49ers notes: QB rotation of Smith, Kaepernick, Smith

49ers notes: QB rotation of Smith, Kaepernick, Smith

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Matt MaioccoCSNBayArea.com
SANTA CLARA -- Quarterback Alex Smith will start the 49ers' third exhibition game Saturday night against the Houston Texans, coach Jim Harbaugh said.Colin Kaepernick will get into the game as early as the 49ers' third offensive possession. And, then, Smith might return the favor and replace Kaepernick.Harbaugh is taking a non-traditional approach to the third exhibition game, which is typically the closest thing to a dress rehearsal to the regular season. Instead, Harbaugh said he will likely use the opportunity to get many of the team's top reserves ready for the regular season."The reason for that is for those guys fighting for their football life, we want them to have the ability to play in the game," Harbaugh said. "But, also, see them against other starters, against the Texans' starters."RELATED: 49ers camp report (824): My two left feet
Kaepernick is the 49ers' backup quarterback. Harbaugh said he wants the rookie to get experience against a starting NFL defense, just in case he is needed at some point during the regular season."Just looking forward to what's going to happen during the season," Harbaugh said, "I'd rather have Colin ready and experience football with the starters, against the starters and National Football League savvy before we have to get to that point."After Smith leaves the game, he might return to action to brush up on some "situational football," Harbaugh said."You want to get your starters into as many situations as possible," Harbaugh said. "He might return for a two-minute drill or another series."Harbaugh said he would like to get veteran third-string quarterback Josh McCown some action in Saturday's game, too.
Receiver Michael Crabtree has yet to be removed from the physically-unable-to-perform list after reporting to training camp with a left foot injury. But the 49ers expect major contributions out of him during the regular season.Behind the scenes, Crabtree is rehabbing his foot and being an active member of group discussions, Harbaugh said."He's been outstanding with his participation in the meetings," Harbaugh said. "His understanding and knowledge of what we're trying to do is very good." Crabtree and cornerback Shawntae Spencer (hamstring) are two starters from a year ago who are nursing injuries. Harbaugh was asked if Crabtree and Spencers were "assumed starters.""No, I wouldn't say that," Harbaugh said. "Football players get better by practicing football. That's what we go by. Who's practicing better? Who's playing better in games? Who's playing well?"49ers Mailbag: What Crabtree can learn from Edwards
And without having any practice time this summer to evaluate, Harbaugh said the coaching staff must go back and look at last season's game films."There's a level that you can evaluate there: poor, medium, outstanding, so you can predict how they will fit in once they're healthy," Harbaugh said. Receiver Dominique Zeigler could see his first playing time of the exhibition season after he was removed from the PUP list this week. Zeigler is returning from a torn left ACL that he sustained Dec. 16 against San Diego."He's surprised me with what he can do so quickly after re-engaging on the practice field," Harbaugh said.Zeigler is one of 11 healthy receivers battling for a spot on the roster. Undrafted rookie Chris Hogan also returned this week from an ankle sprain.

49ers release Coffee after reinstating RB off retired list

49ers release Coffee after reinstating RB off retired list

Running back Glen Coffee, who walked away from the 49ers during training camp before his second NFL season, was reinstated Friday off the reserve-retired list.

As part of the same transaction wire released by the NFL office, the 49ers released Coffee, making him a free agent.

After seven seasons away from the game, Coffee is attempting a comeback, his agent told on Saturday.

“I can tell you, he’s in great shape,” agent Ray Oubre said. “The man doesn’t have a six-pack, he’s got a 12-pack. He’s been waiting for the right time to hopefully get a workout with someone and show what he can do.

“He had a calling, and right now he feels like it’s his time to show what he can do. He explained to me, ‘I can do things now that I couldn’t do when I was initially with the 49ers.’ That’s the kind of shape he’s in.”

Coffee, who turns 30 on May 1, was a third-round draft pick (No. 74 overall) of the 49ers in 2009. He was the sixth running back selected in that year's draft. Coffee appeared in 14 games as a rookie and carried 83 times for 226 yards and one touchdown. He also caught 11 passes for 78 yards.

During training camp the next year as his teammates were exiting the locker room for the practice field in August 2010, Coffee cut the tape from his shoes and left the team's Santa Clara practice facility. He later informed then-coach Mike Singletary of his decision to stop playing football. Coffee said he believed God had a bigger plan for him.

Coffee was a specialist in the Sixth Battalion of the Army Rangers after enlisting in 2013. He is no longer active, Oubre said.

“He’s been training several months,” Oubre said. “The rigors of the Army Rangers, he was already in shape. He’s taking it to another level now. He’s been training for more than four months.

“He feels like he served and now the time is right. He’s in a good place. He understands, you can’t play football forever and you can’t do any one thing forever. He’s in a place right now that he wants to use his God-given ability as a football player.”

Coffee turned pro after his junior season at Alabama. In his final college season, Coffee rushed for 1,383 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Coffee has been training under Johnny Jackson at JDPI Sports Performance in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Oubre said he will be in contact with all 32 NFL teams to see if there’s any interest in bringing in Coffee for workouts. He might also hold an open workout for any interested teams.

Sponsored by Harbaugh, Kap named one of Top 100 most influential people

Sponsored by Harbaugh, Kap named one of Top 100 most influential people

Former 49ers quarterback and current free agent Colin Kaepernick has been named one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People on Thursday. 

Each person named to the list is represented by a sponsor who then writes on why they are worthy of the honor. For Kaepernick, his former coach Jim Harbaugh wrote on him. 

Harbaugh coached Kaepernick for four seasons from 2011-2014. The two reached the Super Bowl together in the 2012 season. 

Other sports figures named to the list include Conor McGregor, Theo Epstein, LeBron James, Tom Brady, Simone Biles, and Neymar.

Kaepernick made national headlines this past season for his decision to first sit and then kneel during the national anthem as a fight against social injustices. 

Below is what Harbaugh wrote on Kaepernick's influence: 

Colin Kaepernick was alone in his early protests last year when he boldly and courageously confronted perceived inequalities in our social-justice system by refusing to stand for the national anthem. At times in our nation's history, we have been all too quick to judge and oppose our fellow Americans for exercising their First Amendment right to address things they believe unjust.

Rather than besmirch their character, we must celebrate their act. For we cannot pioneer and invent if we are fearful of deviating from the norm, damaging our public perception or—most important—harming our own personal interests.

I thank Colin for all he has contributed to the game of football as an outstanding player and trusted teammate. I also applaud Colin for the courage he has demonstrated in exercising his guaranteed right of free speech. His willingness to take a position at personal cost is now part of our American story.

How lucky for us all and for our country to have among our citizens someone as remarkable as Colin Kaepernick.