2012 NFL Draft.

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Perhaps you've heard of one of them: Andrew Luck. Luck is, according to what one scout told Mike Freeman, "almost the perfect prospect." While Harbaugh wasn't quite as effusive with his praise of Luck, he's clearly enamored with the former Stanford quarterback.

"You ever play spades?" Harbaugh asked a confused-looking crowd of reporters. "It's a trump game? He's holding a lot of aces in a lot of suits."

Harbaugh, in case you're wondering, is having fun this week. He continued to have fun with the media, bantering back and forth with a group of reporters "looking for bullet points" about his former pupil.

"He's got all the qualities, really, mentally, physically," Harbaugh said. "He's really good? How about that one? He's got a lot of talent."

Hooray for platitudes! But, no, seriously, Jim. People are putting a lot of pressure on Luck, who's been deemed the best thing since Peyton Manning supplanted sliced bread (and Harbaugh himself, actually) as the greatest thing on the planet. Is it fair?

"Fair or unfair, it's the nature of the business," Harbaugh said. "And he's very equipped to deal with. He's very mature."

Luck's definitely mature. We spoke to him at the Super Bowl and even in a few minutes, it's clear just how measured he is in his responses, without being contrite in the slightest. That doesn't make his task -- which is almost certainly going to be "filling Peyton's shoes" -- any easier. But if anyone's going to be able to do it, it's Luck.

Just ask Jim Harbaugh. Or don't.

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Posted on: February 21, 2012 1:10 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2012 5:01 pm
 

2012 NFL Free Agency: Quarterback rankings

The 2012 free-agent quarterback class is an, um, diverse group. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Leading up to the start of free agency on March 13, we're compiling lists of the best 2012 NFL free agents by position. These are the quarterbacks.

Though the list of free-agent quarterbacks for 2012 isn't necessarily the greatest crop of players in NFL history, it does have the potential to be one of the most intriguing in years, because of one man: Peyton Manning. Manning's saga is well-documented at this point; the back-and-forth between Manning's camp and Jim Irsay dominated the freaking Super Bowl.

Releasing him into the wild seems like a mere matter of timing. So we're going to take that assumption and add Manning to our lists of free agents. We're also including the Saints Drew Brees and 49ers Alex Smith on this list, since both are technically unrestricted free agents, until they receive the franchise tag from their respective teams. There's a better likelihood of Jimmy Clausen unseating Cam Newton than there is Brees not returning to New Orleans, but maybe someone in the Saints office will forget to fax in the franchise-tag paperwork.


Brees offseason could be interesting.  (Getty Images)

1. Drew Brees

Breakdown: The biggest problem for the Saints isn't that Brees might leave. He's not going to unless something really ridiculous happens. The biggest problem for the Saints is that if they're forced to use the franchise tag on Brees, they could end up losing Carl Nicks and Marques Colston. That won't make Brees any happier when it gets down to brass-tack negotiating.
Potential Landing Spots: Saints

2. Peyton Manning

Breakdown: Perhaps you've heard of Manning before. He's third all-time in passing yards (54,828). He's third all-time in passing touchdowns (399). He's won more MVPs than anyone in NFL history (four). And he's second in his own family with Super Bowl rings (one). That last item isn't a shot at Manning, though. It's the reason we believe he's not done when it comes to football, and that he'll come back to the game supremely motivated. No one knows whether or not he'll be fully healthy by the time the 2012 season begins. We do know he won't be fully healthy by the time March 13 rolls around, though. Which means that anyone who signs him will be engaging in a serious high-risk, high-reward game of chicken with Manning's neck.
Potential Landing Spots: Cardinals, Dolphins, Seahawks, Jets, Redskins

3. Matt Flynn

Breakdown: Flynn's attempted just 132 passes at the professional level, but 81 of them are pretty impressive. Those came in the only two starts of his career, when Flynn managed to go 55 of 81 for 731 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions. There are concerns that Flynn can't make every throw (right now) and that he might be a product of Green Bay's system. But that system's in Miami now, as former Packers quarterbacks coach Joe Philbin is the Dolphins head coach. If Miami doesn't make a run at Flynn when free agency opens up, that should be a big red flag for anyone else interested in Aaron Rodgers backup.
Potential Landing Spots: Dolphins, Seahawks, Redskins

