Hall of Famer Jerry Rice said Tuesday that he thinks the 49ers should pursue Peyton Manning if the Colts release the superstar QB.
The 49ers legend made the comments to the Contra Costa Times and San Francisco Chronicle while promoting April's TPC Stonebrae Championship golf tournament.
"I think you go for it," Rice said. "A guy of that talent, you've got everything in place. You've got a defense that smacks you in the mouth. You just need a little more out of the offense. That's not knocking what Alex (Smith) did. (Manning) can take you to a whole different level."
NFL free agency begins March 13. Manning missed the 2011 season after undergoing neck surgery. He has four years left on his contract and reports out of Indianapolis is that the Colts and their longtime signalcaller will part ways at a Wednesday news conference.
Rice was careful not to dismiss Alex Smith, who led the 49ers to a 13-3 record and a berth in the NFC Championship.
"If they're going to invest that much money in Alex and they feel he can get the job done, then do it," Rice added. "I know he made significant improvement this year and did what was asked of him. If he can get more weapons around him and knowing he has a coach that has confidence in him, that he doesn't have to look over his shoulder, it might bring the best out of him."
Rice also shared his opinion on 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who has yet to meet the high standards that accompany his status as a first-round draft pick.
I just did not see separation (from defensive backs), Rice told the newspapers. I dont know exactly what he weighs. Maybe he needs to lose 10 or 15 pounds and be more explosive.
The Buffalo Bills have signed two 49ers free agents within the past two days.
After signing wide receiver Rod Streater on Wednesday, the Bills announced the signing of linebacker Gerald Hodges on Thursday.
The 49ers acquired Hodges in a 2015 trade with the Minnesota Vikings for center Nick Easton and a sixth-round draft pick. Hodges started 12 games last season and ranked second on the team with 92 tackles.
Hodges left the 49ers shorthanded for a late-season game against the Atlanta Falcons when he violated team rules. Then-coach Chip Kelly did not disclose the nature of Hodges infraction. Hodges offered no explanation or apology.
The 49ers entered the game against the high-powered Falcons with just two healthy inside linebackers due to Hodges’ deactivation. Starter Nick Bellore sustained an elbow injury on the third play of the game, and the 49ers were forced to use safeties Antoine Bethea and Vinnie Sunseri, and outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks at various points of the game.
The 49ers showed no interest in re-signing Hodges as a free agent.
Streater, a five-year NFL veteran, saw action in all 16 games last season after being acquired in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs in September. He caught 18 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns.
It was Jim Harbaugh's first season as head coach of the 49ers.
The 4-1 49ers were in Detroit and scored 10 points in the final 5:29 to beat the Lions 25-19.
An excited Harbaugh got a little too agressive during his postgame handshake with Lions coach Jim Schwartz. The two had words for each other and had to be separated.
Six years later, Harbaugh took the blame for what happened and said that he and Schwartz have patched things up.
"I went in too hard on that, too aggressive on the handshake. I've since changed that. Not doing that anymore. Can't blame him. I went in too hard. And you respect him for taking exception. We've talked, and we're good. We're back to friends. There is a protocol in a postgame handshake. I've been there as the winner. I've been there as loser. You just, 'Hey, nice game,' then go celebrate. Premature celebration there, in the wrong," Harbaugh said Tuesday on Barstool Sports' Pardon My Take podcast.
Harbaugh sounds like he's learned his lesson from that incident with Schwartz.
"The postgame handshake isn't the place for anything. If you're bitter, than change the I to an E. Don't get bitter, get better. Nothing's really changing at the postgame handshake. Just professionally shake hands and go on your way," Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh moved on from the 49ers to coach the Michigan Wolverines. Schwartz coached the Lions through the 2013 season and currently serves as the defensive coordinator for the Eagles.