49ers

Cal hires former CU coach Ambrose as DB coach

Cal hires former CU coach Ambrose as DB coach

Jan. 4, 2011

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(BERKELEY) Ashley Ambrose has been named the defensive backs coach at Cal, head coach Jeff Tedford announced Tuesday. The 13-year NFL veteran and 1996 AFC Defensive Back of the Year has spent the last three seasons on the Colorado football staff, including the 2010 campaign as the defensive backs coach after serving as the receivers coach in 2009 and as a defensive technical intern in 2008.Ashley is a bright young and upcoming coach with a tremendous amount of football experience that were excited is joining the Cal football program, said Tedford. I strongly believe he will effectively communicate the knowledge he has gained both as a player at the highest level, and now at the beginning of a promising coaching career, to our players and his colleagues on our staff.Im excited about the opportunity to work with Jeff Tedford and his staff, said Ambrose. Hes a proven coach with a winning program and a great staff that knows how to recruit and coach. Im going to focus on discipline and doing everything I can to help our student-athletes graduate from school, experience success on the football field at Cal, and teach them what it takes to be able to have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams of playing at the next level.During his lone season working with the Buffaloes defensive backs in 2010, he coached senior Jimmy Smith to first-team All-Big 12 honors as the senior cornerback recorded a career-high 70 tackles, including a team-best 52 solo stops. Smith, who also co-led the team with five pass breakups, improved his status the year before Ambrose coached him from an honorable mention All-Big 12 choice and a 2010 third-team All-Big 12 preseason selection according to Athlon Sports and Phil Steele. Smith was the only Colorado defensive player named to the All-Big 12 first or second team. Another 2010 Ambrose pupil, senior cornerback Jalil Brown, was an honorable mention selection for the second consecutive season.Ambrose brought a wealth of professional football experience to a coaching career that began in 2006 as an intern coach with the Atlanta Falcons. After being selected by Indianapolis in the second round (29th pick overall) of the 1992 NFL Draft, he went on to play 13 seasons in the league, four with the Colts (1992-95), three with Cincinnati (1996-98), three with New Orleans (1999, 2003-04) and three with Atlanta (2000-02). He earned All-Pro honors with the Bengals in 1996, when he was also the AFC Defensive Back of the Year. During his career, he had 42 interceptions, returning three for touchdowns, and also posted 178 pass deflections to go with 514 tackles (464 solo).After 192 games and 141 starts, he retired from professional football following the 2004 season.Ambrose earned his bachelors degree in Industrial Technology in 1992 from Mississippi Valley State, where he lettered four years at cornerback. He had 17 interceptions, 40 pass deflections and 110 tackles, as well as seven kick returns for touchdowns (four punt, three kickoff) during his college playing career.He has long been active in community service, as he developed the "Ashley Ambrose All-A's Club" that rewarded high school football players who excelled academically. He also participated in VH-1's Save the Music program and in the NFL United Way Hometown Huddle campaign among the many things he did as a professional, which included donating hundreds of tickets to scholar-athletes.A native of New Orleans, Ambrose graduated from Alcee Fortier High School in 1988, where he lettered in football, basketball, and track and field. He is the father of two children, Aisha (12) and A.J. (9).After playing the last 88 seasons and every home game at Memorial Stadium since the facility opened for the 1923 Big Game, Cal will host its 2011 home contests at San Franciscos AT&T Park while Memorial Stadium undergoes an extensive renovation and retrofit. The Bears will return to Memorial Stadium for their 2012 home schedule.Cal opens its 2011 season with a neutral-site non-conference game against Fresno State at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on Saturday, Sept. 3. The contest is not part of the recently announced 2011 season ticket package for five home games at AT&T Park. Fans will have the opportunity to purchase tickets for Cal vs. Fresno State at a later date.Visit CalFootballSF.com for more information on 2011 Cal football at AT&T Park and stadium.berkeley.edu for updates on the progress of the renovation and retrofit of Memorial Stadium.Courtesy of Cal media services.

Large group of Colin Kaepernick supporters demonstrate outside NFL offices

Large group of Colin Kaepernick supporters demonstrate outside NFL offices

NEW YORK -- Supporters of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who refused to stand for the national anthem to protest police brutality against blacks, showed their solidarity with him and his cause at a rally outside the headquarters of the National Football League on Wednesday.

More than 1,000 people, many wearing jerseys bearing Kaepernick's name, crowded the steps outside the NFL's midtown Manhattan offices.

Kaepernick, who once took the 49ers to the Super Bowl, opted out of his contract with the team in March and remains unsigned. Supporters say he is being blackballed for his advocacy, but some critics say he should not have sat or kneeled during the anthem or contend his lack of a job is more about his on-field talent.

Chants at the demonstration included "Boycott! Boycott!" Women's March organizer Tamika Mallory, addressing football fans, said, "I don't care how long you've been watching football, if they don't stand up for your children, turn the damn TV off."

Political commentator Symone Sanders said, "We are all standing with Kaepernick. It is time for the NFL to put up or shut up."

Earlier Wednesday, the NAACP called for a meeting with the NFL to discuss the fate of Kaepernick, who was born to a white woman and a black man but was adopted by a white couple. The civil rights organization's interim president, Derrick Johnson, said in a letter to the NFL's commissioner, Roger Goodell, that it's apparently "no sheer coincidence" that Kaepernick isn't on a roster.

"No player should be victimized and discriminated against because of his exercise of free speech - to do so is in violation of his rights under the Constitution and the NFL's own regulations," Johnson said.

The NAACP's state president in New York, Hazel Dukes, said: "Right now, the action of the league seems to imply to young black men that this league, which is comprised of 70 percent African-Americans, only values black lives if they are wearing a football uniform."

Goodell has said the league isn't blackballing Kaepernick.

Some other players followed Kaepernick's actions last season, and some are doing so in this year's pre-season. On Monday, a group of Cleveland Browns players prayed in silent protest during the national anthem. Among those kneeling was a white player, Seth DeValve. Another white player, Britton Colquitt, did not kneel but kept his hand on the shoulder of a teammate who did.

That protest earned the ire of an Ohio Supreme Court justice, the lone Democrat holding an Ohio statewide office. Justice Bill O'Neill wrote on Facebook that he wouldn't attend any games at which "draft dodging millionaire athletes disrespect the veterans who earned them the right to be on that field."

"Shame on you all," he said.

The young A's player that could be biggest beneficiary of Rajai Davis trade

The young A's player that could be biggest beneficiary of Rajai Davis trade

The A's traded veteran center fielder Rajai Davis to the Red Sox on Wednesday afternoon, clearing yet another veteran from their roster.

In return they receive 18-year-old outfielder Rafael Rincones, a Venezuela native currently playing in the Dominican Summer League.

The move doesn't come as a shock in the grand scheme of things. Davis, 36, is signed only through this season and didn't fit in the plans of Oakland's current youth movement. He did, however, have to clear waivers before this move could happen. And he joins Yonder Alonso as the second veteran the A's have shipped off after the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

The move opens up the possibility of Chad Pinder getting some playing time in center field against left-handers, as manager Bob Melvin has said he'd like to get Pinder some starts out there.

With recently promoted Boog Powell playing well in center, there's the chance he could draw some starts against lefties too, so it may not be a straight platoon. Pinder also sees playing time in right field, shortstop and second base.