Harbaugh: Willis won't be held back if he's ready

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Harbaugh: Willis won't be held back if he's ready

SANTA CLARA -- Coach Jim Harbaugh met briefly with the media Friday afternoon before the 49ers departed for St. Louis, where they'll face the Rams on Sunday. Here is the transcript of Harbaugh's Q&A (courtesy of the 49ers' public relations department):Have you guys made a decision yet (on who will fill the open roster spot)?
Harbaugh: "No, we haven't made an announcement yet. We won't until tomorrow, most likely."What's the purpose of waiting until Saturday for that move?
Harbaugh: "Until we know exactly how we want to do it. WR Ted Ginn had a good workout today. We didn't practice him. Held him out. But, he's coming along very well, so we'll see how he responds to that. See how he looks tomorrow. That is the purpose."What about WR Kyle Williams? What's his status?
Harbaugh: "Coming along. He's progressing well. We'll see about that."Was he cleared to do anything this week? Walk through or anything?
Harbaugh: "He's on his progression."Does anybody during the week do punt returns or kick returns besides those two guys? Not this week, but in previous weeks?
Harbaugh: "Yes. There are other guys that do that."You have a steady rotation of guys?
Harbaugh: "Yes. . . We've got other guys doing it, too."Is that a concern at all for you on Sunday; how that's going to be handled?
Harbaugh: "It will be next guy up. Everything is a concern, though."Will you divulge who the next guy up is?
Harbaugh: "It would be Reggie Smith."Would Kendall Hunter be on kickoffs?
Harbaugh: "Kendall would be one of the guys, yes. Chris Culliver would be another."When did you first know about WR Joe Hastings? When did he get on your radar? Was that training camp? What were your initial impressions of him and what you saw?
Harbaugh: "First initial impressions when I first met him, was when we signed college free agents, which was the day they reported for training camp. He's done a nice job. Worked very hard. He competes. Willing, smart."How does a guy that comes in with a bunch of other undrafted guys, how does a guy distinguish himself in training camp above the others?
Harbaugh: "It's competing. Somebody wins, somebody loses. Somebody sticks out more than somebody else. Somebody studies a little harder than the other guy. That's how."You've been so outstanding at protecting the football this year. Is there a certain methodology that goes into that beyond just telling guys to be more cognizant of holding onto the football?
Harbaugh: "Yes, there are other things that go into it other than, Hey guys, let's just take care of the ball today.'"What are some of those things?
Harbaugh: "I think it's the pride that the players have in protecting the football. Understanding situational football. I think it could just be emphasizing your scheme."Do you expect to have Patrick Willis available to you on Sunday?
Harbaugh: "We'll see."If he's ready to go, there's no holding him back?
Harbaugh: "Right, if he's ready to go.

49ers visit with free-agent defensive end

49ers visit with free-agent defensive end

PHOENIX – The 49ers had a recent visit with Tampa Bay free-agent defensive end Jacquies Smith, general manager John Lynch confirmed on Sunday.

Smith, 27, sustained a torn right ACL in the Buccaneers’ season opener in September while running down the field on punt coverage against the Atlanta Falcons. The 49ers gave Smith a physical during his visit to Santa Clara. The club has yet to make a contract offer, Lynch said.

"We wanted to get him checked out medically, and we’ll see," Lynch said at the NFL owners meetings.

Smith (6-foot-2, 260 pounds) recorded 6.5 sacks in 2014 and seven sacks in 2015 for the Buccaneers.

After going undrafted in 2012 out of Missouri, Smith signed with Miami. He spent time with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League before landing on the New York Jets’ practice squad. Smith worked his way into the Buccaneers’ defensive-line rotation in ’14 after being claimed off waivers from the Buffalo Bills.

The Buccaneers gave Smith the low tender of $1.797 million as a restricted free agent. Any team can sign Smith to an offer sheet. Tampa Bay would have the right of first refusal but would get no compensation if the team chooses not to match the contract.

With 71 players under contract, the 49ers have $74.5 million in cap space, according to the NFL Players Association.

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman/defensive end Clay Matthews Sr. passed away on Thursday, March 23rd at the age of 88. 

Matthews originally entered the NFL as a 25th round (247th overall) draft choice by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1949 NFL Draft. He spent four seasons with San Francisco (1950, 1953-55), appearing in 45 games and registering one interception. After spending his rookie season of 1950 with the 49ers, he went on to spend two years (1951-52) in the United States Army where he served in the Korean War.

A native of Charleston, SC, Matthews attended Georgia Tech where he played guard, tackle and end while earning All-Southeastern Conference honors in 1948. In 1949, Matthews was the All-Southeastern Conference heavyweight wrestling and boxing champion at Georgia Tech.

Matthews was the first of three generations to play in the National Football League. His two oldest sons, Bruce and Clay Jr., each spent 19 seasons in the NFL. Originally selected by the Houston Oilers in the first round (9th overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft, Bruce was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 after 14 Pro Bowl and seven First-Team All-Pro selections. Clay Jr. was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 1st round (12th overall) in the 1978 draft and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection.

Three of Bruce’s sons, Jake, Kevin and Mike, and two of Clay Jr.’s sons, Clay III and Casey, either have spent time or currently play in the NFL. Clay III is currently a member of the Green Bay Packers and a six-time Pro Bowl selection at linebacker while Jake is currently an offensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons after being selected in the first round (6th overall) by the team in 2014. 

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