49ers notes: Gore focuses on job, not contract


49ers notes: Gore focuses on job, not contract

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Matt MaioccoCSNBayArea.com
SANTA CLARA -- If 49ers running back Frank Gore had his druthers, he would've chosen to sit out the team's exhibition opener against the New Orleans Saints.But he said he benefited from taking live hits for the first time since sustaining a hairline fracture of his right hip Nov. 29 against the Arizona Cardinals. He has completely recovered from the injury and said he feels as if he's 22 years old again.
"I was hoping not to play because I feel like I like to work hard in practice," Gore said Tuesday. "But I was happy that Coach had me out there for a couple plays, just to get some hits in and get up to speed in a game again. I didn't want to come out, really."Gore was on the field for the 49ers' first seven plays Friday night. He carried four times for 20 yards before retiring to the sideline.
Gore has taken part in every practice since reporting to the team three days late after a brief contract holdout. The 49ers promised to hold good-faith negotiations with Gore's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, to work on a contract extension.Gore is still waiting for a new deal to add years onto his deal, which is set to expire after the upcoming season."Right now, I'm out here learning and getting better," Gore said. "(I'm) just going to let my agent handle that. Hopefully, we'll get something done soon. Hopefully, it gets done before the season. And If have to be a free agent, I'll be a free agent." Gore has never seen a great deal of action in the exhibition season. He sat out the 2007 exhibition season with a broken hand.Gore's exhibition stats
2011: 4 carries, 20 yards
2010: 2 carries, 58 yards
2009: 7 carries, 26 yards
2008: 16 carries, 86 yards
2007: 0 carries
2006: 26 carries, 140 yards
2005: 16 carries, 47 yards
BEST FIVE IN LINE TO START: Alex Boone has seemingly solidified his spot as the 49ers' backup tackle, taking the spot veteran Barry Sims previously held. Now, Boone has his sights set on something grander.Coach Jim Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman have stated that the 49ers' five best offensive linemen will be the starters when the season opens. Boone said his goal is to work his way into that equation."I'd like to," he said. "I feel like I'm making great strides to get there. The three-hour practices are long, and at the end of camp I hope to be one of the five."Currently, Adam Snyder is competing with veteran addition Jonathan Goodwin at center. With Goodwin receiving 4 million guaranteed as a free agent, it's only a matter of time before he becomes the starter.Snyder on Monday saw action for the first time this camp at right guard, where
Chilo Racha started 15 games last season. Meanwhile, Boone, who has been working as the backup at left tackle, saw snaps with the second-team offense Monday and Tuesday at right tackle. Anthony Davis started every game at right tackle last season."I'll tell you what, the best five will play," Roman said. "That's all I can say and in order to establish who the best five are, you need to give guys reps at different positions if you're truly going to let that unfold."That's what we're doing really. Also, if guys were to get injured, you can't throw a guy in a position he hasn't practiced at it before. So, I think that's just contingency planning really, and a natural residue of competition."

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.”