NFL: Giants did not hit Williams illegally

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NFL: Giants did not hit Williams illegally

The NFL has taken measures in recent seasons to protect players who sustain concussions.However, two New York Giants players -- Jacquian Williams and Devin Thomas -- suggested the team had a coordinated effort to target 49ers wide receiverpunt returner Kyle Williams because they were aware he had a history of concussions.Greg Aiello, the NFL's senior vice president of communications, told CSNBayArea.com on Tuesday that there was nothing suspicious based on what occurred during Sunday's NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park.
"Players are held accountable for their actions on the field," Aiello wrote in an email. "There were no illegal hits to the head or neck area against Kyle Williams on Sunday. There was no conduct by the Giants of any kind that would suggest an effort to injure Kyle Williams in any way."In a follow-up, CSNBayArea.com asked Aiello if the NFL considered the matter closed. After all, the league has placed an emphasis on protecting players with head injuries. And two Giants players admitted they were aware of Williams' concussion history and were intent on sending him out of the game with a head injury."We do not have any further comment on it," Aiello replied.
The 49ers declined comment.Coincidentally, 49ers co-owner John York is the chair of the NFL's newly formed Health and Safety Advisory Committee. New York Giants owner John Mara serves on the committee.Williams sustained a concussion in the 49ers' game Christmas Eve in Seattle, and he was not cleared to take part in the regular-season finale Jan. 1 against the St. Louis Rams.Of course, Williams was the central figure in two game-changing plays as a punt returner in the Giants' 20-17 overtime victory. A fourth-quarter punt glanced off his right knee, allowing the Giants to recover and score a go-ahead touchdown. Then, in overtime, Jacquian Williams stripped him of the ball on a punt return and Thomas recovered. That turnover led to the winning points.Afterward, Thomas told the Newark Star-Ledger that the Giants' special-teams players were well aware of Williams' history of concussions."He's had a lot of concussions," Thomas said. "We were just like, 'We gotta put a hit on that guy.' . . . (Tyler) Sash did a great job hitting him early and he looked kind of dazed when he got up. I feel like that made a difference and he coughed it up."Late in the third quarter, Kyle Williams was hit hard by Sash, who dove at Williams as he was going to the ground at the end of a 9-yard return. Williams was slow to get up. Four other Giants players looked down at him as he was briefly bent over on both knees with his head on the ground. Prince Amukamara excitedly congratulated his teammate, Sash, on the hit.Jacquian Williams said in comments published on the New York Giants' official site, "The thing is, we knew he had four concussions, so that was our biggest thing, was to take him outta the game."

Report: Colts request permission to interview Paton

Report: Colts request permission to interview Paton

George Paton, one of the remaining possibilities for the 49ers’ general manager position, is reportedly on the Indianapolis Colts’ list of candidates to fill their vacancy, too.

The Colts have requested permission to speak with Paton, the assistant general manager of the Minnesota Vikings, Tom Pelissero of USA Today reported on Monday.

Paton is scheduled for a second interview with the 49ers on Friday, along with Atlanta offensive coordinator and San Francisco’s presumptive head coach, in Atlanta.

The Colts also requested permission to interview Seattle co-directors of player personnel Trent Kirchner and Scott Fitterer, USA Today reported. Kirchern and Fitterer also interviewed with the 49ers. Kirchner pulled his name from consideration, while the 49ers informed Fitterer he would not be asked back for a second interview.

The Colts fired general manager Ryan Grigson on Saturday. Owner Jim Irsay said Indianapolis’ vice president of football operations Jimmy Raye III would be a candidate. The 49ers also interviewed Raye, who was informed he would not be included in a second round of interviews.

Arizona vice president of player personnel Terry McDonough is the other known candidate for the 49ers’ general manager position that opened when the firing of Trent Baalke was announced at the conclusion of the team’s 2-14 season.

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.