Harbaugh declines comment on Jacobs

Harbaugh declines comment on Jacobs

SANTA CLARA -- Veteran running back Brandon Jacobs was provocative on social media last week, presumably after finding out he would not be active Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

Coach Jim Harbaugh on Monday took the opposite approach during his weekly press conference. Harbaugh declined comment on Jacobs, who is upset with his lack of playing time.

"I really don't have a comment on that for you," Harbaugh said.

Has Harbaugh spoken with Jacobs?

"No comment.

Is Jacobs still part of the team?

"I'll go with the Fifth Amendment."

Kendall Hunter's season-ending injury opened the door for the 49ers to incorporate a different running back into the backup role. Jacobs has just 7 yards on five carries while being active for only three of the team's 12 games. On Sunday, LaMichael James took over as the backup, with Anthony Dixon inserted into short-yardage situations.

But it does not necessarily mean that the 49ers plan to release James. One source said the 49ers might be reluctant to release Jacobs and allow him to catch on with another team. After all, is a fresh 6-foot-4, 264-pound running back who might be able to contribute to another team over the final three weeks of the regular season and, potentially, the playoffs.

While Jacobs has expressed his views to his followers on Twitter and Instagram, he apparently is not creating any problems within the 49ers. On Sunday, he was seen on the sideline encouraging rookie running back LaMichael James, as well as second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Jacobs was the last 49ers player out of the locker room at the start of the second half. He was jogging along the sideline as special-team Michael Wilhoite made a tackle at the Dolphins' 18-yard line. Jacobs was seen jumping in the air to celebrate Wilhoite's tackle.

Last week, Jacobs changed his Instagram name from "speed4527," a combination of his 49ers jersey number and the number he wore with the New York Giants, to "speed2727" -- a repeat of his Giants number.

He also posted the following comments, in which he complains about his playing time and seemingly downplays the credit Harbaugh deserves as coach:

"The only positive thing about it is I will be healthy for next season."

"Some people give the wrong person credit, this team win(s) because there is a lot of talent."

"I am on this team rotting away . . . this is by far the worst year I ever had."

Report: 49ers free agent ILB signing with rival Seahawks

Report: 49ers free agent ILB signing with rival Seahawks

Michael Wilhoite has spent his whole five-year NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers.

But now the free agent inside linebacker is reportedly switching sides in the NFC West rivalry. Wilhoite is set to sign with the Seattle Seahawks, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. 

Terms of the deal are unknown at this time. 

Wilhoite, 30, played in all 16 games last season for the 49ers, starting in only six. In 2016 he recorded 55 tackles, 30 less than 2015 in four less games, and forced one fumble. 

After earning a promotion from the 49ers' practice squad in 2012, Wilhoite's career in the Bay Area comes to an end with 268 tackles and three interceptions in 65 games. 

NFL owners mull cutting regular-season OT to 10 minutes

NFL owners mull cutting regular-season OT to 10 minutes

NEW YORK -- NFL owners will consider proposals next week to cut regular-season overtime from 15 minutes to 10; eliminate players leaping over the line on kick plays; and expansion of coaches' challenges and what can be reviewed by officials.

In what promises to be a busy annual meeting next week in Phoenix that will include discussing the Raiders' potential relocation from Oakland to Las Vegas, the 32 owners also will vote on changing the mechanics on replay reviews and other items intended to reduce downtime during games.

The Eagles proposed four rules changes, including abolishing the leaping techniques that league football operations director Troy Vincent said Thursday "don't belong in the game."

Seattle and Buffalo co-authored a proposal allowing a coach to challenge any officiating decision, whether a foul is called or not.

"That is a significant change to our current replay rule and it is something that will be on the floor and will be debated next week," NFL officiating chief Dean Blandino said.

Another major change would be the reduction of overtime in-season; the extra period in the playoffs would remain at 15 minutes. The powerful competition committee, of which Vincent and Blandino are members, believed it's a player safety issue, noting that number of snaps for games going to OT - especially deep into the overtime - is excessive. Especially if a team has a quick turnaround.

"We don't know where a team is going to be playing the next week, it could be four days later," said committee chairman Rich McKay, president of the Atlanta Falcons. "We felt we should put an end to it. We don't think it will lead to more ties. Could it? It could, but we are not concerned with that."

As for changing the format of overtime to ensure both teams always get a possession - a popular topic after how the Super Bowl ended - Blandino said the league's wants to keep the element of sudden death in the extra period.

The "leaper rule" has taken some priority among competition committee members, the players' union and coaches. Vincent said coaches have begun scheming how to defense it, which can "create a real safety issue."

"It is really in the best interest of the game" to outlaw leaping on kicks," Vincent added.

McKay noted that the NCAA is in the process of passing a similar ban on the technique.

During the meetings that run from Sunday to Wednesday, the teams will be shown plays the competition committee believes should result in suspensions or ejections. Game officials already have had the leeway to eject players, but it rarely has happened; there were three in 2016.

"They don't happen very often, let's give the players credit," McKay said. "We have 40,000 plays in a year. We'll show a tape that will have four or five plays that would warrant suspension. This is not a widespread situation."

Added Vincent, a former NFL defensive back: "When you see the plays, they are catastrophic. We had two players who did not return for the season. They are high-impact plays that belong out of the game. It will be a real point of emphasis this season."