49ers

Crabtree returns to practice field

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Crabtree returns to practice field

Programming note: Log on today at 1 p.m. when we live stream today's 49ers press conference featuring head coach Jim Harbaugh, TE Delanie Walker and safety Dashon Goldson, live from Santa Clara.

SANTA CLARA -- Receiver Michael Crabtree returned to the practice field Monday morning, four days before the 49ers' first game of the exhibition season.Crabtree, who did not play in an exhibition game in his first three NFL seasons, has been out since sustaining a right lower leg injury near the end of the 49ers' first practice on July 27. He missed seven full practices.For the first time since the injury, Crabtree appeared on the practice field for stretching with his uniform and shoulder pads. It was unclear whether he would go through a full practice. The 49ers are scheduled to practice until 1 p.m.Crabtree began the session working on a side field with Mark Uyeyama, the 49ers head strength and conditioning coach. For the first time since he sustained the injury, Crabtree is wearing football pants and has pads with him on the practice field.
Last summer, Crabtree underwent surgery on his left foot to repair a fracture just prior to the opening of training camp. He missed all of the exhibition season but appeared in the regular-season opener. Crabtree then sat out Week 2 due to the injury but played every game the remainder of the season. Crabtree still led the 49ers in the regular season with 72 catches for 874 yards.He sat out all of camp as a rookie in a contract stalemate. In his second season, Crabtree sustained a neck injury early in camp and did not play any exhibition games. He played all 16 games that season.Rookie Jason Slowey was not suited up Monday for the second practice in a row. Tight end Nate Byham, who missed two practices, was on the field in pads.

Still unconvinced there is a place for Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL

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AP

Still unconvinced there is a place for Kaepernick in a new and nastier NFL

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.

Zuttah ends up back with Ravens after release from 49ers

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AP

Zuttah ends up back with Ravens after release from 49ers

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.