Five Super Bowl MVP QBs discuss concussions

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Five Super Bowl MVP QBs discuss concussions

SAN FRANCISCO -- Five Super Bowl MVP quarterbacks with Bay Area ties united on stage for a fund-raising event Friday morning.They also put their heads together to discuss and offer solutions on the major crisis surrounding the sport of football.Near the conclusion of the one-hour event, moderator Bob Costas shifted the round-table discussion involving Joe Montana, Steve Young, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Jim Plunkett to the topic of concussions.Rodgers, the reigning NFL most valuable player, consulted Young after sustaining a concussion in 2010. Young never played again after getting knocked unconscious by a hit from Arizona cornerback Aeneas Williams in 1999.Rodgers passed the NFL's protocol for returning to action after a concussion after missing one game and led the Packers to the Super Bowl title.RELATED: Lester Hayes says players knew the score on injuries
Rodgers complimented commissioner Roger Goodell's efforts to punish players for dangerous hits and illegal hits."It's a difficult topic to put your mind around," Rodgers said. "But I know the risks I'm taking, stepping onto the field. I've had a couple of head injuries. Actually, I talked to Steve after the second one because I know he dealt with some similar things."It does start to bring your own mortality to the forefront in your mind, thinking about what your post-career will look like. That being said, I don't think there's a whole lot more we can do. The helmet I started my career with in 2005 is no longer allowed to be worn because of the safety requirements on those helmets is so high now. I feel confident the helmet I'm wearing has kept me from a couple concussions in the last year, especially one hit in particular I took in the Giants playoff game."I think the commissioner has a difficult job, but he's done a good job of making guys who take cheap shots or shots above the neck or below the knee intentionally to injure people, he's fining those guys and suspending them for games. And that's what you have to do."Rodgers echoed a sentiment Plunkett expressed that there isn't a whole lot more Goodell can legislate into the game to make it more safe for those who play."It's just in this era, as opposed to when the three of you (Montana, Young, Plunkett) played, every injury is highlighted more," Rodgers said. "Every little ding to the head is labeled as a concussion. The protocol for concussions cannot be any more difficult to get back on the field. It is incredible the process and the tests you have to go through to get back on the field. So something is being done. It's unfortunate that we've had to go through some years of learning what those steps look like, but I don't think there's a whole lot more that can be done."Costas asked Young if it is practical for defenders to turn the clock back to the earlier days of the game when they were required to wrap up while making tackles."Yeah, I think that's what they're trying to do," Young said. "The things they're trying to legislate out of the game right now is the launching."Young said he has watched highlights of Chicago Bears Hall-of-Fame linebacker Dick Butkus, and what he saw was eye-opening."People always said, 'They're going to change football if they legislate some of these big hits,'" Young said. "Dick Butkus was a tough guy. He tackled with his arms. So it takes away those hits that are most difficult to watch and that injure the head so much. They're trying to make sure that those launching hits are out of the game."Young, the father of two young boys, said he would not object to them playing football -- if it's a sport they wish to pursue."The game is dangerous to the body. Well-coached and well-protected, I think it's a great game," Young said. "And truth is, if my boys wanted to play and I thought they were well-coached and well-protected, then I think there are things that football teaches that are not able to be learned in some places."It's one of the great team games in the history of team games. So I'd love to find a way to wiggle through this and find a way so it's safe enough for people long term to play it and be safe. With Aaron's point about how they're trying to handle the protocol on head injuries, maybe on the other side of this in 10 or 15 years, we've found a game that protects players and still keep it intact."Montana suggested the advances in the equipment have also heightened the dangers of the game."The problem is, the better the equipment gets, the more protected everybody feels and the more violent the game can become because now they feel they can do more -- the collisions can be higher," Montana said."One of the old, old guys says, 'I got the perfect thing: Take the facemasks off. See how many people stick their faces in there then.' That's a pretty good point. It takes a lot of sense in a lot of ways. It takes some of that protection away. Do you want to go that way? It's almost impossible to go backward."Said Plunkett, "I have so many friends or people I've played against just going through a hell of a time at this stage of their lives. I know something's got to be done. Exactly what it is, I'm not sure."While the awareness is greater than ever, so is the force the collisions in today's game. Brady said he is amazed at the size, speed and athleticism of the players entering the NFL."The players now are so big and so fast," Brady said. "The accountability for myself is with myself. I'm making sure I'm doing what I need to do to protect myself and, obviously, my family and I try to educate some teammates on things." Montana, Young, Plunkett, Brady and Rodgers took part Friday morning in "Salute to the Titans," a fundraising event spearheaded by former 49ers All-Pro lineman Harris Barton. The event benefited First Tee of San Francisco, Monterey County and Silicon Valley; and Champion Charities, created by Barton and Ronnie Lott, a non-profit dedicated to helping children and families in need. Champion Charities' primary recipient is UCSF. The organization raises and distributes funds for research of all brain-related diseases and traumatic brain injury. Both of Barton's parents died of brain tumors.

