49ers key matchup No. 1: Colin Kaepernick vs. Jason Campbell

944951.jpg

49ers key matchup No. 1: Colin Kaepernick vs. Jason Campbell

This is the final part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Bears matchups to watch Monday, 5:30 p.m. (ESPNCBS 5), at Candlestick Park.49ers QB Colin Kaepernick vs. Bears QB Jason CampbellTale of the tape
Kaepernick (7): 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, second season, Nevada
Campbell (2): 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, eighth season, AuburnJason Campbell has 70 career starts on his resume in six previous seasons with the Washington Redskins and Raiders.Colin Kaepernick is slated to make his first NFL start.MAIOCCO: Key matchup No. 2 -- Crabtree vs. TillmanWhen the 49ers face the Chicago Bears on Monday night, it will likely be a game that comes down to the quarterbacks. It might be the quarterback who makes the most plays. Or, more likely, the difference could come down to the quarterback who simply avoids the major mistake.In what figures to be a low-scoring game, it might not take much to turn the game. The 49ers own the league's third-ranked defense, while the Bears' defense is No. 5.The 49ers' defense leads the NFL with just 14.1 points allowed per game. The Bears are generating turnovers at a rate of 30 takeaways in nine games."Obviously, they're a great defense," Kaepernick said last week when it appeared as if Alex Smith was on track to make the start after being asymptomatic and taking part in four days of practices."I think they're No. 1 in the NFL right now," Kaepernick added. "A lot of turnovers, a lot of great players on that side of the ball who have a lot of Pro Bowls, as far as (Brian) Urlacher, (Lance) Briggs, (Julius) Peppers. They have a lot of great players over there. We're going to have our work cut out for us."Campbell takes over for Jay Cutler, who was ruled out of action on Friday due to a concussion he sustained Nov. 11. Kaepernick is scheduled to start in place of Smith, who sustained a concussion in the second quarter of last week's game against the St. Louis Rams.MAIOCCO:Key matchup No. 3 -- Justin Smith vs. Chilo RachalThe 49ers announced Monday morning that Smith has been declared out for Monday's game after being evaluated by team medical director Dr. Dan Garza. Smith had been cleared to participate in practices Wednesday through Saturday.Second-year player Scott Tolzien, who has suited up for just one game in his career, will serve as the 49ers' backup quarterback.Campbell enters Monday's game with a lot of NFL experience. In 19 starts with the Raiders the past two seasons, Campbell posted an 11-7 record as a starter. He sustained a broken collarbone last October, leading the Raiders to trade for Carson Palmer. Campbell did not play again last season, and he signed with the Bears in the offseason."We felt like we needed to improve our backup quarterback position in the offseason," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "So we felt real good about being able to convince Jason to come here and be Jay's backup."This season, Campbell has completed 12 of 20 passes for 94 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He entered last week's game against the Houston Texans at halftime. Campbell led seven possessions, during which time the Bears managed only four first downs, one field goal and one missed field goal.Kaepernick has seen action in six games this season, including consecutive games against the New York Jets, Buffalo and New York Giants as a change-of-pace quarterback. He has completed 16 of 26 attempts for 206 yards. He is the 49ers' third-leading rusher with 177 yards on 21 attempts.Lovie Smith said last week that his Bears defense would prepare for both Alex Smith and Kaepernick."Colin has been playing some anyway, so we've been preparing for that anyways," Lovie Smith said. "Again, we don't change what we do an awful lot based on change in the quarterback. Both of those quarterbacks have played some for them."

Report: 49ers UFA linebacker to visit Seahawks

Report: 49ers UFA linebacker to visit Seahawks

Gerald Hodges is in search of a new team and he's looking at a division rival of the 49ers.

The unrestricted free agent is scheduled to visit the Seahawks on Wednesday, according to ESPN.

Acquired in October of 2015 from Minnesota for a sixth-round pick, the four-year pro played in 25 games over the past two seasons with the 49ers.

In his time with San Francisco, the former fourth-round pick recorded three sacks, two interceptions and one fumble recovery.

But he was not considered a fit for the new 49ers under general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan. Hodges was deactivated for a game late in the season at Atlanta for breaking team rules. He did not offer an explanation or apology

The 49ers have signed three linebackers through two weeks of free agency: Malcolm Smith, Brock Coyle and Dekoda Watson.

Donald Trump, Jim Harbaugh address Kaepernick's free agent status

Donald Trump, Jim Harbaugh address Kaepernick's free agent status

On the same day the FBI director announced members of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign are under investigation for colluding with Russia to influence the election, Trump turned his thoughts to Colin Kaepernick’s status as an NFL free agent.

And Jim Harbaugh, appearing on Pro Football Talk, suggested teams that are not showing interest in Kaepernick are making a mistake.

“I’ll tell you the same thing I tell them: I think he’s an outstanding player and I think he’s a great competitor who has proven it in games and has the ability to be not only an NFL starter but a great NFL player,” Harbaugh said Tuesday morning.

“He’ll have a great career and be a great quarterback, win championships.”

On Monday evening, during a rally in Kentucky, Trump made remarks about Kaepernick. In the lead-up to the November election, Kaepernick called Trump “openly racist” and said he would not vote for Hillary Clinton, either.

“And you know, your San Francisco quarterback? I’m sure nobody ever heard of him,” Trump said.

“There was an article today, it was reported that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. Do you believe that? I just saw that. I just saw that. I said if I remember that one I’m gonna report it to the people of Kentucky. Because they like it when people actually stand for the American flag.”

Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report reported an AFC general manager told him there were three reasons Kaepernick has not signed. Some believe, according to the anonymous source, that Kaepernick can no longer play at a high level. Others “genuinely hate him” for kneeling during the national anthem as part of his protest of racial inequality in America.

And, “some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him,” according to the report. “They think there might be protests or Trump will tweet about the team. I'd say that number is around 10 percent. Then there's another 10 percent that has a mix of those feelings.”

Kaepernick’s teammates voted him the winner of the Len Eshmont Award for courage and inspiration last season. It is historically the most prestigious award among 49ers players. But the 49ers have already signed veteran quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley.

General manager John Lynch acknowledged last week on KNBR the odds of the 49ers bringing back Kaepernick are slim.

“I think the likelihood of that happening has gone down significantly. But we’re not going to close our mind or out options on anyone, including him,” Lynch said.

Even though there has been no reported interest in Kaepernick from any team around the league, Lynch said Kaepernick nearly signed with a team earlier during the free-agent signing period.

“I don’t know what happened to that market,” Lynch said. “He was, in everyone’s mind in this league, very close to signing a deal with a team at a really good number. And it fell through, apparently.”