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MT: Harbaugh to Drive Pace Car at Indy 500

Posted by Taylor Price on May 22, 2013 – 11:22 AM

Jim Harbaugh will drive the pace car on Sunday at the 97th installment of the  Indianapolis 500.

The 49ers coach, who is a racing fan and has a principle role with Panther Racing, said it will be a “tremendous thrill” according to a news release sent out by track officials.

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MT: Patton Rejoins 49ers for OTAs

Posted by Taylor Price on May 21, 2013 – 11:08 AM

The rookie class will join veterans at Organized Team Activities on Tuesday. The NFL newcomers have been working with their new teammates at San Francisco’s “Football School” workouts, but now they can all practice together with helmets at OTAs.

The rookies will also have fourth-round draft pick Quinton Patton in attendance. The Louisiana Tech wide receiver was the only draft pick who couldn’t remain at the team’s facility following rookie minicamp. Patton had to wait until the conclusion of Louisiana Tech’s graduations ceremonies on Saturday.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle spoke with Patton who’s set to join veterans at OTAs.

Patton’s initial arrival to San Francisco was pretty epic. He shouldn’t have any problem sticking around the facility now that graduation is over.

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MT: 49ers Reach 90-Man Roster Limit

Posted by Taylor Price on May 15, 2013 – 10:57 AM

Following a third week of “Football School,” the San Francisco 49ers will finish the month of May with two sets of Organized Team Activities (May 21-23, May 28-30).

Those voluntary workouts are expected to have a great turnout. The 49ers offseason program has been heavily attended every step of the way from many of the team’s veterans. Now, the rookie class can participate in the offseason schedule. With the signing of fullback Jason Schepler, the 49ers are at a 90-man roster.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee analyzed San Francisco’s personnel and noted the holdovers from the 2012 NFC Champion squad. Wide receiver and inside linebacker are two positions with the most change heading into 2013.

More 49ers headlines and upcoming appearances can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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MT: Harbaugh Trades Khakis for Denim

Posted by Taylor Price on May 9, 2013 – 11:38 AM

Jim Harbaugh and Trent Baalke showed a sign of solidarity on Wednesday at the 49ers, Levi’s Brand pep rally.

Both of the key figures wore Levi’s jeans at the rally, so did their players (Patrick Willis, Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Justin Smith and Colin Kaepernick).

It was especially unique to see the 49ers head coach wearing an all-denim outfit. Harbaugh is known for his everyday attire of khaki pants and a black microfleece top.

This day, however, was a special one for two iconic Bay Area brands.

Having the 49ers coach celebrate the moment with a fashion statement made it even more unique.

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MT: Harbaugh Likes Crabtree/Boldin Combo

Posted by Taylor Price on May 2, 2013 – 8:57 AM

Jim Harbaugh had some memorable words about his newest receiver, Quinton Patton, in a Thursday night interview with KNBR.

The 49ers coach shared a unique story on how his fourth-round pick flew out to California eager to work for his professional team, but was told to turn around so he could avoid breaking NFL rules.

The story overshadowed Harbaugh’s comments on his own veteran receiver, Michael Crabtree.

The fifth-year pro totaled career-highs across the board in 2012 with 85 receptions, 1,105 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. The 6-foot-1, 214-pound wideout became the ninth player in team history to record a 1,000-yard receiving season and the first 49ers player to do it since 2003 (Terrell Owens).

When Harbaugh was asked about the addition of Anquan Boldin to San Francisco’s roster, the 49ers coach quickly pointed out that the 11-year veteran will fit in nicely with Cratbree, the emerging play-maker.

“Having two high-level, top-notch productive receivers in this league, I think they’ll help each other immensely in that way,” the 49ers coach said.

“Michael’s a proven, front-line receiver and so is Anquan Boldin.”

The 49ers haven’t had two, 1,000-yard receiving seasons since 1998 when Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice totaled 1,157 yards and Owens added 1,097 yards. The duo also combined to catch 24 touchdowns (Owens 15, Rice 9).

Crabtree’s 2012 production came into greater focus thanks to his inclusion on ProFootballFocus.com’s Top 101 players list.

Crabtree was the 12th member of San Francisco’s roster to make the list. He was unranked in 2011, but came in at No. 37 this time around.

“Crabtree continued to look like one of the most impressive after-the-catch receivers in the league, forcing 19 missed tackles (including the postseason) while also adding 12 touchdowns,” PFF.com wrote.

Other 49ers to make PFF’s current list (Justin Smith No. 87, Colin Kaepernick No. 81, Anthony Davis No. 80, Tarell Brown No. 75, Frank Gore No. 71, Anquan Boldin No. 63, NaVorro Bowman No. 59, Aldon Smith No. 57, Mike Iupati No. 53, Alex Boone No. 50 and Vernon Davis, No. 39).

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Morning Tailgate: Round 1 Recap

Posted by Taylor Price on April 26, 2013 – 11:07 AM

For a second consecutive year, Trent Baalke pegged a first-round draft pick at least 24 hours before the actual draft.

In 2012, it was A.J. Jenkins who was the preferred pick of the San Francisco 49ers general manager. In 2013, the honor went to LSU safety Eric Reid.

Baalke’s 24-hour preference of the SEC safety was shared by Jed York.

