Goldson back to S.F. after free-agency frustration

Goldson back to S.F. after free-agency frustration

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SANTA CLARA -- During his two weeks on the open market, free agency equaled frustration for safety Dashon Goldson.Virtually every team that needed a player at his position had already filled those roles. That seemingly included the 49ers, who picked off veteran Donte Whitner, formerly of the Buffalo Bills, with a three-year contract late last week.
Nearing the point of desperation, Goldson's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, sent a mass email Saturday to multiple representatives for most NFL teams. (The 49ers were not among the recipients.) obtained a copy of the email, in which Rosenhaus wrote that Goldson "would be willing to sign a one year contract for approximately 3,000,000. Please let me know if you have an interest."The next day, Goldson visited the New England Patriots. One day after that, he agreed to return to the 49ers on a one-year contract worth a reported 2 million.RELATED: Dashon Goldson 2010 game logs
"Definitely frustrating," Goldson said. "At the end of the day, I'm a football player. I never thought I'd see this side of the business. But it is a business and I got a grasp of that a couple weeks ago."Goldson was back on the 49ers' practice field on Wednesday, playing catchup as he learns a new system under defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. Goldson is not expected to play Friday night in the 49ers' exhibition opener at the New Orleans Saints. And when he returns to full duty on the field, he will be paired in the secondary with a new face."I really think, right now, it will be me and Dashon, once Dashon gets caught up on the defense," Whitner said. "We've had 10 installs with, maybe, 40 defensive packages in there. You can't expect a guy to catch up the next day after getting here. They'll work him in more and more with the ones. Coach has already said it."RELATED: Donte Whitner 2010 game logs
Goldson braced himself for the end of his 49ers days after the 49ers signed Whitner to a three-year contract worth 11.75 million, including 4 million guaranteed. Goldson went on Twitter to inform his followers, "Sorry guys thanx for all ur support but not gonna be back. See ya."But there was little question the 49ers wanted Goldson all along. They were initially prepared to pay him more than the five-year, 20 million contract they awarded to retain defensive lineman Ray McDonald, a source said.But Goldson wanted to test the open market, and the 49ers pulled the offer, a source said. In response, Goldson told on Wednesday that there was a lot of misinformation regarding his situation.VIDEO: 49ers camp report (810)
He said 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke contacted him throughout the process to inform him of the organization's desire to retain him."We were really excited when Dashon decided to come back," Harbaugh said. "We told him that we needed him. And he wanted to be here. That adds a lot to our depth and experience, a guy who's been a starting safety in this league -- a physical mindset. It adds to the competition back there. Another guy who's game-tested, battle-tested."Said Goldson, "It was just a matter of time before I got here."And the timing could not have been any better. Free safety Reggie Smith, who played well in the first week of camp, sustained a knee injury over the weekend that required surgery. Fangio said the injury is "nothing serious." And Harbaugh said the move to re-sign Goldson would've been made regardless of Smith's health.When Whitner arrived, he figured Smith would be the other safety. Now, he looks at how his style as a true strong safety meshes with Goldson.
"He's more of a middle-field guy," Whitner said. "He has tremendous range and can go get the football. But in this defense, both safeties have to be interchangeable. The free has to be able to play strong, and the strong has to be able to play free."Whitner added that the safeties are asked to play a lot of different coverage in Fangio's 3-4 scheme, so flexibility is required."So you have to be interchangeable, and I think we'll work well together," he said.Goldson, who turns 27 next month, did not make as many big plays last season as he did in 2009, his first year as a starter. Goldson's interception total dropped from four to one, though he returned his one pick for a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks' Matt Hasselbeck in December.Goldson said he met with Patriots coach Bill Belichick and received an offer from New England before deciding to return to the 49ers.RELATED: Current 49ers roster
"Belichick was one of the guys who saw a lot in me," Goldson said. "He really wanted me. There was an opportunity there, but I followed my heart on this one."I did have an offer from the Patriots. There was a lot of upside here. This is home. I wanted to come back with the guys. This organization is one of the organizations I look up to. It worked out. I'm looking forward to moving on and having a good year."And, then, Goldson will have a chance to do it all over again after his one-year deal with the 49ers expires at the end of the season.

McDonald toasts Shanahan for communication of trade talks

McDonald toasts Shanahan for communication of trade talks

SANTA CLARA -- Tight end Vance McDonald became aware of a report the 49ers had engaged in trade talks involving him at his brother’s wedding in Austin, Texas.

