Moss looks forward to facing his former team

moss_randy_tom_brady_hugging.jpg

Moss looks forward to facing his former team

SANTA CLARA -- In three seasons as New England Patriots teammates, wide receivers Randy Moss and Wes Welker combined for some mind-blowing statistics.

Moss and Welker teamed up for 596 receptions, 7,453 yards and 62 touchdowns from 2007 to 2009 before the Patriots traded Moss to the Minnesota Vikings early in the 2010 season.

Welker had more of the catches (346) with Moss supplying more of the touchdowns (47) during their time together.

"Obviously, Randy is a great player and has so much speed and everybody is so afraid of the big play that he can create, and everything like that," Welker said Wednesday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters.

"It definitely puts a lot of teams in two high safeties and kind of opens up the middle of the field."

At 35, Moss has slowed down as he returns to New England on Sunday night to play his former team. Moss has 21 catches for 346 yards and two touchdowns in the 49ers' run-based offense through 13 games.

"I know Randy worked really hard," Welker said. "Even if he did slow down a little bit, he's still really fast. He's been a great playmaker for a long time in this league, and I'm sure it hasn't changed too much."

* * *

Earlier on Wednesday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick complimented Moss, calling him "the greatest deep-ball receiver that's ever played" and "probably the smartest receiver I've ever coached."

After practice Wednesday, Moss spoke to reporters who cover the 49ers. Moss expressed his admiration for Belichick and the Patriots.

"I learned a lot from Bill Belichick," Moss said. "I've said time and time again, before I got to New England, I thought I knew a lot about football. But I think he taught me a lot from A to Z. I still carry it to this day.

"The compliments are great and I respect Coach Belichick and that organization still to this day. And hopefully we have a good game coming out Sunday night. Looking forward to the game, and hopefully the fans do, too."

When asked if there are similarities between the 49ers and Patriots organizations, Moss said, "I don't want to get into all of that because whatever I say is going to be the wrong thing to say. Basically, I'll leave it at, I still got love and respect for the New England Patriots and everything we did as a team. But now I'm a 49er, and hopefully we go out there Sunday night and give it a good game.

"One thing we know, it's going to be a hard-fought game from the offensive side because of their ability to put points up. Hopefully, we can complement our defense, not telling what's going to happen, but we got to play complementary football. And if we do that, and try not to let Tom (Brady) and the offense run the score up on us, I think it'll be a good game. Like I said, we're just coming in and working each and every day and looking forward to the matchup Sunday night."

Moss said he isn’t sure he can provide any useful insight into the Patriots defense for the 49ers’ defensive players. The advice he has given teammates is to be prepared for anything — or else the 49ers could have an experience similar to the Houston Texans, who were drubbed 42-14 on Monday night.

“Everybody knows Bill Belichick is a so-called genius and he changes it up every week,” Moss said. “There's really not much input I can give for the week. I just said, have your head on a swivel and be ready for anything because the way they're playing, coming off a Monday night game against the so-called best team in the league, in the Houston Texans.

“They put 40-some points up and really embarrassed them, so I don't think we want to be that team that gets embarrassed on national television. So like I said, we come prepared and ready to play a good game.”

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.”