Smith applauds Kaepernick's contributions in 34-0 win

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Smith applauds Kaepernick's contributions in 34-0 win

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- There is no quarterback controversy, but the backup made it clear he wants more playing time.And he likely earned that right on Sunday.Colin Kaepernick got his first extensive playing time of his NFL career on Sunday, as the 49ers sprinkled him into the game against the New York Jets. And Kaepernick delivered with the first touchdown in the 49ers' 34-0 victory over the New York Jets."He's doing a great job in the understudy role," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "There was an opportunity to get him in and contribute, and he handled it well."And it's no surprise Kaepernick hopes he gets a chance to handle it more often."I'm hoping they'll use me more and more as the season goes along," Kaepernick said.Kaepernick finished the game with 50 yards rushing, including a 7-yard touchdown, on five rushing attempts. He also attempted a deep pass to Randy Moss, but the throw into triple-coverage was incomplete.He could've had a second touchdown, but he went down at the Jets' 3-yard line with 1:12 remaining at the end of a 30-yard run because he said he didn't want to put his teammates under any more risks than necessary."That's one less kickoff we have to cover," Kaepernick said. "That's one less time we have to go out on defense. We can end the game with no more collisions and no more chances for injury."RELATED: Maiocco's Instant Replay: 49ers 34, Jets 0
He was the first player in NCAA history to throw for at least 2,000 yards passing and rush for at least 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons. The 49ers traded up to select him in the second round of the 2011 draft.Kaepernick gave the 49ers a 7-0 lead when he dashed around the left side for a touchdown early in the second quarter. Kaepernick replaced starting quarterback Alex Smith for the third-and-6 play."It was fun," Smith said of watching Kaepernick play. "It was great. Effective, for sure. That would be an understatement. He's a good player. I'm happy for him. He works extremely hard. He can help this team, so it's fun to see him get out there and have success."When asked about his emotions to be removed from the game for an important early-game play, Smith said, "That's not an issue. I don't care. We scored. We ran it in."The 49ers managed to spread the ball around in the run game like a lot of teams distribute the ball in the passing game.Nine different runners combined for 245 rushing yards for the 49ers. Leading rusher Frank Gore had a rough time finding room to run, though. He had 62 yards and a touchdown on 21 rushing attempts. Backup Kendall Hunter had a good day with 56 yards and a touchdown on eight rushing attempts. Gore also enjoyed seeing all the backups have a substantial hand in the 49ers' success."It was good to see," Gore said. "Kaepernick practices hard and works hard every day. He prepares like a starter, just like Kendall."The 49ers took some shots deep early in the game. Smith's first attempt of the game, targeted toward Michael Crabtree, drew a 14-yard penalty for pass interference on Jets cornerback Kyle Wilson, who got the start in place of injured starter Darrelle Revis.But the 49ers did not have a lot of success throwing the ball. Smith completed just 12 of 21 passes for 143 yards.Where the 49ers' offense was perfect was in holding onto the ball. Kicker David Akers missed field-goal attempts of 55 and 40 yards, but the 49ers made the Jets offense work for everything.And the defense rebounded with a dominating performance, limiting the overmatched Jets (2-2) to just 145 yards of total offense. The 49ers (3-1) also forced four turnovers.Cornerback Carlos Rogers had two fumble recoveries, including an odd play that he turned into a 51-yard touchdown return in the fourth quarter.Jets receiver Santonio Holmes caught a short pass and went down with a non-contact knee injury. When he was down -- and before Rogers touched him -- Holmes tossed the ball into the air. Rogers caught it and took it into the end zone."I was surprised," Rogers said. "I didn't know what was going on. I thought he just fell or slipped. Next thing I know, the ball came out and I tried to score with it."The 49ers held the Jets to a rushing average of 2.6 yards. And New York quarterback Mark Sanchez struggled immensely, completing just 13 of 29 passes for 103 yards. Outside linebacker Aldon Smith recorded two of the 49ers' three sacks."After the last game, some people questioned us," Aldon Smith said. "We know what we are capable of. We are a good defense that plays well together."A year ago, the 49ers practiced in Youngstown, and they rallied for a season-changing victory at the Philadelphia Eagles. A week ago, the 49ers were admittedly flat in losing at the Minnesota Vikings. But they came back strong against the Jets."This week we knew it was going to be a better showing," Rogers said. "After we left Youngstown for the week, we knew what we did last year when we left there. We just wanted to keep it going.""It was a job well-done by the offensive line and, overall, just a great game by our players," Harbaugh said. "'That's more like it!' As they were saying in the locker room. Really, they're the ones who did it. It was a tremendous effort by our players."
Said Alex Smith, "This team was pretty upset after last week with ourselves. Really felt we all had a hand in what went on last Sunday. Had a great week in Youngstown, and obviously the guys came out ready to play. Any time the defense plays like that. It makes it easy on all of us."