But McDonald said he did not give it much thought because he had another immediate priority.

“I still had my best man’s speech to do,” McDonald said.

Later that evening during last month's draft, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan called McDonald to keep him in the loop. There was no trade, and McDonald returned to Santa Clara on Monday to continue participation in the 49ers’ offseason program.

“The first thing I told him was, ‘Man, there aren’t a lot of coaches that would do this,’” McDonald said of his talk with Shanahan. “He just wanted to fill me in.”

Nearly four weeks later, it is as if nothing ever happened.

“The only trade discussions we had was when another team asked us about Vance on draft day,” Shanahan said this week. “And after a team asked us about Vance then we asked other teams if they’d be interested in that same thing.”

McDonald said he completely understood why the 49ers would check with other teams around the league to see what they could acquire in a trade.

“Basically, it’s just like any other team in the NFL would do,” McDonald said. “If you’re a 2-14 team, obviously, there are a lot of things you can improve on, a lot of spots that need to be filled. There are a lot of things you need to improve upon in the offseason. So if teams are going to call and inquire about you, then obviously the next step is to … call around to every other team.

“So that’s exactly what happened to me. It isn’t like they don’t want me here. There was never a lack of communication on any level.”

Even before he knew his immediate future with the 49ers, McDonald said he tried to maintain the proper state of mind.

“I had the mindset this isn’t going to change anything,” McDonald said. “I’m going to end up where I end up and I’m just going to continue doing what I’m doing, which is do everything to be a better football player.”

McDonald enters the fifth year of his NFL career after signing a new deal in December that amounts to a three-year, $19.7 million extension. Three days later, the 49ers placed McDonald on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

McDonald was on pace for his best season as a pass-catcher. In 11 games, he had 24 receptions for 391 yards and four touchdowns.

Now, he is competition for a spot in the 49ers’ offense, along with fifth-round draft pick George Kittle, undrafted rookie Cole Hikutini, and veterans Logan Paulsen, Garrett Celek and Blake Bell.

McDonald said he likes what Shanahan has brought to the 49ers, including added responsibilities of the tight end position.

“Last year, all we talked about was how fast our pace was,” McDonald said. “With Kyle, it’s insanely quick. He’s a very detailed guy. It’s interesting to hear him present information. You try to apply it and play with the same mindset that he has. It’s a task that we all enjoy doing.

“We (tight ends) are the end of the line. There’s communication with us and the wide receivers and running backs. We’re also in command with receiving corps. There are a lot of things on our plate. Hopefully, this doesn’t get back to the wide receivers, but we’re supposed to be smarter than them. It’s a fun job to have. We don’t try to rub it in too much.”

Chip Kelly returns to college football -- as analyst

Chip Kelly returns to college football -- as analyst

Chip Kelly is back in college football.

The former Oregon coach, who served as 49ers head coach last season, signed a multiyear deal as an ESPN analyst, the network announced Friday morning. He will work predominantly on pre-games, halftimes and in studio wraps each Saturday on ESPN2.

“Over the last 30 years, I have experienced football from one perspective – as a coach,” Kelly said in a statement. “Working in television will allow me to see the game from a different angle; simultaneously, I‘ll provide viewers an insight to the mindset of a coach and team while offering alternative views of various situations.

“Once I decided to make the move to TV, my familiarity with ESPN, combined with their high-quality production and vital role in college football, it was easily the best network suited for me.”

Kelly, 53, was fired on the evening of the 49ers’ season finale. The 49ers went 2-14 under Kelly and set the franchise record with 13 consecutive losses. Their only victories came against the Los Angeles Rams. Kelly also auditioned with FOX for the analyst job vacated when John Lynch became 49ers general manager, sources told NBC Sports Bay Area.

Kelly served as Oregon’s head coach from 2009 to ’12. His teams compiled a record of 46-7. Under Kelly, the Ducks advanced to the 2011 national championship game, losing to Auburn 22-19.

Kelly won the AP College Football Coach of the Year. He twice won the Pac-10 coach of the year. He left Oregon to become head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013. After his first two NFL teams went 10-6, Kelly was fired in 2015 with one game remaining in the season. The Eagles were 6-9 at the time of Kelly's firing.

“Chip is one of the most innovative football minds of our generation,” ESPN senior coordinating producer Lee Fitting said. “As a coach, he saw the game from a unique perspective, never afraid to take an unconventional approach. We want him to bring that mentality to our college football coverage each week, offering fans a varying viewpoint outside of the conventional thought process.”