49ers

Walker: 'I'm a 49er now and I want to be a 49er'

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Walker: 'I'm a 49er now and I want to be a 49er'

In their 13-6 win over Seattle, the 49ers got away from the WildKaep and instead returned to a more familiar formation for offensive coordinator Greg Roman, the multiple tight end set. Vernon Davis played every offensive snap. Delanie Walker was on the field for 40 snaps or 69 of the offensive plays. Its the most Walkers played in a game this season. He also scored his first touchdown of the season, and his first since he grabbed the game winner at Detroit last October.

In 2006, the 49ers drafted Vernon Davis with the sixth overall pick. They selected Walker in the sixth round, and the two have complemented each other ever since. Davis was supposed to be the target on the 12-yard score against the Seahawks. Instead, he threw a needed block and Walker was the one who was open.

Davis is signed through the 2015 season. Walker will become a free agent at the end of the year. Every week I highlight a player for our weekly program, 49ers Central. I thought this week was as good a time as any to check in with Walker. My questions have been shortened for convenience, but his answers are word for word.

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MINDI -- Against Seattle, what was it about that game plan that fit you so well?
DW -- Im not sure. When we figure something out and it works, we try to run with it. I think the two tight end set was working just fine against them. Actually, it was the heavy package where we go U Will Tukuafu, we keep Bruce Miller in the game also and it was working so we stuck with it.

MINDI -- How has your role evolved? What are you doing this year that you werent last year?
DW -- Im doing the same that I was doing last year. I think Im getting better as a blocker so they tend to use me as the fullback a lot too this year, lead blocking. But Im doing everything I was doing last year just added a few more roles.

MINDI -- When you come into a season do you set goals for yourself? How do you approach a season?

DW -- You always set goals for yourself, individual goals. I set goals to get better every year, become a better blocker, a better receiver. I feel like Ive accomplished those goals right now.

MINDI -- How do you quantify that? What makes you a better blocker? What are you looking for in yourself?
DW -- Just finishing. Not letting my man make the play or getting his hand on it, always showing up on film as having my man controlled and basically just blocking him and not letting him beat me.

MINDI -- I know youre a car aficionado, especially of old American muscle. If you had to describe yourself in car terms what kind of car would you be?

DW -- American muscle most definitely, so Ill be probably a 57 Chevy something that in the 50s that everybody had. It was durable, it always worked and you knew you could count on it.

MINDI -- Youll be a free agent at the end of the season. I know you cant think about that, but how do you approach a season when that is out there?

DW -- I just do me. A lot of people talk about me staying here and get the deal done but Im not really worried about that as we play because we got a long season. Im a 49er now, and I want to be a 49er but we never know whats going to happen so I just try to stay focused on getting my job done job week by week and always showing up to play.

MINDI -- You play on special teams as well. What is your role on special teams? I have to admit I dont know much about it.

DW -- (laughing) Its funny, you know everybody thinks Im on special teams, but Im only on one unit, and I get that a lot, like, Man, you killed on special teams. But Im sorry fans out there, I only play on kick off and my role out there, Im like the hype man really. I just dance and get crazy when Tony Montana comes on and I just try to go down there and bust some heads.

Large group of Colin Kaepernick supporters demonstrate outside NFL offices

Large group of Colin Kaepernick supporters demonstrate outside NFL offices

NEW YORK -- Supporters of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand for the national anthem to protest police brutality against blacks, showed their solidarity with him and his cause at a rally outside the headquarters of the National Football League on Wednesday.

More than 1,000 people, many wearing jerseys bearing Kaepernick's name, crowded the steps outside the NFL's midtown Manhattan offices.

Kaepernick, who once took the 49ers to the Super Bowl, opted out of his contract with the team in March and remains unsigned. Supporters say he is being blackballed for his advocacy, but some critics say he should not have sat or kneeled during the anthem or contend his lack of a job is more about his on-field talent.

Chants at the demonstration included "Boycott! Boycott!" Women's March organizer Tamika Mallory, addressing football fans, said, "I don't care how long you've been watching football, if they don't stand up for your children, turn the damn TV off."

Political commentator Symone Sanders said, "We are all standing with Kaepernick. It is time for the NFL to put up or shut up."

Earlier Wednesday, the NAACP called for a meeting with the NFL to discuss the fate of Kaepernick, who was born to a white woman and a black man but was adopted by a white couple. The civil rights organization's interim president, Derrick Johnson, said in a letter to the NFL's commissioner, Roger Goodell, that it's apparently "no sheer coincidence" that Kaepernick isn't on a roster.

"No player should be victimized and discriminated against because of his exercise of free speech - to do so is in violation of his rights under the Constitution and the NFL's own regulations," Johnson said.

The NAACP's state president in New York, Hazel Dukes, said: "Right now, the action of the league seems to imply to young black men that this league, which is comprised of 70 percent African-Americans, only values black lives if they are wearing a football uniform."

Goodell has said the league isn't blackballing Kaepernick.

Some other players followed Kaepernick's actions last season, and some are doing so in this year's pre-season. On Monday, a group of Cleveland Browns players prayed in silent protest during the national anthem. Among those kneeling was a white player, Seth DeValve. Another white player, Britton Colquitt, did not kneel but kept his hand on the shoulder of a teammate who did.

That protest earned the ire of an Ohio Supreme Court justice, the lone Democrat holding an Ohio statewide office. Justice Bill O'Neill wrote on Facebook that he wouldn't attend any games at which "draft dodging millionaire athletes disrespect the veterans who earned them the right to be on that field."

"Shame on you all," he said.

49ers activate Jimmie Ward

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AP

49ers activate Jimmie Ward

SANTA CLARA -- Safety Jimmie Ward was cleared Wednesday morning to begin practicing with his teammates after missing nearly four weeks of training camp with a hamstring injury.

Ward underwent conditioning tests on Monday and Tuesday to complete the final hurdles before the club activated him off the physically unable to perform list.

Ward sustained a hamstring injury during the conditioning test on the eve of training camp.

Ward was moved to cornerback last season, where he started 10 games.

He finished the season on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. He was the 49ers' primary nickel back in his first two NFL seasons.

Jaquiski Tartt originally took over at free safety at the beginning of camp. But after Tartt missed significant practice time with a ribs injury, undrafted rookie Lorenzo Jerome stepped in.

Jerome started the 49ers’ first two exhibition games at free safety.