Kaepernick rebounds with strong minicamp finale


Kaepernick rebounds with strong minicamp finale

SANTA CLARA -- The competition for the No. 2 job behind starting quarterback Alex Smith will be a race worth watching when 49ers training camp opens in late-July.Through the first two days of the 49ers' mandatory minicamp this week, second-stringer Colin Kaepernick struggled with his accuracy more than any of the team's quarterbacks.But the second-round draft pick of a year ago rebounded Thursday with a strong closing day. Kaepernick had several outstanding throws, including a 30-yard pass to undrafted rookie Brian Tyms that he fit between two defenders."Colin had a near-perfect day," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said, adding that he charted Kaepernick with one incompletion and two dropped passes.Kaepernick figured to be up against strong competition for the backup job from Josh Johnson, whom the 49ers signed as a free agent. But Scott Tolzien might have been the most consistent of the team's three backup quarterbacks during the 49ers' mandatory minicamp.Smith, meanwhile, has left no doubt where he ranks on the depth chart."Alex definitely separated himself further than what he was, which was a lot coming out of the season," Harbaugh said. "He's the solid starter. I don't think anybody questions that."Harbaugh reiterated that he believes all four quarterbacks on the 49ers' 90-man roster will play a long time in the NFL.The 49ers also feel blessed with significant depth at wide receiver -- unlike a year ago.

When asked if Michael Crabtree and Randy Moss separated themselves as the starters, Harbaugh took the opportunity to mention every receiver who has practiced during the offseason. Harbaugh did not mention Ted Ginn, who did not participate in the offseason practices as he returns to full strength while rehabbing a right knee injury."Both of those guys worked extremely hard and are outstanding teammates," Harbaugh said of Moss and Crabtree. "Everybody loves being around them. If you ask anybody around them, A-plus-plus, the way they worked."But Harbaugh did not stop there, saying:
--Mario Manningham "really surged on in this camp as he's gotten to know system."
--Kyle Williams continues to elevate his game and his play spiked during the minicamp.--Brett Swain and Joe Hastings continue to improve their play from a year ago.--First-round draft pick A.J. Jenkins, as well as undrafted rookies Nathan Palmer, Tyms and Chris Owusu comprise an outstanding crop of young receivers."The young guys showed really good flashes," Harbaugh said. "Even more sure now than when we had the first rookie minicamp, this is the best group of rookie receivers ever been around. Now we're sure of that."

Report: 49ers UFA linebacker to visit Seahawks

Report: 49ers UFA linebacker to visit Seahawks

Gerald Hodges is in search of a new team and he's looking at a division rival of the 49ers.

The unrestricted free agent is scheduled to visit the Seahawks on Wednesday, according to ESPN.

Acquired in October of 2015 from Minnesota for a sixth-round pick, the four-year pro played in 25 games over the past two seasons with the 49ers.

In his time with San Francisco, the former fourth-round pick recorded three sacks, two interceptions and one fumble recovery.

But he was not considered a fit for the new 49ers under general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan. Hodges was deactivated for a game late in the season at Atlanta for breaking team rules. He did not offer an explanation or apology

The 49ers have signed three linebackers through two weeks of free agency: Malcolm Smith, Brock Coyle and Dekoda Watson.

Donald Trump, Jim Harbaugh address Kaepernick's free agent status

Donald Trump, Jim Harbaugh address Kaepernick's free agent status

On the same day the FBI director announced members of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign are under investigation for colluding with Russia to influence the election, Trump turned his thoughts to Colin Kaepernick’s status as an NFL free agent.

And Jim Harbaugh, appearing on Pro Football Talk, suggested teams that are not showing interest in Kaepernick are making a mistake.

“I’ll tell you the same thing I tell them: I think he’s an outstanding player and I think he’s a great competitor who has proven it in games and has the ability to be not only an NFL starter but a great NFL player,” Harbaugh said Tuesday morning.

“He’ll have a great career and be a great quarterback, win championships.”

On Monday evening, during a rally in Kentucky, Trump made remarks about Kaepernick. In the lead-up to the November election, Kaepernick called Trump “openly racist” and said he would not vote for Hillary Clinton, either.

“And you know, your San Francisco quarterback? I’m sure nobody ever heard of him,” Trump said.

“There was an article today, it was reported that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. Do you believe that? I just saw that. I just saw that. I said if I remember that one I’m gonna report it to the people of Kentucky. Because they like it when people actually stand for the American flag.”

Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report reported an AFC general manager told him there were three reasons Kaepernick has not signed. Some believe, according to the anonymous source, that Kaepernick can no longer play at a high level. Others “genuinely hate him” for kneeling during the national anthem as part of his protest of racial inequality in America.

And, “some teams fear the backlash from fans after getting him,” according to the report. “They think there might be protests or Trump will tweet about the team. I'd say that number is around 10 percent. Then there's another 10 percent that has a mix of those feelings.”

Kaepernick’s teammates voted him the winner of the Len Eshmont Award for courage and inspiration last season. It is historically the most prestigious award among 49ers players. But the 49ers have already signed veteran quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley.

General manager John Lynch acknowledged last week on KNBR the odds of the 49ers bringing back Kaepernick are slim.

“I think the likelihood of that happening has gone down significantly. But we’re not going to close our mind or out options on anyone, including him,” Lynch said.

Even though there has been no reported interest in Kaepernick from any team around the league, Lynch said Kaepernick nearly signed with a team earlier during the free-agent signing period.

“I don’t know what happened to that market,” Lynch said. “He was, in everyone’s mind in this league, very close to signing a deal with a team at a really good number. And it fell through, apparently.”