4. Alex Smith

Breakdown: Smith resurrected his career under new 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and, in the span of about two playoff minutes against the Saints, nearly flipped the entire narrative of his career. As it is, Smith's improvement in 2011 is impressive; according to Pro Football Focus, he had the third-highest accuracy percentage in the NFL (factoring in drops, throwaways and spikes) last year, behind only Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. Smith's said he isn't interested in leaving San Francisco, and Harbaugh's gotten his back publicly, even though there's zero chance they'll use the franchise tag on him.
Potential Landing Spots: 49ers
Henne could surprise in the right spot. (Getty Images)

5. Chad Henne

Breakdown: Miami drafting a quarterback in the second round: an April tradition unlike any other! But no, seriously, Henne's in a long line of signal-callers that the Dolphins took in the second round who didn't pan out. He's had serious problems with interceptions; Henne's got a 3.5 percent INT rate over his career and only nine of his 36 NFL games have not featured him throwing a pick. And Henne tends to look particularly robotic at times in the pocket (these things go hand in hand). But he's only 26 and it's not fair to blame him for all of Miami's woes the past three years. Henne can make all the throws and flashed some serious potential at times during his tenure in South Beach. He's the highest-upside backup quarterback out there and he's got several former coaches -- Brian Daboll, Tony Sparano -- coaching in spots that could use a backup quarterback.
Potential Landing Spots: Chiefs, Jets, Broncos

6. Jason Campbell

Breakdown: It's hard not to feel sympathetic for Campbell. The former Auburn star and first-round pick has had roughly 25 offensive coordinators since he started taking snaps in college and he's about to start out on his third NFL roster once the free-agency shuffling begins anew this year. He's 30 and hasn't played a full season in the past two years, either because of injury or being benched. The latter was for Bruce Gradkowski, so it's hard to tell what's worse for his reputation. He makes a lot of sense for a team that wants someone to push their starter without making a stink in the locker room.
Potential Landing Spots: Chiefs, Eagles, Jets

NFL Free Agency

7. Kyle Orton

Breakdown: Orton's was a "winner" with the Bears, he was a stat-hog for a season with the Broncos, he flirted with the Dolphins and finally he was a streak-killer with the Chiefs. He's not going to be anyone's starter in 2011, unless Washington seriously misplays everything in free agency and the draft (not out of the question). But he's an above-average backup in the NFL and could certainly compete with the starters that various teams -- KC, Washington, Jacksonville, for example -- will trot out in 2011. Orton doesn't want to deal with being a "stop-gap option" but it's unlikely he'll have a choice next year.
Potential Landing Spots:
Redskins, Chiefs, Jaguars, Bears, Broncos

8. David Garrard

Breakdown: Pete Prisco's second-favorite quarterback missed the entire 2011 season after the Jaguars cut him and he underwent surgery for a herniated disk in his back. There was interest in the 34-year-old last year after teams lost quarterbacks to injury, but he decided to recover from the surgery instead. While that's the smart move, Garrard won't find the market as friendly for his services this time, especially since his agent said on February 15 Garrard would be ready in "four to six weeks." Expect someone with a steady starter and tenuous backup to look to Garrard.
Potential Landing Spots: Bears, Broncos, Buccaneers, Rams, Raiders

9. Shaun Hill

Breakdown: Hill's 32 and not exactly a spring chicken. But he performed admirably in place of Matthew Stafford in 2010 and the fit between he and the Lions is a nice one. The Lions are tight with cap space, but Hill appears to like where he's at, and it's not like he'd break the bank in another location anyway.
Potential Landing Spots: Lions
VY's likely to remain a backup. (Getty Images)

10. Vince Young

Breakdown: Now seems like a good time to remind you that the guy who coined "Dream Team" in Philly was indeed the backup quarterback and someone on a one-year contract. His personality and turnovers will cause a problem for teams looking to sign him. Unless that team happens to run the read-option offense and could really use a mobile quarterback with success in the NFL to step in and freelance if/when Tim Tebow gets hurt/melts down.
Potential Landing Spots: Broncos

11. Rex Grossman

Breakdown: Did you know that Rex Grossman is actually "Rex Grossman III"? Poor Mike Shanahan had RG3 on his roster the whole time and didn't even know it. Sigh. Anyway, Grossman's not going to attract a lot of attention on the market, and nor should he. As the old saying goes, though, "love the one you're with." And Grossman and the Shanahans are with each other, even if Rex isn't starting next year. It would be surprising to see him playing anywhere else in 2012.
Potential Landing Spots: Redskins

HONORABLE MENTION

Unrestricted Free Agents: Dennis Dixon, Josh Johnson, Brady Quinn, Charlie Whitehurst, Donovan McNabb, Dan Orlovsky, Drew Stanton, Caleb Hanie, Charlie Batch, Kellen Clemens

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Posted on: February 15, 2012 4:29 pm
 

49ers could be out of Candlestick in two years

After the 2013, San Francisco doesn't plan to return to Candlestick Park. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

It sounds like the 49ers might have only two years left to play in Candlestick Park. As Bloomberg reports, the city council of Santa Clara, Ca., on Tuesday night approved 5-1 an $878.6 million contract that will allow a $1 billion stadium to be built.

