Moss a mystery as he returns to Lambeau

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Moss a mystery as he returns to Lambeau

SANTA CLARA -- Wide receiver Randy Moss has scored more receiving touchdowns -- 13 in the regular season and two more in the playoffs -- against the Green Bay Packers than anyone in the history of the NFL.While with the Minnesota Vikings for the first seven seasons of his career, Moss played against the Packers twice every season.He knew the Packers. And the Packers knew him.When Moss, 35, returns to Lambeau Field on Sunday as a starting 49ers receiver, there will be an element of mystery. After all, Moss has played against the Packers only once in the past seven seasons. Moreover, there's not much recent tape for Green Bay to study on him. He did not see a lot of action in the exhibition season after sitting out all of 2011.Moss and fellow 49ers newcomer Mario Manningham, the presumptive third receiver, give the 49ers' passing game a new look that will be unveiled Sunday against the Packers."It definitely gives them a different dimension, no doubt about it," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said in a conference call Wednesday with Bay Area reporters. "We had the whole offseason to study film, and they've added a lot to their perimeter. Their vertical passing game has improved a lot just getting off the bus."It's a dynamic perimeter."Moss suggested Wednesday that it remains a work in progress, as he and quarterback Alex Smith continue to build a rapport.Moss played just 30 snaps in the first three exhibition games. He caught two passes from Smith for 18 yards against the Houston Texans in the second exhibition game. In the third game, Smith overthrew a triple-covered Moss on a deep route against the Denver Broncos -- perhaps to show the Packers that Smith will not be bashful about targeting Moss on deep routes. Moss sat out the final tuneup.When asked Wednesday if he feels he has developed good chemistry with Smith, Moss answered, "Well, I don't think any receiver really feels like they're where they want to be going into the season. The only thing I can really hang my hat on is we put enough work in to go into Week 1. That's all I can really say."RELATED: Randy Moss career stats News
Moss has been a stalwart on the practice field since signing a one-year, 1.75 million contract with the 49ers after sitting out last season. Moss can earn an additional 2.25 million through incentives. He did not miss a day of training camp, so the 49ers believe they know exactly what Moss can do."He's good," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "He's darn good. We feel great about him.""I think we've seen it out here on the practice field -- no doubt in my mind," Alex Smith said. "It's a matter of all of us taking it to the game field. The great thing, as an offense, you continue to remain multiple, balanced, and do a lot of different things. It create a lot of problems for (defenses) and they don't know where it's coming from. And Randy's a piece of that."Smith said the element of the unknown is something that can work in the 49ers' favor."A guy like Randy and the unique tool set that he has creates a lot of problems," Smith said. "He gives them a lot to think about, a guy who has big-play potential."In the past, Moss has flashed plenty of his big-play potential against the Packers, averaging 90.9 yards receiving per game in those head-to-head matchups. With 57 receiving yards Sunday, Moss would surpass Elroy Hirsch for most career receiving yards against Green Bay.Moss' two most-memorable games against the Packers were his first and last at Lambeau Field while with the Vikings. As a rookie in 1998, Moss enjoyed his breakout game with a five-catch, 190-yard, two-touchdown performance. In the 2004 playoffs, he caught two touchdown passes and famously pretended to "moon" the Lambeau crowd.On Wednesday when Moss met with several members of the Bay Area media after practice, he referenced that episode."I've had success on that field -- won and lost," Moss said. "And I just don't like people bringing up the old stuff. I tried to have fun with the fans -- tried to have fun. But at the same time, I want to go out here and compete. I think it's a good thing that my comeback -- or whatever you want to consider it . . . Lambeau's a nice place to start it."Manningham will also be starting his 49ers career after playing his first four NFL seasons with the New York Giants. There was never much doubt that Moss would team with Michael Crabtree to be the 49ers' starting receivers. Manningham returned to full practice Wednesday after leaving the club two weeks ago to attend the funeral of his grandfather in Ohio."Mario was back here on the off-days and getting re-acclimated and familiar with everything," Harbaugh said. "Again, (it's an) important week of preparation and we'll feel good day-by-day. We'll feel good as we do the work and get the confidence that will make us competitive."The 49ers signed Manningham to a two-year, 7.5 million contract in the offseason after catching 39 passes for 523 yards and four touchdowns for the Super Bowl-winning New York Giants."I can't wait," Manningham said. "I'm excited to go out and play on a new team and show what I got and see how we are as a team."

Kaepernick's parents defend his anthem protests: 'Very proud of our son'

Kaepernick's parents defend his anthem protests: 'Very proud of our son'

Colin Kaepernick began his silent National Anthem protests in late August.

For almost four months, his parents have remained quiet.

But after reports that Kaepernick did not have the support of his parents, Teresa and Rick Kaepernick reached out to ESPN's The Undefeated on Friday to set the record straight.

"Colin is carrying a heavy load and following a difficult path that he truly believes in. He is putting his entire future and possibly his life on the line for those beliefs. As his parents, it pains us to read articles and tweets saying that his family does not support him; this could not be further from the truth. We want people to know that we are very proud of our son and admire his strength and courage in kneeling for the rights of others," the couple said in a statement to the publication.

Kaepernick's parents also commented on those you have called their son un-American or labeled his protests as anti-Military.

"Colin has chosen to kneel for the national anthem as a protest to the continuing racial inequality in this country. He has explained his reasons for this in multiple interviews, yet it seems some people still do not understand his point. For whatever reason, there are some who want to view this as an anti-military protest or an un-American stance. These views could not be further from the truth, but we know that people will believe what they wish to believe. The recent remarks (attacks) by Admiral Harris supported by the Pentagon are over the top, and we feel the desire to make a public statement in support of our son," The Kaepernicks said in their statement.

They concluded their statement by discussing the reaction the family received due to Kaepernick's protest, including detailing the hate mail that has been sent to them.

"When Colin first 'took a knee', his family was as surprised as anyone. We did not understand why he was doing this and were overwhelmed with the public reaction and hate. Colin not only received terrible racist tweets, but also received letters directly to our home similar to that recently received by [Denver Broncos linebacker] Brandon Marshall. We were truly shocked at the amount of racist hatred out there! Until this had occurred, we had naively believed that the racial atmosphere in this country was far better than it actually is. Prayer and talks with our son gave us a much better understanding of the reason for his protest and how we should view it."

The Undefeated's Martenzie Johnson also spoke to Teresa Kaepernick by phone on Friday and she threw her family's support behind her son.

"I just want to be on the record that we absolutely do support him," she said.

49ers, McDonald agree to five-year extension

49ers, McDonald agree to five-year extension

The 49ers signed tight end Vance McDonald to a five-year contract extension through the 2021 season, the team announced late Friday.

The deal is worth $35 million, including $16 million in guaranteed money, ESPN reported. The actual contract terms and amount of fully guaranteed money is expected to be less than the reported figures.

McDonald ranks third on the 49ers with 24 catches for 391 yards and four touchdowns. He has touchdown receptions this season of 75 and 65 yards.

"Vance has shown consistent growth throughout his four-year career and his production this season is the result of his dedication and hard work,” 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. “We believe he has only scratched the surface of what he will be able to accomplish in his career. Vance is a tremendous ambassador for the 49ers, and his passion for helping others provides a wonderful example for this organization. We look forward to his continued contributions to this organization, both on and off the field.”

McDonald is in the final season of his original four-year, $3.99 million contract he signed as a second-round draft pick in 2013.

In McDonald’s three previous seasons, he caught just 40 passes for 475 yards and three touchdowns.

McDonald spoke last week about the greater chances he's gotten to prove himself since the 49ers traded Vernon Davis last season.

“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.”

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