49ers, NFLPA chief want the regular refs back

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49ers, NFLPA chief want the regular refs back

SANTA CLARA -- An officiating crew comprised mostly of individuals who worked games no higher than the NCAA Division II level might have given 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh a headache Saturday night.On Monday, Harbaugh was ready to turn the page."What seems like a big deal Saturday night, here Monday is not a big deal," Harbaugh said. "We're concentrating on Monday and what we can get out of this day. Making this practice and these meetings the best possible that we can have, and have had, in our training camp, with so much to do."RELATED: 49ers defensive player-by-player review vs. Houston
Several obvious calls were blown by the replacement officials hired to fill in for the regular officials, whom the NFL has locked out. Several players in the 49ers' locker room spoke privately in less-than-flattering terms about the officiating in the team's 20-9 loss to the Houston Texans on Saturday.
There was a no-call of an apparent pass-interference infraction when 49ers receiver Mario Manningham was grabbed while quarterback Alex Smith was throwing. And a holding penalty on 49ers right tackle Anthony Davis appeared on replay to be textbook run block.Throughout the game, Harbaugh loudly complained on the sideline about the play clock and and several judgment calls. The clock ran out in first half was allowed to expire despite a defensive penalty with :12 remaining.After the game, Harbaugh said he could not comment on the officiating before finally commenting:"Some crazy, wild calls. Were they accurate? Weren't they? We'll see. I have a headache (from yelling), though. I have a darned headache. A lot them (calls) didn't seem like they were in the ballpark."RELATED: 49ers offensive player-by-player review vs. Houston
An NFL spokesman on Monday declined comment on the subject.While the enforcement of the rules is one thing, DeMaurice Smith, executive director of Players Association, said he has made it clear to the NFL that he views the issue in serious terms."There are two teams on the field competing," said Smith, who visited the 49ers' facility Monday. "They (the officials) are the only people on the field with an eye toward health and safety while the game is progressing."We shouldn't be at the point where we've made great strides in health and safety and then take a step back by pulling the best people off the field."Smith said he views NFL game officials as "first responders." He said the situation will become more significant as the season progresses.REWIND: Harbaugh Q&A: 'Some crazy, wild calls'
"You have guys trained at the speed of this game," Smith said. "The people who understand and are trained about the speed of this game are locked out."

McDonald toasts Shanahan for communication of trade talks

McDonald toasts Shanahan for communication of trade talks

SANTA CLARA -- Tight end Vance McDonald became aware of a report the 49ers had engaged in trade talks involving him at his brother’s wedding in Austin, Texas.

But McDonald said he did not give it much thought because he had another immediate priority.

“I still had my best man’s speech to do,” McDonald said.

Later that evening during last month's draft, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan called McDonald to keep him in the loop. There was no trade, and McDonald returned to Santa Clara on Monday to continue participation in the 49ers’ offseason program.

“The first thing I told him was, ‘Man, there aren’t a lot of coaches that would do this,’” McDonald said of his talk with Shanahan. “He just wanted to fill me in.”

Nearly four weeks later, it is as if nothing ever happened.

“The only trade discussions we had was when another team asked us about Vance on draft day,” Shanahan said this week. “And after a team asked us about Vance then we asked other teams if they’d be interested in that same thing.”

McDonald said he completely understood why the 49ers would check with other teams around the league to see what they could acquire in a trade.

“Basically, it’s just like any other team in the NFL would do,” McDonald said. “If you’re a 2-14 team, obviously, there are a lot of things you can improve on, a lot of spots that need to be filled. There are a lot of things you need to improve upon in the offseason. So if teams are going to call and inquire about you, then obviously the next step is to … call around to every other team.

“So that’s exactly what happened to me. It isn’t like they don’t want me here. There was never a lack of communication on any level.”

Even before he knew his immediate future with the 49ers, McDonald said he tried to maintain the proper state of mind.

“I had the mindset this isn’t going to change anything,” McDonald said. “I’m going to end up where I end up and I’m just going to continue doing what I’m doing, which is do everything to be a better football player.”

McDonald enters the fifth year of his NFL career after signing a new deal in December that amounts to a three-year, $19.7 million extension. Three days later, the 49ers placed McDonald on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

McDonald was on pace for his best season as a pass-catcher. In 11 games, he had 24 receptions for 391 yards and four touchdowns.

Now, he is competition for a spot in the 49ers’ offense, along with fifth-round draft pick George Kittle, undrafted rookie Cole Hikutini, and veterans Logan Paulsen, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell.

McDonald said he likes what Shanahan has brought to the 49ers, including added responsibilities of the tight end position.

“Last year, all we talked about was how fast our pace was,” McDonald said. “With Kyle, it’s insanely quick. He’s a very detailed guy. It’s interesting to hear him present information. You try to apply it and play with the same mindset that he has. It’s a task that we all enjoy doing.

“We (tight ends) are the end of the line. There’s communication with us and the wide receivers and running backs. We’re also in command with receiving corps. There are a lot of things on our plate. Hopefully, this doesn’t get back to the wide receivers, but we’re supposed to be smarter than them. It’s a fun job to have. We don’t try to rub it in too much.”

Chip Kelly returns to college football -- as analyst

Chip Kelly returns to college football -- as analyst

Chip Kelly is back in college football.

The former Oregon coach, who served as 49ers head coach last season, signed a multiyear deal as an ESPN analyst, the network announced Friday morning. He will work predominantly on pre-games, halftimes and in studio wraps each Saturday on ESPN2.

“Over the last 30 years, I have experienced football from one perspective – as a coach,” Kelly said in a statement. “Working in television will allow me to see the game from a different angle; simultaneously, I‘ll provide viewers an insight to the mindset of a coach and team while offering alternative views of various situations.

“Once I decided to make the move to TV, my familiarity with ESPN, combined with their high-quality production and vital role in college football, it was easily the best network suited for me.”

Kelly, 53, was fired on the evening of the 49ers’ season finale. The 49ers went 2-14 under Kelly and set the franchise record with 13 consecutive losses. Their only victories came against the Los Angeles Rams. Kelly also auditioned with FOX for the analyst job vacated when John Lynch became 49ers general manager, sources told NBC Sports Bay Area.

Kelly served as Oregon’s head coach from 2009 to ’12. His teams compiled a record of 46-7. Under Kelly, the Ducks advanced to the 2011 national championship game, losing to Auburn 22-19.

Kelly won the AP College Football Coach of the Year. He twice won the Pac-10 coach of the year. He left Oregon to become head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013. After his first two NFL teams went 10-6, Kelly was fired in 2015 with one game remaining in the season. The Eagles were 6-9 at the time of Kelly's firing.

“Chip is one of the most innovative football minds of our generation,” ESPN senior coordinating producer Lee Fitting said. “As a coach, he saw the game from a unique perspective, never afraid to take an unconventional approach. We want him to bring that mentality to our college football coverage each week, offering fans a varying viewpoint outside of the conventional thought process.”