Catching up with Brandon Lloyd

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Catching up with Brandon Lloyd

Wide receiver Brandon Lloyd was an enigma during his three seasons with the 49ers.He was good for an absolutely spectacular catch every game or so, and there was a period after Terrell Owens' exit in which Lloyd was 49ers' best wide receiver.The 49ers selected him in the fourth round of the 2003 draft. But when the new regime came in, Lloyd did not fit into the plans. Lloyd brought a lot of it on himself. He did not get along with some teammates and coaches. And while I can't cite any specific problems he had with the media, he had an uneasy relationship with the beat reporters, too.After Lloyd left the 49ers in a trade after the 2005 season, he signed a big-money deal with the Washington Redskins and then virtually disappeared off the NFL map for four seasons.But over the past two years, Lloyd has turned his career around. In mid-October, the St. Louis Rams acquired Lloyd from the Denver Broncos, a team that has virtually eschewed the passing game with Tim Tebow at quarterback.Lloyd returns to Candlestick Park on Sunday as the Rams' top wideout. In just six games with the Rams, he has 31 catches for 396 yards and four touchdowns.RELATED: NFL leading receivers
"He's been terrific," Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "I love the kid as a person -- tremendous character. He's been a shot in the arm for us, energy-wise, as far as stretching the field and some plays he can make. He's been in the league a long time. His experience has helped with the young receiving corps we have."
Lloyd carved 20 minutes out of week to take part in a conference call with a couple members of the Bay Area media that covered him back in the day. Lloyd was one of the better conference call subjects in recent memory. Here were some of the highlights of the call:--Lloyd's concentration was broken several times as teammates -- prominent teammates, he said -- had their, uh, bare backsides pressed up against a window in front of him while he was on the phone at Rams Park.--Was he surprised the 49ers traded him after the 2005 season?"I don't think so. I think it was a new regime. They were looking to go in a different direction. And I was at the point in my career where I needed to get the big contract. It happens to every player, where you have to make the decision to either stick around with the team, and that's a two-way relationship, too. The team has to want to player, and the player has to want to be with the team. Or you go for the money, and that's what I was choosing to do."The Redskins acquired Lloyd from the 49ers for third- and fourth-round draft picks. Then, the Redskins signed Lloyd to a lucrative deal that included a 10 million signing bonus.--On his rocky relationship with the San Francisco media: "You got to understand, when you guys were dealing with me in San Francisco, I was 23 years old. And was trying to carve my path and my career, and build my career and give it a foundation. And it's tough as a 23-year-old person when you're giving all your heart and putting everything into your career and you're getting criticized by people who have no idea, really, how to do this. It's a lot to take. And it's compounded by your teammates who you respect and you hope respect you, and I felt like I got dog-piled on out there. My natural reaction was to try to defend myself with words. And it wasn't the right way to go about it."--Lloyd took a bad rap early in his NFL career for also pursuing a music career. A common perception -- misperception, Lloyd says -- was that he was more interested in hip-hop than on football."I don't think it was ever a real distraction," he said. "It was something that people would always bring up because I wasn't performing as well as they thought I should be, so they tried to come up with that as the excuse for the reason why," Lloyd said.His rap career is going strong. He has a track, "Chamber," on the House of the Rising Sun soundtrack. His music has also been featured on Spike TV's "Blue Mountain State."--After leaving the 49ers, Lloyd faded into wide receiver obscurity. From 2007 to '09, he caught 36 passes in 21 games. Last year, he reemerged with the Denver Broncos to lead the NFL with 1,448 receiving yards with 11 touchdowns on 77 receptions."I think it's a story of perseverance," Lloyd said. "I never had the attitude that it was somebody else's fault. I kept a positive attitude and I kept believing in myself."The one thing that I would say about the road that I've been on was that no one ever said that I couldn't play. It was always other things. And I felt once the other things -- meaning the relationships with teammates and coaches -- and as I mature, I'm able to communicate more efficiently with people, for lack of a better saying . . . and just keep plugging, and I've gotten a lot better as a player. I've improved my skill level. It's coming together just by me being able to hang around long enough and be able to experience playing at a high level with all the knowledge I've gained over nine years."--There was some national speculation that the 49ers might be one of the interested teams when the Denver Broncos made him available for a trade."I thought there was an outside chance, but the chemistry was (good) out there, so I didn't think it was actually going to happen," Lloyd said.--Lloyd was asked about the situation he left in Denver with Tebow taking over as quarterback."This is what I was talking about in the summertime when (Kyle) Orton was on the trading block," Lloyd said. "Hey, trade him now so we can go into the Tebow era. Let's get it over with and see if he's got it. Let's build the offense around him. Let's do that. But don't have a starting quarterback and run an offense and the anticipation for Tim to play be so powerful that it just distracts the team."They did it. They structured the offense around him and they're having success with it. It's good for them. Hopefully, they get the desired result and they make a push and get into the playoffs and it'll work out."--When asked if he was surprised that the Broncos are winning with Tebow, Lloyd answered, "Not at all. That's what I saying back in the summertime. Just gives us something to believe in. All I wanted in the summertime was some clarity. Make it clear who the quarterback is going to be, and then we can buy into it. It doesn't matter what the offense is. It doesn't matter what you do. We're the best athletes in the world at what we do. It doesn't matter what we do, as long as we believe in it and we're all executing it, it'll work. And that's the never-ending quest for every team. Just believe in what we're trying to show you and it'll work. So, no, I'm not surprised at all."--The Rams (2-9) gave up a fifth-round draft pick to acquire Lloyd through the end of the season. He is scheduled for free agency, but he said he would like to return to St. Louis."I say to myself, Sam (Bradford) has a really bright future and I want to give him a good example for maybe one day he's going into the Hall of Fame and he can say, 'Oh, man, we had this one receiver, Brandon Lloyd, and he showed me how a receiver is supposed to look.' And that's my main goal," Lloyd said. "I'm having a blast. I'm playing better than I've ever played football in my life. I'm having the most fun I've ever had playing football. And it's a new role for me being an example. And it feels different knowing that the younger players are watching my every move. It's a new and exciting experience. I like this new role and whatever happens, happens."--On playing the 49ers: "It's just another game to me. The fans and the franchise saw me last year in London. You saw that game, right?"Lloyd had seven catches for 169 yards last season against the 49ers in the Broncos' 24-16 loss.