Large report finds CTE in 110 of 111 brains from former NFL players

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AP

Large report finds CTE in 110 of 111 brains from former NFL players

CHICAGO -- Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

It's the largest update on chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a debilitating brain disease that can cause a range of symptoms including memory loss.

The report doesn't confirm that the condition is common in all football players; it reflects high occurrence in samples at a Boston brain bank that studies CTE. Many donors or their families contributed because of the players' repeated concussions and troubling symptoms before they died.

"There are many questions that remain unanswered," said lead author Dr. Ann McKee, a Boston University neuroscientist. "How common is this" in the general population and all football players?

"How many years of football is too many?" and "What is the genetic risk? Some players do not have evidence of this disease despite long playing years," she noted.

It's also uncertain if some players' lifestyle habits - alcohol, drugs, steroids, diet - might somehow contribute, McKee said.

Dr. Munro Cullum, a neuropsychologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, emphasized that the report is based on a selective sample of men who were not necessarily representative of all football players. He said problems other than CTE might explain some of their most common symptoms before death - depression, impulsivity and behavior changes. He was not involved in the report.

McKee said research from the brain bank may lead to answers and an understanding of how to detect the disease in life, "while there's still a chance to do something about it." Currently, there's no known treatment.

The strongest scientific evidence says CTE can only be diagnosed by examining brains after death, although some researchers are experimenting with tests performed on the living. Many scientists believe that repeated blows to the head increase risks for developing CTE, leading to progressive loss of normal brain matter and an abnormal buildup of a protein called tau. Combat veterans and athletes in rough contact sports like football and boxing are among those thought to be most at risk.

The new report was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

CTE was diagnosed in 177 former players or nearly 90 percent of brains studied. That includes 110 of 111 brains from former NFL players; 48 of 53 college players; nine of 14 semi-professional players, seven of eight Canadian Football league players and three of 14 high school players. The disease was not found in brains from two younger players.

A panel of neuropathologists made the diagnosis by examining brain tissue, using recent criteria from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, McKee said.

The NFL issued a statement saying these reports are important for advancing science related to head trauma and said the league "will continue to work with a wide range of experts to improve the health of current and former NFL athletes."

After years of denials, the NFL acknowledged a link between head blows and brain disease and agreed in a $1 billion settlement to compensate former players who had accused the league of hiding the risks.

The journal update includes many previously reported cases, including former NFL players Bubba Smith, Ken Stabler, Dave Duerson and Ralph Wenzel.

New ones include retired tight end Frank Wainright, whose 10-year NFL career included stints with the Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints and Baltimore Ravens. Wainright died in April 2016 at age 48 from a heart attack triggered by bleeding in the brain, said his wife, Stacie. She said he had struggled almost eight years with frightening symptoms including confusion, memory loss and behavior changes.

Wainright played before the league adopted stricter safety rules and had many concussions, she said. He feared CTE and was adamant about donating his brain, she said.

"A lot of families are really tragically affected by it - not even mentioning what these men are going through and they're really not sure what is happening to them. It's like a storm that you can't quite get out of," his wife said.

Frank Wycheck, another former NFL tight end, said he worries that concussions during his nine-year career - the last seven with the Tennessee Titans - have left him with CTE and he plans to donate his brain to research.

"Some people have heads made of concrete, and it doesn't really affect some of those guys," he said. "But CTE is real."

"I know I'm suffering through it, and it's been a struggle and I feel for all the guys out there that are going through this," said Wycheck, 45.

In the new report, McKee and colleagues found the most severe disease in former professional players; mild disease was found in all three former high school players diagnosed with the disease. Brain bank researchers previously reported that the earliest known evidence of CTE was found in a high school athlete who played football and other sports who died at age 18. He was not included in the current report.

The average age of death among all players studied was 66. There were 18 suicides among the 177 diagnosed.

Reports: Former 49ers wide receiver to visit Bills

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AP

Reports: Former 49ers wide receiver to visit Bills

Aquan Boldin is looking for a new football home.

And the former 49ers wide receiver is visiting with the Bills on Monday, according to multiple reports.

Boldin started all 16 games with the Lions last season, recording 67 catches for 584 yards and eight touchdowns.

From 2013 to 2015 with the 49ers, he racked up 237 receptions, 3030 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns.

The three-time Pro Bowler will turn 37 years old in October.

Boldin entered the NFL as the 54th overall pick in the 2003 draft.