INDIANAPOLIS -- Texas A&M wide receiver Jeff Fuller attended the NFL scouting combine over the weekend but was not healthy enough to showcase his skills for the attending coaches and scouts."Unfortunately, I got a stress fracture in my foot from the Senior Bowl so I'm not going to be participating in anything until March 25th at my pro day," Fuller said.It's a disappointment, to be sure. But Fuller has every reason to maintain a positive outlook.All he has to do is look to his father, former 49ers safety Jeff Fuller, for inspiration and perspective.Jeff Fuller, 49, was a hard-hitting member of the 49ers' secondary whose career ended in 1989 when his violent hit on New England Patriots fullback John Stephens ripped the nerves at C-5, C-6 and C-7 from his spinal cord."Everything pretty much came back in a day or two, except for my right arm," Fuller said five years ago in an interview for "San Francisco 49ers: Where Have you Gone?""For a while, you'll think you're getting ready to turn the corner and it'll be better, but I've adjusted. It's been quite a while and you learn to adapt."More than two decades later, Fuller still has paralysis in his right arm and elbow, and the movements in his wrist and hand are restricted."I can run; I can do just about everything," Fuller said. "I don't play basketball or golf, but I'm able to do almost everything without being held back."Fuller also realized he was fortunate because of the circumstances surrounding his devastating injury. The 49ers played that game at Stanford Stadium because the Loma Prieta earthquake five days earlier had damaged Candlestick Park."That was the best thing for me because the (medical) facility was right there on campus," Fuller said. "If I had been somewhere like Candlestick, it would've been a lot more difficult."In comparison to what his father experienced, even before the injury, his son realizes how easy he's had it."We kind of came up differently," he said. "He (dad) was brought up in a not-so great part of Dallas and I was brought up in the suburbs of Dallas. He's been through a lot on the field, and so have I. Tough injuries. He went to A&M. I went to A&M. He got drafted in the (fifth) round. That's probably similar to where they're drafting me."He just told me that nothing ever comes easy. I'm just looking forward to getting out there and competing and being on a team."In retrospect, Fuller's NFL stock might have been higher a year ago when he was coming off a season in which he caught 72 passes for 1,066 yards and 12 touchdowns.As a senior, Fuller still managed 70 catches but his average-per-reception fell 3 yards. He battled an early season hamstring injury and some dropped passes throughout the year."You can't think 'shoulda, woulda, coulda.' I definitely don't think like that anymore," Fuller said.And neither does his father. He played in two Super Bowl victories with the 49ers and earned another ring when the 49ers won the championship less than three months after his career-ending injury."When I look back, it was a great career," Fuller said. "And what made it such a special part of my life was having so many great friends."We don't have any pictures of the 49ers on the wall (at home) or anything like that. It's mainly because that's part of my life in is the past. We don't watch any tapes related to it. It happened, and I'm moving forward."
I hadn’t considered the notion of Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles bombing quite so badly Thursday night, so I hadn’t considered the notion advanced by Pro Football Talk Friday morning that Jacksonville might be a great place for Colin Kaepernick.
That’s because I long ago stopped considering the idea that Kaepernick’s exile from football was, or is, about football. It isn’t. He is the example for future player/miscreants, and trotting his name out every time a quarterback in the new NFL vomits up a practice game on national television is simply perpetuating a lie.
Until someone gets so desperate that it isn’t any more.
That’s the problem with being so definitive about Kaepernick’s perpetual ban. It only takes one owner with a willingness to stick a middle finger up to the objections and say, “I own a football team, not some branch of the USO” to end this national spitfest once and for all. And yes, I say owner because this is an owner’s decision, solely and completely. In the hypothetical of Kaepernick the Jaguar, it will be made not by Doug Marrone, who is merely a coach, or by Tom Coughlin, who is only the general manager, but Shahid Khad, one of the brightest and quietly more powerful owners in the league.
But the odds still scream No Kaep For You, because it would mean that exhibition games matter for judgmental purposes (which they don’t), that Bortles is somehow worse than half the quarterbacks in the NFL (he is part of an amorphous blob of non-producers whose numbers are growing as the differences between college and pro football offenses expand), and that owners easily break away from the herd once the herd has decided on something (Khan is not a rebel in the Jerry Jones mold by any means).
In other words, I remain unconvinced that there is a place for Colin Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL. And he’s probably better off.
One week after center Jeremy Zuttah played his way off the 49ers’ roster in short order, he ended up back with the team that got rid of him to open the offseason.
The Baltimore Ravens on Friday announced the signing of Zuttah, whom the 49ers released on Aug. 9 after acquiring him from the Ravens in a March trade.
The 49ers determined center Daniel Kilgore was clearly better than Zuttah. Moreover, Zuttah he did not demonstrate any promise of being an asset at either of the guard positions.
Zuttah, 31, played the past three seasons with the Ravens after six seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Zuttah was named to his first Pro Bowl after last season.
The 49ers originally acquired Zuttah in a swap of sixth-round draft picks. The Ravens received the 49ers’ pick at No. 186 and selected Virginia Tech safety Chuck Clark. The 49ers took over Baltimore’s selection at No. 198 and chose Mississippi defensive tackle D.J. Jones.
The 49ers are confident in Kilgore and offensive tackles Joe Staley and Trent Brown. However, there is concern at the guard positions.
Brandon Fusco appears to be earning the confidence of the coaching staff at right guard. But left guard remains a concern. Zane Beadles is currently the starter while Joshua Garnett rehabs from arthroscopic knee surgery to repair cartilage. The 49ers are hopeful Garnett will be available for the opening of the regular season.