South Florida strength coach critical of 49ers draft pick

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South Florida strength coach critical of 49ers draft pick

The 49ers’ selection of South Florida outside linebacker Aaron Lynch in the fifth round of the draft on Saturday did not come without a lot of careful consideration – and a little controversy.

The harshest critic was South Florida head strength and conditioning coach Hans Straub, who expressed his feelings on Twitter (@CoachStraubUSF).

[RELATED: 49ers draft South Florida DE Aaron Lynch with 150th overall]

"Thought an organization with 5 Super Bowl titles would have a stricter draft criteria. Clearly, integrity & character are not a priority," Straub wrote.

The post has since been deleted, and Straub has been placed on indefinite leave, according to NFLDraftScout.com. Neither Straub nor South Florida officials immediately responded to inquiries from CSNBayArea.com.

Coincidentally, Straub joined South Florida in January 2013 after spending two years as a top assistant sports performance coach at Stanford. Straub was at the University of San Diego from 2000 to ’06, but did not work with Harbaugh’s football program, according to his bio on the South Florida website.

Lynch was considered a first-round talent while bursting onto the scene with Notre Dame in 2011. He transferred to South Florida after his freshman season and was commonly viewed as unmotivated and a character risk.

On Saturday, the 49ers selected Lynch in the fifth round to cushion his fall on the third day of the draft.

“Everybody’s right,” Lynch said. “I am a first-round talent, but I made some mistakes in my past. And I figured that’s what hurt me a little bit. I’m just so excited that the 49ers came around and got me in the fifth round.”

Lynch visited the 49ers recently and said he hit it off with the coaches in Santa Clara. And 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh spoke with South Florida head coach Willie Taggart, who Jim helped recruit to play for his father at Western Kentucky in the mid-1990s. Taggart also coached on Harbaugh’s staff at Stanford.

“As you expect from Willie, (he) told it exactly the way he saw it and believes it,” Harbaugh said. “And (he) believes that this is a good young man. Needs direction. Needs a good structure around him where he’s got guys, men that he would look up to. That he would have a chance to emulate.

“He feels that he’ll thrive in that kind of environment. Said he was extremely good when Willie and his staff got to South Florida and the structure was in place, and practiced every day, and had very good things to say, and had some good tips on what he thought would be in the best interest of the 49ers, and the best interest of Aaron, as well.”

Harbaugh acknowledged it will take a lot of dedication from the 49ers and Lynch to get him on the right track. But with the investment of a fifth-round draft pick, the 49ers decided the investment was worth the risk.

“And it’s never simple as sometimes you make it out to be. It’s not simple. It’s not, not going to be easy,” Harbaugh said. “But we look forward to the challenge. I look forward to the challenge. I look forward to the challenge of coaching, teaching, mentoring.

“(I) had a very nice talk with his (Lynch’s) mother, as well. And I think there’s a real chance to have a partnership there. Me, on this end over here, and our coaching staff and our football players and team, and from her. Aaron is very close to his mother. You can tell they care about each other very much. He’s got a chance to be successful, we felt.”

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.”