With the NFL already approving a $200 million loan that will cover some building costs, construction is scheduled to begin in July, about six months early. This allows the 49ers to leave Candlestick a season earlier than originally expected.

According to NBC Bay Area, the construction must be completed by August 2014, and if not, the builder, Turner-Devcon, will owe millions of dollars in fines (as in $6 million per home game missed).

All of which is great news for the 49ers, who have played in Candlestick for the past five decades.

Plus, it’s totally good news for those who like to watch their NFL football with the lights turned on.

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Posted on: February 13, 2012 7:42 pm
 

Former 49ers WR Freddie Solomon, dies at 59

Freddie Solomon died Monday at the age of 59. (Getty)
By Josh Katzowitz

Former 49ers receiver Freddie Solomon, an important contributor to Bill Walsh’s original West Coast offense, died Monday afternoon at the age of 59 after a battle with colon and liver cancer.

"With all that he has done, with all that he has meant to this community, Freddie Solomon is irreplaceable,”  Vin Hoover, Solomon's football teammate at the University of Tampa, told the Tampa Tribune. "He was my friend. He was everyone's friend.”

After his 11-year career with the Dolphins and 49ers from 1975-85, where he caught 371 passes for a 15.8 yards per catch average and 48 touchdowns, he stayed in Tampa and became a positive fixture in the community.

As the Tribune writes:
Solomon worked for two decades in community relations with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, working with youths while blending football fundamentals with life lessons. He rarely spoke about his accomplishments. For some, he dished out tough love. For others, he was a mentor. To all, he was simply "Coach Solomon."

Each winter for a dozen years, Solomon and former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo organized a Christmas celebration for foster children. The kids got wrapped toys, dolls or games. Their stunned caregivers, usually struggling to make ends meet, were screaming or sobbing in disbelief after opening gift envelopes filled with hundreds of dollars.

He was constantly stopped in his daily travels by people who remembered his glory days. Solomon obliged with a handshake, a hug, an autograph or a quick photo. Once, a woman asked Solomon to telephone her father, a big fan, as a birthday surprise. Instead, on his way home from work, Solomon dropped by the man's house to personally share some UT memories. They talked and laughed for hours.

"Freddie Solomon was a treasure for us in San Francisco,'' said former 49ers safety Ronnie Lott, a Pro Football Hall of Famer. "What a humanitarian he has been for the city of Tampa."

Interestingly enough, he was just as generous with his teammates. Jerry Rice and Dwight Clark are on record saying how helpful he was to them early in their careers.

"He helped me when he didn't really have to,'' Clark said. "But as I came to understand, that's how he has always been with everybody. He has led an amazing life.”

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Posted on: February 13, 2012 4:19 pm
Edited on: February 14, 2012 6:35 am
 

Report: Jets, Eagles 'curious' about Randy Moss

The NFL denied Harrison's appeal of his one-game suspension(Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

On Monday morning, Randy Moss fired up the Internets by proclaiming "I wanna play football" on USTREAM. Yes, that's him coming back to football. And he's eligible to sign with a team whenever he wants. However, it's not likely you'll see anyone sign him before they find out what kind of wide receiver market emerges vis-a-vis franchise-tagging.

There are definitely teams interested in Moss, though. Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports reports that the Eagles and Jets are "curious" when it comes to Moss and that the 49ers and Patriots should be lumped into potential suitors for Moss as well.

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Moss spoke on Monday morning about dealing with some personal and/or family issues. If he was going through things that altered his concentration and motivation, it's possible there's another reason for his poor production in 2010.

After all, Moss was considered "done" after a 2006 season with the Raiders that saw him catch 42 balls for 553 yards and three touchdowns at the age of 30. A year later, he was destroying the NFL for a record-breaking Patriots team, catching 98 passes for 1,493 yards and 23 touchdowns.

Sure, Moss is five years older now than he was then. But he's one of the all-time physical freaks in NFL history, and if he's motivated and healthy, he can be a difference-maker.

The Patriots make sense for Moss because they lack a deep threat. Sure, Bill Belichick isn't known for second go-rounds, but he's already done it with Deion Branch; why wouldn't Moss work too if he's willing to work hard, be quiet and take less money than Chad Ochocinco?

