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Morning Tailgate: Aldon Smith Tries MMA

Posted by Alex Espinoza on March 1, 2013 – 11:20 AM

Aldon Smith may have put together a historic start to his career, but the 23-year-old is pushing himself in a new direction this offseason. Smith, who has set an NFL record with 33.5 sacks through the first two seasons of his career, started training in a local Mixed Martial Arts gym to improve his athleticism.

Comcast Sports Bay Area shared a video of Smith working out with UFC Heavyweight Daniel Cormier. “It’s definitely a good way to stay in physical shape,” Smith said. “In football you use your hands and feet so much, they definitely do it a lot in this sport.

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate features the latest mock draft predictions for the 49ers and more.

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Morning Tailgate: Kaepernick Stays Busy

Posted by Taylor Price on February 28, 2013 – 10:22 AM

It doesn’t seem like Colin Kaepernick is taking time to rest and relax this offseason. It’s not a shocker, either. The San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback appeared at an award show, began working out with teammates at a training facility in Atlanta and recently took part in an event hosted by the first lady, Michelle Obama.

Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign received help this week from Kaepernick, plus Olympic athletes (Dominique Dawes, Gabby Douglas, Allyson Felix) and tennis star Serena Williams among others.

Details of the event, shared by The Washington Post, touched on Mrs. Obama’s quest to help schools become more active in saving physical education programs nation-wide. Kaepernick, an example of physical condition, has proven to be a strong force in the community, not just on the football field.

The 49ers quarterback will also appear on NFL Network on Thursday at 3 p.m. PT to join the network’s “Path to the Draft” show.

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Morning Tailgate: Offseason Work

Posted by Alex Espinoza on February 19, 2013 – 10:40 AM

Oscars? Nope. Grammys? Nope. Colin Kaepernick would rather be in Atlanta, working out with his teammates.

Just days after leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl XLVII, Kaepernick was back at work at CES Performance, his home away from home during the offseason. Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee wrote about Kaepernick’s offseason regimen and how he’s joined by 49ers receivers Ricardo Lockette and Chad Hall.

“Rather than pressing the flesh with Anne Hathaway and Denzel Washington on the red carpet in Hollywood, Kaepernick is busting his tail alongside little-known college players on the green grass at CES Performance, a training facility in Atlanta,” Barrows wrote. “That’s where Kaepernick got ready for the 2011 draft. And it’s where he figured he’d find training partners who are as hungry as him.”

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate spotlights Aldon Smith’s mixed-martial arts offseason training, the upcoming combine and more.

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Morning Tailgate: Feb. 14

Posted by Taylor Price on February 14, 2013 – 10:46 AM

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the 49ers Faithful. Flowers and chocolate, not football headlines, will dominate everyone’s attention on Thursday, but that’s not such a bad thing.

With the San Francisco 49ers in week two of Jim Harbaugh-ordered rest and relaxation following the 2012 season, things will soon pick up in terms of offseason movement. The new league year begins officially on March 12 which means the 49ers will have 12 unrestricted free agents and two restricted free agents from the team’s most recent Super Bowl roster available for 31 other teams.

Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News shared the complete list of pending NFL free agents with San Francisco’s free agents headlined by Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson and versatile tight end Delanie Walker.

If the team is unable to retain its free agents or find replacements through NFL free agency, the 49ers hold 14 draft picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, including four selections in the top 95.

San Francisco will also get a better sense of the potential of the incoming rookie draft class when the NFL Scouting Combine begins on Feb. 23.

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Morning Tailgate: Jan. 31

Posted by Taylor Price on January 31, 2013 – 8:54 AM

Justin Smith’s hard-working ways come into greater focus thanks to a remarkable story from ESPN.com’ Elizabeth Merrill. San Francisco’s four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle doesn’t seek out attention, but this story certainly explains the roots of Smith’s work ethic.

Smith owns the Railwood Golf Club in Holts Summit, Mo., a course that costs $25 to play 18 holes with a cart.

“Just Smith wanted it this way,” Merrill wrote. “He didn’t want to gouge the working man who couldn’t take a Monday off to hit golf balls. Smith would prefer, though, that you didn’t know he’s the owner of this golf course nestled in the rolling hills of Central Missouri.

“His name is not on the voicemail, or the website, and that seems typical. Smith is 6-foot-4 and 285 pounds, and one of the most important players on the San Francisco 49ers’ vaunted defense, but he prefers to remain in the background. When his teammates are getting sacks, it means Smith is doing his job. Smith has a goal. When he’s finished with football, he’d like to be able to go to the grocery store without anyone recognizing him.”

Check out more of the top Super Bowl XLVII headlines after the jump.

