Davis ... football's most compelling figure

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Davis ... football's most compelling figure

It's difficult to imagine the NFL without Al Davis.It's impossible to imagine the Raiders without Al Davis.The news Saturday morning of Al Davis' passing should not come as a huge surprise, given his obvious physical decline over the past few years. But it still is shocking because of the huge impact he had on professional football.It's difficult to think of another organization in all of sports that has been as closely associated with one person. There was "Papa Bear" George Halas, who owned the Chicago Bears from 1922 until his death in 1983. He was a player, and coached the organization from the beginning until 1967.
FAN FEEDBACK: Share your memories of Al Davis
Somehow, the Bears managed to keep going without George Halas, though many in Chicago wondered how that would be possible.This morning, the football world is wondering the same thing about the Oakland Raiders.How is it possible the Raiders will continue without one of sports' icons through the decades at the helm?Of course, the Raiders will continue.
RATTO: Davis' legacy impossible to measure
The team will be on the field Sunday to face the Houston Texans, all right. It's just difficult to think that Al Davis will no longer be around to manage and micro-manage every move.The Raiders were always so much more interesting because of Davis' influence and perceived influence on every aspect of the football team.Through the years, nearly every significant coaching decision, especially lineup changes, in some way was traced back to Davis. Nobody every really seemed to know how much he inserted himself into football decisions, but that was all part of the Raiders' mystique.Now what happens?The 49ers have plans for a stadium in Santa Clara that can accommodate two home teams, such as the Giants-Jets arrangement in New York. Davis always demonstrated zero interest in a project that the 49ers spearheaded.Regardless of whether the shared stadium makes financial sense, Davis had his own ideas. He liked the plot of land on which the Raiders currently call home. Davis was a man accustomed to doing things himself, so he wasn't about to go along with a plan not of his design.
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As AFL commissioner, he forced a quick merger with the NFL in 1966. He was the only person who served in such varied capacities in professional football as personnel assistant, scout, assistant coach, head coach, general manager, commissioner, team ownerchief executive officer.There is little doubt that Al Davis was the most interesting man in sports. And he didn't have to resort to any schtick to get attention.All he had to do was be himself.

Report: Free-agent Kaepernick to meet with Seahawks

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Report: Free-agent Kaepernick to meet with Seahawks

Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick reportedly flew to Seattle on Tuesday night and will meet with Seahawks officials on Wednesday.

Kaepernick and at least one other quarterback, whose identity was not reported, will visit with the Seahawks, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. It will be Kaepernick’s first visit to meet with a team since opting out of his 49ers contract in March to become an unrestricted free agent.

Kaepernick, 29, has likely not been signed for a variety of reasons, including his decision to kneel during the national anthem last season to protest racial inequality in America. His representatives have said Kaepernick will stand for the national anthem this season, as he continues to donate his time and money on programs to assist disadvantaged individuals.

The 49ers have shown no interest in re-signing Kaepernick, opting to add veteran quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley.

Kaepernick, a second-round pick of the 49ers in 2011, played six seasons with the club. Beginning in the middle of the 2012 season, when then-starter Alex Smith originally left the lineup due to a concussion, Kaepernick started 58 games. The 49ers were 28-30 in games in which he started.

In the playoffs, the 49ers posted a 4-2 record with Kaepernick at quarterback, including a trip to Super Bowl XLVII in February 2014.

Kaepernick is coming off his best season since 2013, his first full year as a starter. He completed 59.2 percent of his passes with 16 touchdowns, four interceptions and a passer rating of 90.7. He also rushed for 468 yards.

The Seahawks have three quarterbacks under contract. Russell Wilson is the starter and second-year player Trevone Boykin served as the backup last season. Jake Heaps, whom the Seahawks cut before the start of the 2016 regular season and spent less than a month on the practice squad, was re-signed in May.

Bowman guarantees he will not be odd-man out of 49ers' competition

Bowman guarantees he will not be odd-man out of 49ers' competition

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers’ biggest free-agent acquisition on defense and one of the team’s first-round draft picks play the same position.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said he is holding off on thinking about how everything is going to play out this season at the linebacker position.

“I really try not to envision it too hard because I see a lot of good players there,” Shanahan said Tuesday during the 49ers’ first week of organized team activities.

The 49ers awarded weakside linebacker Malcolm Smith guaranteed money as an unrestricted free agent totaling approximately $12 million. Then, on the first day of the draft, the 49ers’ No. 3 rated prospect experienced a free fall, and the club traded into the back end of the first round to select him.

While Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster has been sidelined through the offseason program as he recovers from shoulder injury, he figures to compete with Smith for the starting job. Foster will also learn middle linebacker, where NaVorro Bowman has earned first-team All-Pro honors in four seasons.

Bowman looks to be nearly all the way back from a torn Achilles that limited him to just four games last season.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen,” Shanahan said. “Seeing Bow out here and how healthy he’s been, knowing we’ve added some good free agents, and the way the draft worked out, having a linebacker we had ranked very highly fall to us at the end of the first round. We got a lot better pretty fast.

“When you ask me how it’s going to play out, I’m not sure. It’s a good problem to have. It’s something you’d like to have any every position. There’s going to be a very good player who’s not out there all the time. That’s not a bad thing. That makes the two guys who are out there go a lot harder and play better. It makes special teams better and it allowed you to survive injuries, which almost always happen.”

Bowman’s vision for the upcoming season includes him retaining his role in the middle of the 49ers’ defense.

"I won't be on the sideline, I'll tell you that right now,” Bowman said.

Bowman said he was not fazed with the 49ers selected Foster in the first round. Foster is likely considered the heir apparent to Bowman.

Shanahan called Bowman after the selection of Foster was made, but Bowman said he did not need to speak with the coach about why the selection was made.

“I wasn’t expecting it,” Bowman said of the phone call, “but it was good to hear from him, to see that he had something to say or an idea of what he wanted to get across to me.

“But we haven’t talked about it. I did that on purpose. It doesn’t matter to me. I’ll compete with anyone, whether he’s 21 or 35. It doesn’t matter. I’m a guy who’s going to give my best effort and have full confidence in my abilities to play this game. I know how much I study this game. I know how good I am and that’s what was going to bring back here.

“It’s always a competition. There’s always someone trying to take your spot. As a player, if you keep that in mind, you’ll always put the work in that’s needed.”