Kirk Cousins watches Kyle Shanahan's offense carve up Packers

Kirk Cousins watches Kyle Shanahan's offense carve up Packers

Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. His uncertain status has led to speculation presumptive 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan will be interested in acquiring him in the offseason.

On Sunday, Cousins got a first-hand look at his former coach’s offense.

Cousins posted a photo on Instagram from the stands at the Georgia Dome, where the Atlanta Falcons and their high-octane offense blasted the Green Bay Packers, 44-21, in the NFC Championship game.

Cousins wrote the caption, “Watching two of the best in the world do what they do & taking notes to make it to this game next year -score a lot of points!”

Washington finished third in the NFC East and out of the playoffs with an 8-7-1 record.

Shanahan, the Falcons’ offensive coordinator, coached Cousins for the first two seasons of his NFL career with Washington on the staff of his father, Mike Shanahan. Cousins appeared in just eight games with four starts in 2012 and ’13.

Cousins' career has taken off in the past two seasons while starting all 32 regular-season games. He completed 67 percent of his passes this season with 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and a passer rating of 97.2.

Washington placed the franchise tag on Cousins this season at nearly $20 million. He franchise tag is expected to be approximately $24 million in 2017.

If Washington places the non-exclusive franchise tag on Cousins, a team could sign him to an offer sheet at the cost of two first-round draft picks or negotiate a trade with Washington for a lesser amount.

Conflicting reports over Tomsula to Washington

Conflicting reports over Tomsula to Washington

Former 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula reportedly might be back in the NFL after a one-year hiatus.

Tomsula, who spent his first eight NFL seasons as a defensive line coach, could be returning to that job with Washington, Carol Maloney of NBC4 reported on Sunday. But according to the Washington Post, a deal is not done between the two sides.

If the deal were to happen Tomsula would be rejoining Washington defensive coordinator Greg Manusky and general manager Scot McCloughan, both of whom he worked with while members of the 49ers organization.

Tomsula was promoted to the head-coaching job over finalist Adam Gase two years ago after the 49ers' “mututal parting” with coach Jim Harbaugh. Tomsula was fired after the 49ers went 5-11 in 2015. Chip Kelly was hired to replace Tomsula. Kelly was fired after the 49ers went 2-14, including a franchise-worst 13-game losing streak.