49ers

Willis apologizes for blasting Millen

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Willis apologizes for blasting Millen

SANTA CLARA -- One day after blasting Super Bowl-winning-linebacker-turned-analyst Matt Millen, 49ers All-Pro Bowl Patrick Willis apologized."A lot of times I don't just come off and have a lot to say about anything anybody has to say," Willis said Tuesday. "It was kind of emotional, especially coming off that game. I probably said some things I probably wouldn't ordinarily say. So apologize for those things. I have all the respect in the world for those guys who've played this game before me and played at a high level."On Monday, Millen told 95.7 The Game that in reviewing the film of the 49ers' 26-3 loss to the New York Giants he had never seen Willis and NaVorro Bowman play worse together.Willis, appearing on 95.7 a little later, heard what Millen said and did not hold back."Whoever this Matt Millen guy is, I'd like to ask him if he could do what we do every day and do what we do for 16 games a year and see if he can hold up every game," Willis said. "I doubt he would. I doubt he would be able to consistently play at a high level as Bowman and I do. I really don't care about what this guy has to say."Millen played 12 NFL seasons at inside linebacker with the Raiders, 49ers and Redskins. He made the Pro Bowl once during his career, and played on three Super Bowl-winning teams.
After watching the film, Willis said he does not believe the 49ers' defense played poorly until the end of Sunday's game."You go back and watch it, and it's not as bad as people say it was," Willis said. "It kind of got bad at the end of the last drive. But you just have to finish, no matter what."But, again, my thoughts are, you when you go out and make the same mistakes when you win, nobody says anything. It's water under the bridge and they're patting you on the back. But as soon as you lose, they find every little critical thing to criticize you over."The 49ers allowed just 61 yards rushing on 19 carries through three quarters. The Giants finished with 16 rushes for 91 yards in the fourth quarter alone before Eli Manning finished the game with two kneeldowns.Said 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, "We got to take on our blocks better. We have to play more physical in the front seven, get off blocks better and tackle better. In the fourth quarter last week, we didn't get that done."It was sup-par for all of us in that fourth quarter, in particular. We didn't play the run well."

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.