Matt Maiocco

49ers WR Goodwin accepts one-year track suspension, issues statement


49ers WR Goodwin accepts one-year track suspension, issues statement

SANTA CLARA – The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced Tuesday 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, a member of the 2012 Olympic Track and Field team, has accepted a one-year suspension for failing to properly file and maintain his whereabouts information.

The 49ers announced Goodwin will not be subject to discipline under the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

“Marquise informed our organization quite some time ago that he has no intentions of competing in track and field and has been entirely focused on his football career for more than a year,” 49ers announced in a statement. “We have been in touch with the League office regarding this matter, and understand that Marquise will not be subject to discipline under the NFL Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances as a result of USADA's decision.”

Goodwin, 26, is a member of the USADA Registered Testing Pool, which consists of athletes subject to certain “whereabouts” requirements in order to be located for out-of-competition testing, according to the USADA. During a span of 12 months, Goodwin had three “whereabouts” failures.

Goodwin’s one-year period of ineligibility began on April 1, 2017, the date of his third failure in a 12-month period.

In 2012, Goodwin won the long jump competition the NCAA championships and at the U.S. Olympic Trials, becoming the first collegian since 1960 to accomplish that feat. He finished 10th at the London Olympics.

He returned to the sport last year to attempt to qualify for the Olympics for a second time. After posting world-best jumps after the football season, his Olympic quest ended at the U.S. Trials with a seventh-place finish while battling a sore hamstring.

In a May interview with NBC Sports Bay Area, Goodwin was noncommittal about whether he will try to return to the Olympics in 2020, when he would be 30 years old.

Goodwin released a statement through the 49ers:

“Never in my life have I failed a test. I have never been opposed to testing and, in fact, have always been compliant with each and every protocol and policy associated with my competitive career in track and field.

More than a year ago, I decided to cease competing in the sport in order to concentrate 100 percent on my NFL career. Therefore, I discontinued all practices associated with competing in track and field, including submitting my ‘Whereabouts’ information.

It appears that because I did not inform USADA of my plans, my name was inadvertently included in their 2017 testing pool.

I greatly appreciate the support of the San Francisco 49ers and the National Football League as I work to clarify this matter.”

49ers brace for key practices with Broncos


49ers brace for key practices with Broncos

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers return to padded work on Wednesday with the team’s best opportunity to evaluate their own players.

The Denver Broncos will arrive in the South Bay for two days of practices with the 49ers. After a fully padded practice on Wednesday, the teams will be in shells on Thursday.

The second exhibition game for both teams will take place Saturday night at Levi’s Stadium.

“Almost throughout the preseason, I see practice as more important (than the games),” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “It’s not just in the scrimmages. You never know what’s going to happen in a game. You never know what the coverages are going to be. You want to see someone, but someone misses a block, so you don’t see that person.

“In practice you can control it a little bit. You can put players in certain situations that allow you to evaluate them.”

Shanahan and Broncos first-year coach Vance Joseph spoke on Sunday to organize the practice schedule for Wednesday. They will likely get together after practice the first day to arrange the format for Thursday’s practice.

The teams will go through a variety of situational drills, including third downs and red zone.

--The 49ers held their second non-padded practice in a row on Tuesday. The practice session was a low-key affair. DeAndre Smelter had the best catch of the day with a leaping grab of a high C.J. Beathard pass over the middle. Safety Vinnie Sunseri intercepted a Matt Barkley throw intended for Victor Bolden.

--Defensive end Aaron Lynch sat out with an ankle sprain. He is listed as day to day.

--Safety Jimmie Ward, who remains on physically unable to perform with a hamstring injury, is close to returning to the active list after undergoing strenuous workouts Sunday and Monday.

“ I feel real good about Jimmie,” Shanahan said. “We were hoping to get him back this week and I feel like we could if we really wanted to. But we’re trying to play it smart with him.”

--Rookie Reuben Foster is the 49ers’ starting weakside linebacker, Shanahan said. But he also left plenty of wiggle room.

