As Griffin goes to Browns, Kelly calls Gabbert 'intriguing'


As Griffin goes to Browns, Kelly calls Gabbert 'intriguing'

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Colin Kaepernick’s status has ranked near the top of the list of NFL storylines this offseason.

But while there is still no certainty where Kaepernick will play this season, there is no question Blaine Gabbert will be involved in the 49ers’ quarterback competition that will play out before the opening of the regular season.

Coach Chip Kelly, who has been asked often about Kaepernick, shared his thoughts about Gabbert on Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings while fielding a question from CSNBayArea.com in Boca Raton, Florida.

“(I’m) impressed with Blaine,” said Kelly, who met with Gabbert once in person and talked to him multiple times over the phone since taking the job. “You watch him the last couple of games he started. He’s another guy, you look at his skill set. He took off against the Bears and went (44) yards for a touchdown. He ran 4.61 in the combine when he was coming out.

“He’s big. I’d never really dealt with Blaine because he came into the league before I came into the league, but just how big and physical and impressive he is. He’s a 6-4, 245-pound guy that can really run. I thought the last part of the season he played really well. It’ll be intriguing to work with him, too.”

[MAIOCCO: Kelly trusts 49ers' front office; time with Eagles 'weird situation']

If Kaepernick remains with the team this offseason, there will be a competition involving at least those two players.

“I think there’s competition everywhere,” Kelly said. “We haven’t seen anybody in terms of our staff working with them. Day 1 it’s a blank slate for the entire group. Let’s get out there and run around and see where it is.”

The 49ers do not appear to be interested in adding another quarterback at this time. General manager Trent Baalke said the organization has no contact with former Washington quarterback Robert Griffin, who signed with the Browns Thursday morning. 

“Right now, we’re focused on some other things,” Baalke said. “Will there come a time when we sit down? That certainly could happen, but it hasn’t happened to this point.”

When asked why the 49ers had not touched base with Griffin, Kelly said, “I think we probably need to figure out what’s going on with Kap before we make any decisions. That’s really where we are from a quarterback standpoint. But I’d like to be able to work with Kap and Blaine when we get going in April.”

Gabbert and Kaepernick started eight games apiece last season. Gabbert completed 63.1 percent of his passes for 2,031 yards in 282 attempts with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions for an 86.2 passer rating. Kaepernick completed 59 percent of his 244 attempts for 1,615 yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions for a passer rating of 78.5.

Kelly blamed Kaepernick’s slip in play last season on injuries that required surgeries to his left shoulder, right thumb and left knee.

“I think the biggest misconception that people don’t realize with Kap is just injuries,” Kelly said. “It’s not like his skillset diminished. He went on injured reserve last year, so he was only available for eight games. He was legitimately injured.”

Report: Chiefs sign ex-49ers CB, former Raiders RB to practice squad


Report: Chiefs sign ex-49ers CB, former Raiders RB to practice squad

A pair of former Bay Area footballers are headed to Kansas City.

The Chiefs have reportedly signed former 49ers cornerback Keith Reaser and former Raiders running back George Atkinson to their practice squad.

News of the deals was first reported by ESPN.

Reaser was waived by the 49ers on Saturday to make room for cornerback Asa Jackson to be promoted to the active roster in time for Sunday's game in Seattle. Reaser was a fifth-round pick in 2014. After missing his entire rookie as he recovered from ACL surgery, Reaser played in 28 games over the past two seasons. He did not appear on defense in the 49ers’ season-opening loss to Carolina last week, but he appeared on 10 snaps of special teams.

Atkinson has been a familiar face around the Raiders. He was claimed off waivers from the Browns on July 29, but waived on Sept. 2.

49ers assistant Katie Sowers donates items to Pro Football Hall of Fame


49ers assistant Katie Sowers donates items to Pro Football Hall of Fame

San Francisco 49ers assistant coach Katie Sowers has a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Sowers, in her role as seasonal offensive assistant, became the first female assistant in NFC history this season. Sowers is situated upstairs for game days as part of Kyle Shanahan’s staff.

Sowers donated her coaching shirt and binder from the Week 1 game against the Carolina Panthers to the Hall of Fame.

“The Pro Football Hall of Fame is pleased that Coach Katie Sowers has donated artifacts from her regular-season debut as the first fulltime female coach in NFC history,” Hall of Fame executive director Joe Horrigan said in a statement.

“Her pioneering role in pro football will undoubtedly inspire others to work to overcome obstacles while pursuing their dreams and aspirations.”

Kathryn Smith, a member of the Buffalo Bills staff last season, was the league’s first full-time female assistant.