Unlike Raiders, 49ers prepared at backup long snapper


Unlike Raiders, 49ers prepared at backup long snapper

SANTA CLARA -- When Raiders Pro Bowl long snapper Jon Condo was forced to leave Monday night's loss to the Chargers with a concussion, the last person you expected to "wish it never happened" was the man who was granted the opportunity to get on the field in his absence.

But that's exactly what happened after Travis Goethel muffed two snaps to punter Shane Lechler and the Raiders lost their season opener.

Oakland seemed unprepared when Condo went down, and it's a situation the 49ers are never expecting to encounter. To start, their Pro Bowl long snapper Brian Jennings hasn't missed a game since he assumed the role before the 2000 season. And to finish, their backup long snappers -- Dan Kilgore and Larry Grant -- are groomed for their pressure-hiking moment.

Kilgore is the backup long snapper this year, and Grant was listed as the backup last season. Are they prepared for the pressure of snapping the ball to their 6-foot-2 punter with the world watching on fourth-and-distance?

"Always," Kilgore said.

"I'm ready." Grant added.

The 49ers practice the punt every other day. Jennings takes the lion's share of the first-team snaps, but don't think Kilgore doesn't get involved.

"You've got to be ready," Kilgore said. "You've got to work at it throughout the week."

Head coach Jim Harbaugh frequently talks about pursuing perfection through significant time on task. The 49ers coaching staff ensures even the backup long snapper -- often thought of as a throwaway position without a designated roster spot in the NFL -- is not ignored.

"The coaches would never just throw you on the field unprepared," Kilgore said. "There's a lot of reps, a lot of time."

And many of those practice snaps land directly into the hands of punter Andy Lee, unlike in Oakland, where Lechler estimated the number of snaps he takes from Goether every week to be "zero."

After 193 consecutive appearances for Jennings, the 49ers aren't expecting to need either Kilgore or Grant for their long-snapping skills, but they're ready.

McKenzie: Serious talks on Carr extension coming after NFL Draft

McKenzie: Serious talks on Carr extension coming after NFL Draft

PHOENIX – Raiders quarterback Derek Carr will soon enter a contract year. There is zero chance he becomes a free agent.

The Raiders plan to work out a contract extension with their franchise quarterback this offseason, and have budgeted appropriately for what will assuredly be a massive deal.

Both sides want to get a deal done, and general manager Reggie McKenzie said there has been good communication toward that end. This should ramp up, however, later in the spring.

There isn’t a huge rush and Carr isn’t pressing to get a deal done.

“He knows what we’re trying to do in free agency, and he’s never saying, ‘I need to know now. It’s not like that,” McKenzie said. “More likely, the serious talks will happen after the (NFL) draft. The communication has been ongoing, just talking about the philosophy of a contract and the thought process around it. Hopefully when the serious talks start going, then it’s going to be easier.”

Carr is the first of three extensions the Raiders hope to complete with players from McKenzie’s revolutionary 2014 draft class.

Edge rusher Khalil Mack will get a huge deal in time, though the Raiders can exercise a fifth-year option in his contract for the 2018 season. McKenzie also said the Raiders would like to extend right guard Gabe Jackson, a three-year starter who has been a rock on the interior offensive line.

Those three guys won’t be cheap, which is why the Raiders were more conservative in free agency than years past.

“We’re going to try and get our quarterback signed. We want to get Khalil signed , and at the same time we’re trying to sign Gabe,” McKenzie said. “You have to allot some money for those guys. With that being said, we didn’t have the opportunity to go after guys like we did last year, at those numbers.”

Pete Carroll: Marshawn Lynch 'somewhat entertaining' a return to NFL


Pete Carroll: Marshawn Lynch 'somewhat entertaining' a return to NFL

PHOENIX –Pete Carroll met with Marshawn Lynch roughly 10 days ago. The Seattle Seahawks head coach said his former running back did not say he was coming out of retirement.

Lynch, is however, considering the prospect.

“He’s somewhat entertaining the thought of it,” Carroll said Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings. “I can’t tell you how strongly. You’d have to talk to him about that, and that chance ain’t happening.”

Lynch rarely talks to the press, though he has been visible during his year away from the NFL. He guest-starred on television shows, travelled the world, promoted the heck out of Skittles and did significant charity work in his native Oakland.

Lynch retired after the 2015 season and has repeatedly said he’s happy in retirement. Carroll suggests a comeback has entered Lynch’s head, but that doesn’t mean he’s coming back for sure.

The 30-year old is an enigmatic, unpredictable fellow. If he does return, Lynch reportedly only wants to do so with the Raiders.

The Silver and Black need a powerful running back to join a rotation with Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington, and Lynch is versatile enough to produce in the Raiders’ diverse offensive system.

General manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Jack Del Rio couldn’t comment on Lynch even in retirement, because his rights still belong to the Seahawks. He has two years remaining on a contract he signed before the 2015 season.

Seattle would have a decision to make if Lynch is reinstated. The bruising back would count $9 million against the Seahawks’ salary cap, a number that doesn’t fit into their budget.

They could release him or seek a trade, though Carroll didn’t state the Seahawks plans should Lynch decide to come back.

“I don’t know,” Carroll said. “We’ll talk about that if the time comes.”

The Raiders won’t give up draft picks to get him. Sources says the Silver and Black would strongly consider bringing him to Alameda if he were a free agent, though Lynch would have to work within the Raiders budget as well.

Carroll said Lynch would have to be motivated in a return to play his intense brand of football.

“It depends on how he has approached this offseason,” Carroll said. “The mentality of what it takes to play this game the way that he plays it, he really has to be invested and ready. He goes deep when he plays. Whether or not the burn is still inside him, I couldn’t tell that. I know he was kind of playing with the idea.”