49ers

Baalke: Hunter more than a change-of-pace back

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Baalke: Hunter more than a change-of-pace back

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."

Trump: Objection to NFL anthem boycotts ‘has nothing to do with race’

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AP

Trump: Objection to NFL anthem boycotts ‘has nothing to do with race’

MORRISTOWN, New Jersey — President Donald Trump says his objection to NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality "has nothing to do with race."

Instead, Trump says it has to do with "respect for our country and respect for our flag."

The president made these comments during an impromptu news conference as he boarded Air Force One to return to the nation's capital. Trump says "our soldiers, our first responders" should be treated with respect.

Trump said Friday at a rally in Alabama that NFL owners should fire players who kneel during the anthem.

NFL players and owners around the league condemned his statement, and more than a hundred players sat, knelt or raised their fists in defiance.

But Trump reiterated Sunday NFL owners "should do something" about the protests.

Dolphins players wear shirts supporting Kaepernick during pregame warmups

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AP

Dolphins players wear shirts supporting Kaepernick during pregame warmups

East Rutherford, NJ -- A handful of Miami Dolphins players are wearing black T-shirts supporting free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick during pregame warm-ups.

The shirts have "#IMWITHKAP" written in bold white lettering on the front.

Kaepernick was the first athlete to refuse to stand during the national anthem as a protest. This season, no team has signed him, and some supporters believe NFL owners are avoiding him because of the controversy.

Among the players sporting the shirts before their game against the New York Jets are wide receiver Kenny Stills, running back Jay Ajayi and offensive linemen Laremy Tunsil and Ja'Wuan James. Stills, also a team captain, posted a photo on Twitter of himself wearing the shirt, along with the post: "In case you didn't know!"