Preseason finale looms large for Tolzien, other 'bubble' 49ers

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Preseason finale looms large for Tolzien, other 'bubble' 49ers

The preseason is the NFL lifeline for players like Scott Tolzien. The quarterback has a stellar college resume that includes a Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and a 72.9 completion rate from 12 regular-season starts his senior season. That completion percentage set the single season school record at Wisconsin and led the nation for 2010 as well.But when no team drafted the Illinois native, Tolzien had to build his NFL resume through any game action he could get. He signed a free agent contract with San Diego and played in three preseason games with the Chargers. His third game was a 16-23, 226 yard passing performance in a loss to the 49ers with a 69.6 completion rate despite being sacked five times. Tolzien was already on the 49ers' radar, but after that game, the team picked him up and made the rookie the third quarterback as soon as the Chargers cut him.RELATED: 49ers make cuts to 75-player limit
There was other factors in that decision, just like theres other factors in everybodys decision, head coach Jim Harbaugh said of adding Tolzien to the 53 man roster last season. Body of work thats been built up, the year before, in the offseason, in training camp, in other preseason games.Tolzien has a wisdom beyond his 24-years and made sure he passed his experience onto this years crop of rookies, especially the undrafted free agents. He told A.J. Jenkins, Nathan Palmer, Chris Owusu and some of the linemen to make every moment count Thursday night.This isnt just the last preseason game before the regular season begins, this is big for us, Tolzien said. This is our chance to get a lot of playing time and really show what weve been preparing for.RELATED: Maiocco -- The numbers game: The 49ers most impacted
What these young players need to showcase to clinch a spot on the 49ers, or any NFL teams roster, differs from player to player. Tolzien is looking to relax, get into a rhythm and more than anything look for completions. Palmer wants his body of work to highlight the progress hes made throughout his first NFL training camp.One of the big things that I was labeled as is a guy that cant get separation and a guy thats not willing to block, so thats been one thing that I focused on this whole preseason here, Palmer said. Im a big critic on myself. I definitely think I can play a lot better on film, but Ive learned a lot here and it shows on film.Palmer admitted he was a nervous wreck and didnt sleep much the night before the first cut. But he understands the chances of him remaining with the 49ers past Fridays final cut are slim. Tolzien is more at ease with his situation.Just preparing as if youre the starter, whether its football or not, Tolzien said, just looking back with no regrets at the end of the day.In the NFL, just be sure that at the end of the day its all on film.

Kaepernick's parents defend his anthem protests: 'Very proud of our son'

Kaepernick's parents defend his anthem protests: 'Very proud of our son'

Colin Kaepernick began his silent National Anthem protests in late August.

For almost four months, his parents have remained quiet.

But after reports that Kaepernick did not have the support of his parents, Teresa and Rick Kaepernick reached out to ESPN's The Undefeated on Friday to set the record straight.

"Colin is carrying a heavy load and following a difficult path that he truly believes in. He is putting his entire future and possibly his life on the line for those beliefs. As his parents, it pains us to read articles and tweets saying that his family does not support him; this could not be further from the truth. We want people to know that we are very proud of our son and admire his strength and courage in kneeling for the rights of others," the couple said in a statement to the publication.

Kaepernick's parents also commented on those you have called their son un-American or labeled his protests as anti-Military.

"Colin has chosen to kneel for the national anthem as a protest to the continuing racial inequality in this country. He has explained his reasons for this in multiple interviews, yet it seems some people still do not understand his point. For whatever reason, there are some who want to view this as an anti-military protest or an un-American stance. These views could not be further from the truth, but we know that people will believe what they wish to believe. The recent remarks (attacks) by Admiral Harris supported by the Pentagon are over the top, and we feel the desire to make a public statement in support of our son," The Kaepernicks said in their statement.

They concluded their statement by discussing the reaction the family received due to Kaepernick's protest, including detailing the hate mail that has been sent to them.

"When Colin first 'took a knee', his family was as surprised as anyone. We did not understand why he was doing this and were overwhelmed with the public reaction and hate. Colin not only received terrible racist tweets, but also received letters directly to our home similar to that recently received by [Denver Broncos linebacker] Brandon Marshall. We were truly shocked at the amount of racist hatred out there! Until this had occurred, we had naively believed that the racial atmosphere in this country was far better than it actually is. Prayer and talks with our son gave us a much better understanding of the reason for his protest and how we should view it."

The Undefeated's Martenzie Johnson also spoke to Teresa Kaepernick by phone on Friday and she threw her family's support behind her son.

"I just want to be on the record that we absolutely do support him," she said.

49ers, McDonald agree to five-year extension

49ers, McDonald agree to five-year extension

The 49ers signed tight end Vance McDonald to a five-year contract extension through the 2021 season, the team announced late Friday.

The deal is worth $35 million, including $16 million in guaranteed money, ESPN reported. The actual contract terms and amount of fully guaranteed money is expected to be less than the reported figures.

McDonald ranks third on the 49ers with 24 catches for 391 yards and four touchdowns. He has touchdown receptions this season of 75 and 65 yards.

"Vance has shown consistent growth throughout his four-year career and his production this season is the result of his dedication and hard work,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. “We believe he has only scratched the surface of what he will be able to accomplish in his career. Vance is a tremendous ambassador for the 49ers, and his passion for helping others provides a wonderful example for this organization. We look forward to his continued contributions to this organization, both on and off the field.”

McDonald is in the final season of his original four-year, $3.99 million contract he signed as a second-round draft pick in 2013.

In McDonald’s three previous seasons, he caught just 40 passes for 475 yards and three touchdowns.

McDonald spoke last week about the greater chances he's gotten to prove himself since the 49ers traded Vernon Davis last season.

“I just always look back at the opportunity when Vernon went to (Denver),” McDonald said. “Just being able to have the trust and the opportunity to start games and play every down.”

Said 49ers coach Chip Kelly, "He’s one of our weapons on the offensive side of the ball and he runs better than most tight ends in this league. So really depends on week to week what people have available at the safety spot to kind of match up with him. But he’s certainly someone that I think people defensively have to game plan for.”