May 14, 2011MAIOCCO ARCHIVE49ERS PAGE 49ERS VIDEOMatt MaioccoCSNBayArea.comSANTA CLARA -- At 5-foot-7, 200 pounds, it's easy to envision Kendall Hunter as a change-of-pace running back in the NFL.It's even easier to project Hunter in that role when the ultimate every-down back, Frank Gore, is already on the 49ers' roster.But the 49ers are going to have to find a way to get Hunter on the field early in his career. The 49ers selected the Oklahoma State standout in the fourth round (No. 115 overall), and there is no denying his talent.So while Hunter could be a specialty running back initially, when 49ers general manager Trent Baalke turns on the video, he sees a player with a lot of versatility."We're not looking at this guy as a change-of-pace back," Baalke said Thursday during his annual film session with reporters."This is a guy we feel can run the power game, can run between the tackles, can get out on the edges, can pass protect, can come out of the backfield and catch the football, can return kicks (and) can play on coverage teams, if we ask him to."Hunter runs with a lot more power than you would expect from somebody his size. The 49ers like that about him. In fact, they'd like to see 235-pound Anthony Dixon use his power more, rather than regularly trying to juke defenders. Hunter will compete against Dixon for playing time behind Gore."We like the way he finishes his runs," Baalke said of Hunter.During the video clips the 49ers put together of Hunter, he finished a lot of those runs in the end zone. He tore through Washington State for 257 yards and four touchdowns on 21 carries in the season opener. Later in the year, he gained 201 yards on 26 rushes against Nebraska.Baalke talked about Hunter's "quickness, strength and burst." Those attributes enabled him to rush for around 1,550 yards an 16 touchdowns as a sophomore and again as a senior, sandwiched around an injury-plagued junior year."Is he a 4.3 guy? No," Baalke said. "But he's got very good (functional) speed. We love his feet, his vision and love the fact he can step through tackles."At the Senior Bowl, the 49ers paid particular attention to how Hunter fared in pass-protection drills. That's a must for a running back on third downs in the NFL. He held up very well and showed a willingness to perform that essential duty, Baalke said."We like the guy's versatility," Baalke said. "And he's a football player. He loves the game (and) is passionate about it."
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.
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.