Don't crown Moss top receiver yet

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Don't crown Moss top receiver yet

Programming note: Ann Killion appears on the Chronicle Live Blitz at 5 & 11 p.m. with KNBR Morning show host Brian Murphy and columnist Lowell Cohn -- tonight at 5 & 11 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area!
Tonight on the Chronicle Live Blitz, one of the topics I will be discussing with my esteemed panel members is the validity of this statement:Randy Moss is the 49ers' best wide receiver.This topic popped into the early July conversation because Rich Gannon said on SiriusXM that Jim Harbaugh had told him, Gannon, that Moss is our best receiver right now.RELATED: Gannon: Harbaugh says Randy Moss 'our best receiver'
Harbaugh says a lot of preposterous, over-the-top things, from describing himself as having a humble heart to insisting that he never was flirting with Peyton Manning. Anointing Randy Moss the teams best receiver in July is one more to add to the list.Not to give away the content of the fabulous Chronicle Live show, but Ill give you a preview of my answer: Are you kidding me?Of course, on paper Moss is the 49ers best receiver. He has Hall of Fame credentials. But to say that hes the best receiver on the team right now is an insult to players like Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham. Everyone is fabulous in June and July. But Moss has not played a meaningful down of NFL football since January 2, 2011. He has not scored a touchdown since a week before the Giants won the World Series.Moss hasnt played since the 2010 season. And in that he played sparingly, bouncing between three NFL teams. He was both a weird pain-in-the-butt (ripping the caterers in Minnesota) and a malcontent (demanding a trade in New England and stabbing Brad Childress in the back). But mostly he was agonizingly unproductive. The word in Tennessee was that Jeff Fisher didnt mind having him around except that Moss couldnt get any separation. That was 18 months ago.The Moss saga reminds me of the Manny Ramirez story we just witnessed with the As. It was a no-risk signing if you dont care about credibility. On paper, Ramirez was by far the most accomplished player at spring training. Of course there were great expectations.But they never materialized. The expectations fizzled. The legend basically couldnt play any more. And the risk would become high-risk if the team tried to force him onto the roster.Moss is great when everything is going well. When hes the star and catching tons of balls and the team is winning. Thats what happened in New England in 2007. He was Mr. Everything. But would Bill Belichick really get rid of a player that he thought could still play, just a few games into the 2010 season?When things arent going well, Moss is terrible. He complains. He quits. He makes life for coaches and coordinators miserable. We witnessed it first hand here in the Bay Area when Moss was with the Raiders.Who knows what its going to be like with the 49ers and their aging, mercurial receiver. Will Alex Smith be able to feed Moss enough passes to keep him happy? What about the other receivers? What about the fact that the 49ers are really a run-first, defense-reliant team? How long might it take before the malcontent Moss appears? And, more importantly, can the 35-year old actually still be productive on the field, after a prolonged absence?Is Moss the 49ers best receiver? Sure. On paper. In early July.Thats not where the NFL is played.

Kaepernick's parents defend his anthem protests: 'Very proud of our son'

Kaepernick's parents defend his anthem protests: 'Very proud of our son'

Colin Kaepernick began his silent National Anthem protests in late August.

For almost four months, his parents have remained quiet.

But after reports that Kaepernick did not have the support of his parents, Teresa and Rick Kaepernick reached out to ESPN's The Undefeated on Friday to set the record straight.

"Colin is carrying a heavy load and following a difficult path that he truly believes in. He is putting his entire future and possibly his life on the line for those beliefs. As his parents, it pains us to read articles and tweets saying that his family does not support him; this could not be further from the truth. We want people to know that we are very proud of our son and admire his strength and courage in kneeling for the rights of others," the couple said in a statement to the publication.

Kaepernick's parents also commented on those you have called their son un-American or labeled his protests as anti-Military.

"Colin has chosen to kneel for the national anthem as a protest to the continuing racial inequality in this country. He has explained his reasons for this in multiple interviews, yet it seems some people still do not understand his point. For whatever reason, there are some who want to view this as an anti-military protest or an un-American stance. These views could not be further from the truth, but we know that people will believe what they wish to believe. The recent remarks (attacks) by Admiral Harris supported by the Pentagon are over the top, and we feel the desire to make a public statement in support of our son," The Kaepernicks said in their statement.

They concluded their statement by discussing the reaction the family received due to Kaepernick's protest, including detailing the hate mail that has been sent to them.

"When Colin first 'took a knee', his family was as surprised as anyone. We did not understand why he was doing this and were overwhelmed with the public reaction and hate. Colin not only received terrible racist tweets, but also received letters directly to our home similar to that recently received by [Denver Broncos linebacker] Brandon Marshall. We were truly shocked at the amount of racist hatred out there! Until this had occurred, we had naively believed that the racial atmosphere in this country was far better than it actually is. Prayer and talks with our son gave us a much better understanding of the reason for his protest and how we should view it."

The Undefeated's Martenzie Johnson also spoke to Teresa Kaepernick by phone on Friday and she threw her family's support behind her son.

"I just want to be on the record that we absolutely do support him," she said.

49ers, McDonald agree to five-year extension

49ers, McDonald agree to five-year extension

The 49ers signed tight end Vance McDonald to a five-year contract extension through the 2021 season, the team announced late Friday.

The deal is worth $35 million, including $16 million in guaranteed money, ESPN reported. The actual contract terms and amount of fully guaranteed money is expected to be less than the reported figures.

McDonald ranks third on the 49ers with 24 catches for 391 yards and four touchdowns. He has touchdown receptions this season of 75 and 65 yards.

"Vance has shown consistent growth throughout his four-year career and his production this season is the result of his dedication and hard work,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. “We believe he has only scratched the surface of what he will be able to accomplish in his career. Vance is a tremendous ambassador for the 49ers, and his passion for helping others provides a wonderful example for this organization. We look forward to his continued contributions to this organization, both on and off the field.”

McDonald is in the final season of his original four-year, $3.99 million contract he signed as a second-round draft pick in 2013.

In McDonald’s three previous seasons, he caught just 40 passes for 475 yards and three touchdowns.

McDonald spoke last week about the greater chances he's gotten to prove himself since the 49ers traded Vernon Davis last season.

“I just always look back at the opportunity when Vernon went to (Denver),” McDonald said. “Just being able to have the trust and the opportunity to start games and play every down.”

Said 49ers coach Chip Kelly, "He’s one of our weapons on the offensive side of the ball and he runs better than most tight ends in this league. So really depends on week to week what people have available at the safety spot to kind of match up with him. But he’s certainly someone that I think people defensively have to game plan for.”