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Morning Tailgate: Jan. 30

Posted by Alex Espinoza on January 30, 2013 – 5:35 AM

The 49ers enjoyed the light mood of media day on Tuesday as they were peppered with football and non-football questions by thousands of credentialed media members on the turf of the Superdome. There was a super hero, free tattoo sleeves for the players, 49ers Kaepernicking and more.

Peter Schrager of FOXSports.com offered his take on the best and worst of media day for Super Bowl XLVII.

“This is the new normal at Super Bowl Media Day, an NFL cultural and journalistic melting pot that puts Miss Alabama and Brent Musberger favorite Katherine Webb, in the same room as 84-year-old Hall of Fame journalist Edwin Pope,” Schrager wrote. “It’s no longer about the players’ answers; it’s about the folks asking the players the questions.”

The 49ers would also like to announce that Vernon Davis is holding a charity raffle to win an all expense paid trip to New Orleans for the Super Bowl. The deadline for the drawing is on Thursday (tomorrow).

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate features the top quotes and story lines from the hectic media day scene.

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Morning Tailgate: Jan. 29

Posted by Taylor Price on January 29, 2013 – 5:47 AM

NEW ORLEANS – Good morning, it’s Media Day at Super Bowl XLVII. If the San Francisco 49ers thought they’d been a part of a media swarm before, Tuesday’s annual media day will crush that in comparison.

Thousands of credentialed reporters will get their chance to speak with the 49ers Tuesday morning in the Superdome. It should be quiet the scene compared to Monday’s media session which can be viewed in this 49ers.com photo gallery.

Only a handful of players have spoken to the press so far, but the entire team, plus coaches, will be available. It should make for quite the day, 49ers.com will have it all covered LIVE. That’s right, LIVE.

Visit 49ers.com/live during Media Day at Super Bowl XLVII for unprecedented access to the 49ers.

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Morning Tailgate: Jan. 24

Posted by Taylor Price on January 24, 2013 – 11:23 AM

We’re just getting into the swing of things for Super Bowl XLVII, but after the 49ers held their first workout to prepare for New Orleans, it seems like gameday will be here before we know it.

Spirits were high on an overcast day at 49ers headquarters. The team appeared to be very upbeat about what lies ahead, a Feb. 3 matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.

The matchup is undeniably interesting based on the Harbaugh family dynamic. The passion the football family has is also quite unique. Jack and Jackie Harbaugh, along with daughter Joani Crean, discussed their relationships with Jim and John Harbaugh in a national conference call Thursday morning.

By the end of the call, it was quite evident how special the Harbaugh family is and how much they mean to each other. For Jackie and Joani, Super Bowl XLVII is a truly proud moment for the family.

More Super Bowl headlines can be found after the jump.

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Aldon Smith Voted NFL 101 NFC Def. POY

Posted by Alex Espinoza on January 15, 2013 – 2:46 PM

Aldon Smith’s scintillating 2012 season has been recognized by a nationwide panel of sportswriters and broadcasters, as he was named the NFL 101 NFC Defensive Player of the Year.

Smith’s 19.5 sacks in the regular season helped him earn the honor, which he was awarded in just his second year in the league by a group of 101 media members who cover the NFL. The 43rd annual NFL 101 Awards will be handed out in Kansas City on March 2, a short drive from Smith’s high school in Raytown, Mo. 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh attended the event last year after being named 2011 NFC Coach of the Year.

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Morning Tailgate: Jan. 10

Posted by Taylor Price on January 10, 2013 – 10:32 AM

Have no fear 49ers Faithful, it’s almost here. Yes, playoff football is right around the corner. But before the Green Bay Packers come into town for a Saturday night Divisional Playoff clash, there’s still plenty of telling statistics to comb over prior to kick-off.

Good thing Evan Silva of Rotoworld.com uncovers those interesting details as well as anyone around. In his recent matchup column, Silva shared plenty of valuable notes on the 49ers opening playoff matchup.

Here are just a few of the many interesting items from Silva’s writeup:

-Aaron Rodgers has completed 102 of his last 149 passes (68.5 percent) for 1,310 yards (8.79 yards per attempt), with 11 touchdown passes and no interceptions.

-Rodgers hasn’t been intercepted in 177 throws.

-When the teams met in Week 1, Rodgers completed all nine of his passes targeted to Randall Cobb for 77 yards.

-Greg Jennings, not Cobb, has been Green Bay’s most productive receiver as of late. Jennings led the Packers in receptions (19), receiving yards (226), and touchdowns (3), over the past three weeks.

-Colin Kaepernick had possibly his best start in San Francisco’s Week 17 win over Arizona. Kaepernick completed a career-high 276 yards on 28 attempts against Arizona’s top-five pass defense. Kaepernick averaged 9.9 yards per attempt without a turnover.

-Most importantly of all, Silva predicted a 34-30 victory for the 49ers.

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