Shanahan delegates offensive duties to 49ers staff

Shanahan delegates offensive duties to 49ers staff

SANTA CLARA – Kyle Shanahan will retain the role he held the past nine seasons in his first year as head coach of the 49ers.

Shanahan eschewed the formality of naming an offensive coordinator because he will keep those duties for himself. Still, Shanahan made it clear that he alone will not be able to fix the 49ers’ offense.

Shanahan has assembled a supporting cast that he said makes him comfortable to delegate responsibilities whenever his attention has to be focused on something other than the team’s offense.

“I mix it up,” said Shanahan, who previously held offensive coordinator roles with Houston, Washington, Cleveland and Atlanta. “Different guys have different attributes.”

Mike McDaniel and Mike LaFleur joined Shanahan after time together on the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive staff. McDaniel is the run-game specialist, while LaFleur, the wide receivers coach, is the pass-game specialist.

Tight ends coach Jon Embree, formerly the head coach at Colorado, is Shanahan’s assistant head coach. Shanahan said Embree has a vocal role on his staff.

Moreover, long-time NFL running backs coach Bobby Turner is a trusted assistant after spending 14 seasons in Denver and four more in Washington with Mike Shanahan, Kyle’s father. Turner coached under Kyle Shanahan the past two seasons with the Falcons.

”Bobby Turner’s been an assistant head coach for our teams we’ve had in the past and anytime that I need him to take over, he does,” Shanahan said. “So it depends what period it is, depends what we’re talking about.”

The 49ers opened organized team activities last week. It was the first time the 49ers’ rookies and veterans were together on the field for offense vs. defense practices. Shanahan said it takes some adjustment for him to figure out how to best budget his time during the workouts.

“I’m used to knowing exactly where to go and what to do and I always did that from an offensive coordinator standpoint which I still do a lot of those responsibilities,” Shanahan said. “So, at times, I feel most comfortable when I go to do that because that’s something to do. But, when I pass it over to some other guys and let them do it, I find myself walking around a lot and I’m not used to that.

“It feels awkward, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think I should walk around and watch everyone and see it. I always see it on the tape, but that’s later at night. You want players to know you’re there and paying attention to everything and I usually try to cover that in meetings the next day also.”

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Harbaugh goes Biblical, responds to Jacobs' criticisms of his coaching

Former NFL running back Brandon Jacobs spent one season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 under head coach Jim Harbaugh.

Jacobs only played in two games and gained seven yards on five carries. The results were nothing like his 5,087 yards and 60 touchdowns over eight years with the Giants. 

Apparently being pushed to the bench as a 31-year-old veteran running back didn't sit well with Jacobs. 

“Going somewhere where they don’t have route conversions into certain coverages was just absurd,” Jacobs said Thursday on the Tiki and Tierney Show. “They’re just running routes in the defense, getting people killed. Size and strength is what they had, and that’s why they won.

"Let’s be real. They had great assistant coaches, but Jim didn’t know what he was doing. Jim had no idea. Jim is throwing slants into Cover-2 safeties, getting people hurt. That guy knew nothing, man."

On Saturday morning, Harbaugh responded to Jacobs with a tweet to him. 

Harbaugh went 44-19-1 in four seasons as the 49ers' head coach. He also added five playoff wins and a trip to the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season, the one that Jacobs played for him.