The Jets are a logical fit also because, well, they're the Jets. If a famous veteran is on the market, they'll chase him. Also, he would fit the personality of the Jets, in theory. However, Mark Sanchez under center could be a concern for Moss, particularly if his top goals are producing big stats and winning a championship.

That applies to the 49ers, who are also a run-based team. But there's no other top wideout in San Francisco and the Niners have an easier path to the playoffs out of the NFC West.

And, of course, there's the Eagles. After last year's "Dream Team" debacle, it's easy to cringe at the idea of adding Moss. But if DeSean Jackson is dealt out of town to plug a hole on defense and a motivated Moss can come in and catch bombs from Michael Vick, that's a pretty spicy proposition.

No one knows what Moss will look like, of course. But it's Randy Moss we're talking about, which is why it's hard not to be curious.

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Posted on: February 10, 2012 6:02 pm
 

49ers name Yu president, extend GM Baalke

The 49ers now have stability in the front office and at head coach. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

Gideon Yu, a co-owner of the San Francisco 49ers who previously served as chief financial officer of both YouTube and Facebook, was officially named the team’s president and co-owner Thursday, according to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Kyle Bonagura.

“My whole career has led to this point," Yu said in a statement released by the 49ers. "My job here is the perfect mix of my passions for football, entrepreneurship, business management and technology. Being at my favorite team in my favorite sport is a dream come true.”

Forty-niners CEO Jed York called Yu "both a visionary and the 'go-to' guy who can lead us through the enormous opportunities ahead such as, the stadium construction, expansion of our brand and its businesses, and positioning the franchise for the future. We have more to do now than ever before, and Gideon is the right person to get the job done.”

Yu will handle the business operations while general manager Trent Baalke, whose contract was extended Friday, will be responsible for all football operations. Both men will report to York.

The 49ers are coming off a 13-3 season, the NFC West title, and a trip to the NFC Championship game. It was their first playoff appearance since 2002, when Steve Mariucci was the head coach and Jeff Garcia the quarterback.

First-year coach Jim Harbaugh exceeded everybody's expectations -- as did the previously much-maligned quarterback Alex Smith, who Harbaugh says he wants back in San Francisco for 2012.

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Posted on: February 8, 2012 10:27 pm
 

Harbaugh wants Smith back in SF as starting QB

Smith could be back.  (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)
By Ryan Wilson

Jim Harbaugh has been an Alex Smith supporter at least as far back as last summer when, during the lockout, the first-year 49ers head coach announced that he wanted the then-free agent quarterback in San Francisco as his starter. This must've seemed odd to Smith, whose NFL career up to that point had been full of underachievement and disappointment (though, to be fair, it wasn't completely his fault; this is what happens when you play in an new offense virtually every season in an organization that lacked stability until recently).

Now fresh off a 13-3 season, the NFC West title, and a trip to the NFC Championship Game, Harbaugh wants Smith, set to be a free agent in March, back for 2012. Even though the team selected quarterback-of-the-future Colin Kaepernick in the second round of the 2011 draft. Smith finished the season with 3,144 passing yards, 17 touchdowns, 5 interceptions, and ranked 13th in Football Outsiders' quarterback efficiency metric ahead of Joe Flacco and Cam Newton.

Three days after Smith accepted the NFL Coach of the Year award on behalf of Harbaugh at the inaugural NFL Awards during Super Bowl Weekend in Indy, the two played golf together at a Pebble Beach charity event. (And via CSNBayArea.com's Matt Maiocco, Smith will serve as Harbaugh's caddie on Day 1 of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.) To hear the 49ers head coach, it sounds like he's in no hurry to break up the band.

"We're all in lockstep as an organization that Alex Smith is our guy. It's well-documented. You saw the way he played this year," Harbaugh told "Chronicle Live" host Jim Kozimor, according to Maiocco. "(He is a) tremendous leader on our football team.

"There's Alex and there are other guys, too, that are high priorities. We want our guys. There are guys who play like 49ers, and what they do is they play their hearts out for our team. So Alex and others, (it's) going to be a high-priority to get those guys signed."

Despite a career year, Smith understands he has to improve.

"For me, it's all about strengthening your weaknesses -- getting better," Smith said, "really analyzing where you need to get better and being honest with yourself, as a player and as a team. That's what will happen in the coming weeks."

The 49ers were a fantastic story in 2011 but the real test will be if they can sustain their success from one season to the next.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com