“He started last game and he’s been starting out in these practices and getting most of the reps,” Shanahan said. “He could get beaten out at any time. If (a backup) starts performing at a higher level than him, that would be the case.”

--Veteran wide receiver Louis Murphy had a good connection with Barkley going. Murphy and Barkley teamed on a 5-yard touchdown in a red-zone drill. Murphy then caught three passes within a five-plan span at the end of practice.

Charlottesville uprising hits close to home for 49ers LB Harold


Charlottesville uprising hits close to home for 49ers LB Harold

SANTA CLARA -- A year ago, 49ers linebacker Eli Harold decided to ride along and support Colin Kaepernick in his protest aimed at bringing attention to inequality and police brutality toward minorities.

First, Kaepernick protested silently alone. Eric Reid joined Kaepernick in the final week of the exhibition season after Kaepernick was asked to explain his views, creating the initial uproar.

Then, Harold was right there, kneeling with both men during the national anthems for the entire 16-game regular season.

Harold, 23, and Reid will not continue the protest this season on the 49ers sideline without Kaepernick, who is still unsigned after parting ways with the organization in March. Harold remains in contact with Kaepernick. He looks back on 2016 and said he believes the protest was a success because it opened a national dialogue.

“Of course, that’s exactly what the motive was, to get the conversation going and have people talk about an issue that was broad and bigger than ourselves,” Harold told NBC Sports Bay Area on Monday. “We accomplished that.”

Although Harold is now focused on retaining his job with the 49ers as he enters his third NFL season, the societal issues about which he protested last season are never too far out of his mind.

The subject hit especially close to home over the weekend when Harold watched the unrest in Charlottesville, where he attended the University of Virginia, played football and majored in African American studies.

Groups described in media reports as neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan and white nationalists converged on Charlottesville to protest the removal of a statue honoring Robert E. Lee, a Confederate general in the Civil War who led battle against the U.S. government of Abraham Lincoln in the Civil War.

“I was shocked,” Harold said. “My three years there, I never experienced anything like that. But seeing that on TV, it was horrific.

“It upset me. I had people coming up to me saying, ‘What’s happening in Charlottesville? I can’t believe you went to that school.’ I don’t understand it. But people from Charlottesville were like, ‘It’s not us. It’s people that came from outside the area.’ ”

One protester from Ohio allegedly drove a car into counter-protesters, killing a 32-year-old woman from Charlottesville. He faces numerous charges, including second-degree murder.

“I just don’t understand why the world is still this way,” Harold said. “It’s 2017. You’d think those days are over. It’s the world we live in. Not everyone is good.”

Harold has taken a lot of criticism in the past year. He deactivated his Facebook account to shield himself from the online hate, he said.

“You try not to let it affect you, but when people are constantly saying things, it’s in your consciousness,” Harold said.

But the blowback he received is only a fraction of what Kaepernick went through last season and continues to experience.

“I did this because of Kap,” Harold said. “If Kap had never done this, I would’ve never done it. I thought that was the most courageous thing I’ve seen anybody do in my lifetime. I commend Kap.”

At 29, in what should be the peak of Kaepernick’s career, there are serious questions whether he will ever again play the sport at its highest level.

Kaepernick has generated little interest as a free agent– even after a season during which he rushed for 468 yards, threw 16 touchdowns, four interceptions and compiled a passer rating of 90.7 in 11 starts.

Harold also believes the fact Kaepernick is not among the 115 quarterbacks in an NFL training camp also proves the point he was trying to make all along about the state of race relations in the United States.

“They’d rather sign a guy who’s never played in the NFL, coming from the Canadian league, than sign Colin,” Harold said. “Are you serious? You have people killing, but you get upset about a guy who takes a knee and protests silently? You mean you won’t sign him up because of what you think the fans will say about it?

“It doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m not trying to call the people racist. But at the end of the day, if he’s still unemployed because of the protest, how can I not call you racist or prejudice?

“There are 32 teams. Each team has, what, three or four quarterbacks? You’re telling me there are that many guys better than Colin Kaepernick? It makes no sense.”