Vance McDonald makes push to be part of 49ers' future

Vance McDonald makes push to be part of 49ers' future

ORLANDO, Fla. – It has taken tight end Vance McDonald a while, but he has become a legitimate threat in the 49ers’ passing game.

McDonald, a second-round draft pick in 2013, recorded just 10 receptions in his first two seasons. He started to see more action last season after the 49ers dealt Vernon Davis to the Denver Broncos at the trade deadline. He has started 20 games the past two seasons, including all nine games in which he has appeared this year.

“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.”

Through three seasons, McDonald had not produced and given few indications that he warranted a contract extension. But as a player who is scheduled for unrestricted free agency in the offseason, McDonald is making a convincing argument to become a priority for the 49ers to re-sign.

McDonald ranks third on the 49ers with 22 receptions and second behind Jeremy Kerley with 382 receiving yards. McDonald has a team-leading four touchdown catches, including scoring plays of 75 and 65 yards.

“He’s one of our weapons on the offensive side of the ball and he runs better than most tight ends in this league,” 49ers coach Chip Kelly said. “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.”

Even the 49ers’ designated deep threat, wide receiver Torrey Smith, has not been able to shake free for as many big gains as McDonald, who is listed at 267 pounds.

“Vance has done a great job,” Smith said. “I’m very happy for him, especially knowing how hard he’s been fighting over the years. He’s finally getting a chance to show what he can do. And he’s done a great job. He’s very fast. That’s what helps him out a lot. It’s not often you can get a tight end and take it to the house, running past everyone.”

McDonald said he believes Kelly’s system allows him a greater opportunity to be part of the team’s passing attack.

“It provides the tight end an opportunity to be a big playmaker,” McDonald said. “I’ve welcomed that idea and embraced that role this year. It’s been a lot of fun.

“As an offense, I like looking at a bigger picture, and we have to be more consistent. I can help with that and I’m trying my best.”


Injury report: 49ers' WR Patton returns to limited practice


Injury report: 49ers' WR Patton returns to limited practice

ORLANDO, Fla. – Wide receiver Quinton Patton returned to limited practice, as he continues to be on pace to be cleared to play Sunday in the 49ers’ game against the Chicago Bears.

Patton wore a blue jersey, signifying he is off-limits for physical contact, during practice on Thursday at the University of Central Florida. Patton has returned to non-contact football activity. The next step for Patton to be cleared is to take part in full football activity, including contact.

Patton is the 49ers’ second-leading receiver with 31 catches for 374 yards. Veteran Rod Streater entered Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins when Patton was injured. Streater caught four passes for 46 yards.

Regardless of Patton’s condition, 49ers coach Chip Kelly said Streater has earned more playing time.

“Yeah, he should,” Kelly said. “I think with Streat, all this is a meritocracy and he merits playing time. I thought what he did was really valuable for us, especially late in that fourth quarter there he made some really big plays for us.

“It’s about trying to get the ball in playmaker’s hands and those guys did a really good job.”

WR Quinton Patton (concussion)
DL Ronald Blair (hamstring)
DT Quinton Dial (knee, neck)
DT Glenn Dorsey (knee)
LB Eli Harold (toe)
LB Aaron Lynch (ankle)
Full participation
C Daniel Kilgore (hamstring, calf)
G Zane Beadles (ankle, knee)
CB Rashard Robinson (knee)
WR Torrey Smith (shoulder)

Did not practice
S Adrian Amos (foot)
QB Jay Cutler (right shoulder)
WR Eddie Royal (toe)
LB Leonard Floyd (concussion)
CB Deiondre' Hall (ankle)
CB Tracy Porter (knee)
G Josh Sitton (ankle)
DE Mitch Unrein (back)

Colin Kaepernick explains why he put his San Jose house up for sale

Colin Kaepernick explains why he put his San Jose house up for sale

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who can opt out of his 49ers contract after this season, has put his Bay Area house on the market, he confirmed Thursday through a team spokesman.

Kaepernick made an “investment decision” to list his house in San Jose at a reported $2.895 million, he said through the team. The two-story, 4,600-square-foot house, has four bedrooms and 5.5 bathrooms.

Kaepernick has sidestepped questions about his possible return to the 49ers next season. But a week ago, Kaepernick spoke about building on the final games of the regular season to create momentum for the 2017 season.

“We still have an opportunity to win games,” Kaepernick said. “That’s what we have to stay focused on and take it one week at a time. There is that feeling out there that we’re not going to be in the playoffs. But we still have an opportunity to do some good things and build on for next year.”

[RELATED: Colin Kaepernick selling Bay Area home]

On Tuesday, Kaepernick said all of his attention is on preparing for the Chicago Bears. The 49ers enter Sunday’s game on a franchise-worst 10-game losing streak.

“I’m focused on Chicago this week,” Kaepernick said. “I’m not thinking that far down the road. But, that’s very true as far as quarterbacks being in a system that they’re familiar with, they’re familiar with the coach, why they’re calling plays, they’re on the same page so when you step on that field you know exactly why your coach is calling that play, what his intent is and what you’re trying to get done.”

Kaepernick has played some of the best football of his career in recent weeks, including a game against the third-ranked Miami Dolphins defense in which he threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 113 yards in a 31-24 loss.

Kaepernick is scheduled to make $14.9 million in salary and bonuses next season. He can opt out of the deal to become an unrestricted free agent, and the 49ers also can release him before April 1 to avoid being on the hook for his scheduled salary.