49ers

49ers accept role as home underdog

555002.jpg

49ers accept role as home underdog

Second seed in the NFC.Home field advantage in an NFC divisional playoff game.A 13-3 regular season record. Numerous league leading stats.Whatever measurement you want to consider to highlight the 49ers' level of success this season, it doesn't matter. The 49ers are 3.5-point underdogs for Saturday's playoff game against the New Orleans Saints.But second status isn't anything new for this team. They've dealt with it all season.

"I don't think it's relevant really. We really don't pay too much attention. Are you referring to the line?" 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh asked a reporter during his Monday press conference."I can honestly say there are weeks where I have no idea what the line is. Or pay much attention to it."Harbaugh's players share his sentiment about being underestimated, but unlike their head coach, they do pay attention to what's being said."Yeah, that's cool. I love it. They keep doing it, I like it," said right tackle Anthony Davis. "We don't worry about what anybody else is thinking. We come to work every day and approach it how we approach our jobs and how we're supposed to approach the game and our jobs and prepare."Here's what other players had to say:Rookie fullback Bruce Miller: "I don't think it matters. We enjoy the underdog role because we know what we have here and what we can do, the things that we've accomplished this year we've done as the underdog so hopefully that will continue."Cornerback Tarell Brown: "We fuel ourselves. These guys really believe. We trust in the coaching staff we trust in each other. Regardless if we get the respect from everybody else it doesn't really matter. Our main goal is to keep winning games and get where we need to go."Wide receiver Kyle Williams: "One thing about this team that I can credit is that nobody in this locker room really pays attention to the outside stuff, so whatever anybody says outside of here. It's nonsense to us and it doesn't really matter. We're going to take care of what we have to in the locker room, and the guys in this locker room knows what everybody in this locker room can do and we're confident in the game plan so we are going to go out there and be us."Left tackle Joe Staley: "We feel like we belong. We have a lot of confidence in this football team and the coaches and all the players around here. We don't feel like we're the outsiders spoiling the party we feel that we have a very good football team and if we don't get to the Super Bowl this year it won't be a success and that's our mindset and that's the way we look at it."

Ward could begin practice this week

fullsizerender-72.jpg

Ward could begin practice this week

The 49ers could get their presumptive starting free safety back on the field this week.

Jimmie Ward, who has been on the physically-unable-to-perform list since sustaining a hamstring injury during a conditioning test on the eve of training camp, will go through strenuous workouts Monday and Tuesday.

Ward could be cleared to return to practice as early as Wednesday, when the club is scheduled to hold its next practice.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said Sunday in a conference call with reporters that defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley will will pace him through a football-related workout on Monday and Tuesday.

"Hopefully, we'll get him ready to go by Wednesday," Shanahan said.

The 49ers envision Ward, a first-round draft pick in 2014, as a major contributor in the team’s new 4-3 scheme, which is based on Seattle’s defense. With strong safety Eric Reid playing close to the line of scrimmage, Ward will play the deep safety – a role that Earl Thomas has played for the Seahawks.

In Ward’s absence, undrafted rookie safety Lorenzo Jerome started the 49ers’ first two exhibition games and appears to have played his way into solid position for a spot on the 53-man roster.

MORE TO COME

Report: Former 49ers WR Anquan Boldin abruptly retires

boldin-bills-usatsi.jpg
USATSI

Report: Former 49ers WR Anquan Boldin abruptly retires

Less than two weeks after signing with the Buffalo Bills, veteran wide receiver Anquan Boldin is reportedly hanging up his cleats.

The former 49ers wideout has informed the Bills that he's retiring, according to ESPN.

The 14-year veteran had signed a one-year deal with the Bills on August 7. After playing with the 49ers from 2013 to 2015, Boldin spent the 2016 season with the Lions.

According to ESPN, Boldin issued the following statement:

In his time with the Cardinals, Ravens, 49ers and Lions, Boldin caught 1,076 passes for 13,779 yards and 82 touchdowns.

In 2017, Boldin was named the Walter Payton Man of the Year by the NFL.