No need to label 49ers WR Jenkins at this point

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No need to label 49ers WR Jenkins at this point

SANTA CLARA -- Jim Harbaugh had something he wanted to say.On a day the 49ers coach was not scheduled to speak to the media, Harbaugh took the podium Sunday to deliver an impassioned defense of A.J. Jenkins and show his support for the rookie wide receiver.Harbaugh did not say what he might have read or what he might have heard to prompt his words. He specified "scribes, pundits, so-called experts" as the target of his rant.I'm not sure, exactly, who has written or said the kinds of comments to which Harbaugh alluded. But I do know there is a general perception that Jenkins has been lackluster since arriving in Santa Clara to begin working with his teammates. It seems every question I get from fans about Jenkins mentions his perceived struggles.The media did not see every practice during the offseason program. During organized team activities, we were allowed to watch one practice a week. The mandatory minicamp was open for three days. But we saw just one practice during the first rookie minicamp, and we saw no practices during the final rookie minicamp. Clearly, it was difficult to draw any conclusion from such a small sample size.What did I see from Jenkins?I saw a guy who was clearly winded during his first practice after the 49ers selected him with the No. 30 overall pick. I saw him drop a few passes that day. After that first practice, I never saw that his conditioning or strength was an issue.On the final day of the mandatory minicamp, I saw Jenkins make the best catch I saw from any receiver during the offseason program. In between his first practice and his last, I saw a receiver who did not stand out -- one way or the other.And that's basically what I've seen through three training camp practices, too. He had an active day on Saturday. On Sunday, in a one-on-one drill, he made an outstanding grab of a back-shoulder throw against tight coverage from Perrish Cox, as he showed the strength and concentration to come up with the ball with Cox all over him. A short time later, he dropped a pass.I've seen every receiver -- with the possible exception of Michael Crabtree -- drop multiple passes during the course of the offseason program and first three days of minicamp. So Jenkins' showing has not been unique.I don't know if Harbaugh will be proven correctly, that Jenkins is "going to be an outstanding football player." I believe that we won't know for at least two seasons.Jenkins' attitude -- and what I've seen from his work ethic -- leads me to believe that he has a chance to be a good NFL player. But I'd be very surprised if he makes any impact as a rookie.I can't see that Jenkins is going to be one the three best receivers on the team this season as long as Crabtree, Randy Moss and Mario Manningham are around. The fourth receiver is not going to get much action. And unless there is an injury or two, I do not expect Jenkins to be one of the 46 active players on regular-season game days.Does that mean I think Jenkins is going to be a bust? Of course not.Jenkins said he is patient. He'll need to demonstrate that virtue because his opportunity to get onto the field and make a contribution might not come until next season or beyond.That will not dissuade people from jumping to conclusions. Some might predict Jenkins is going to be a disappointment. Some might predict he is going to be outstanding. Let's realize, he has gone through one practice in pads.Heck, his first exhibition game is Aug. 10, for crying out loud.
If Jenkins is going to be patient, so should everybody else. And that includes Harbaugh.

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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