The 49ers CEO offered a glimpse into Baalke’s pre-draft mindset in a Thursday night conversation with Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports.

“We weren’t nervous,” York said of the 49ers draft room. “Trent made up his mind yesterday what he wanted to do and he went out and did it. And if it hadn’t worked out, we’d have still had some pretty good options.”

Perhaps the 49ers will have those other options in play for the No. 34 overall pick, a selection they acquired from a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The fast-paced first-round of the NFL Draft is recapped in today’s Morning Tailgate.

On to the links…

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MT: 49ers Host Local Pro Day

Posted by Taylor Price on April 17, 2013 – 9:16 AM

CSNBayArea.com’s Matt Maiocco reported on Tuesday that a son of a 49ers Hall of Famer will visit team headquarters on Wednesday to take part in the team’s local pro day.

Nate Montana would be the player in the report. And yes, he’s the son of you know who.

Montana played as a backup quarterback at three different schools (Pasadena City College, Notre Dame and the University of Montana), before finding a starting role at West Virginia Wesleyan.

Montana started nine games at the NCAA Division II school, completing 51.6 percent of his passes with 19 touchdown passes and seven interceptions. Montana averaged 275.6 passing yards per game. He’s also been preparing for the NFL Draft with quarterback guru George Whitfield Jr.

It’s important to note that several pro day attendees have made their way on to the 49ers practice squad. For example, former Stanford safety Michael Thomas went undrafted, but made the practice squad in 2012 and has been signed to a reserve/future contract with the club. Wednesday’s pro day also marks the last day draft eligible players can visit the team’s Santa Clara headquarters.

49ers.com will cover the team’s annual pro day later in the afternoon and will have a full report on the workout.

More 49ers headlines can be found in today’s Morning Tailgate.

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49 in 49: Best of the Bay Week

Posted by Taylor Price on April 15, 2013 – 6:39 PM

Football in the Bay Area has been on the rise in recent years. High school, college and professional teams have enjoyed the type of success that earns national notoriety.

With Stanford University, Jim Harbaugh’s former school, earning back-to-back BCS Bowl invitations, the Cardinal have become the leaders in Bay Area collegiate football. Coach David Shaw has continued Harbaugh’s work at Stanford by bringing in academically and athletically gifted athletes. The Cardinal finished as the nation’s No. 7 team according to AP Top 25 results.

Another Bay Area school, San Jose State, also enjoyed impressive success in 2012. The Spartans finished the year 11-2 and No. 21 in the AP’s Top 25 poll.

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Morning Tailgate: Madden Cover Vote

Posted by Taylor Price on April 2, 2013 – 9:09 AM

It’s voting season.

NFL.com is asking fans to choose the best play in NFL history and two of San Francisco’s Hall of Fame quarterbacks, Joe Montana and Steve Young, are among the great eight remaining plays. Montana delivered “The Catch,” while Young seemingly broke 49 tackles on his way to a 49-yard game-winning touchdown run against the Minnesota Vikings back in 1988. Fifth round voting ends on April 3.

Another important offseason vote involves 49ers past and present.

Montana, along with Hall of Fame teammate Jerry Rice and current 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, still remain in the Madden Cover Vote for the game’s 25 anniversary edition.

Kaepernick, a No. 1 seed, faces Houston Texans running back Arian Foster in the “New School” side of the bracket.

Montana, a No. 1 seed, faces Super Bowl XIX opponent and Kaepernick fan, Dan Marino, a No. 4 seed, in the “Old School” bracket. Meanwhile, Rice, another No. 1 seed, will match up against Michael Strahan (No. 5 seed) as one of the other throwback pairings.

It’s worth noting that no other team has more than one representative in the Madden tournament.

That’s important if you subscribe to the “Madden Curse” theory. Detroit Lions mega-star wideout Calvin Johnson didn’t fall for it in 2013. Johnson, the most recent player to grace the Madden cover, broke Rice’s single-season receiving record with 1,964 yards for the Lions. Rice’s old record was set in 1995.

Meanwhile, Kaepernick’s Twitter feed has recently been filled with retweets of fans supporting his quest to be on the Madden cover.

If you don’t want to vote for the current 49ers quarterback, Montana and Rice are long removed from their playing careers and will surely accept placement on the Madden cover. Both stars have joined Twitter, too. Connect with them here: @JoeMontana & @JerryRice.

Round three of the Madden vote ends on April 3. Vote often for any three of the 49ers representatives.

Check out additional 49ers headlines in the Morning Tailgate, including reports of a new quarterback joining the team in 2013.

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Morning Tailgate: Sizing Up the Defense

Posted by Alex Espinoza on March 28, 2013 – 10:56 AM

As the NFL Draft approaches, many are pegging the 49ers to pursue defensive line depth with their league-high 14 picks. Mike Sando of ESPN.com took stock of the d-line and 2013 prospects for Justin Smith, Ray McDonald and free-agent signee Glenn Dorsey.

“McDonald and Justin Smith had both played at least 85 percent of the defensive snaps through Week 15, which was when an arm injury forced Smith to the sideline until the playoffs,” Sando wrote. “Tampa Bay (three) and New Orleans (two) were the only other teams with more than one defensive lineman logging 85-plus percent of his team’s snaps to that point in the season. The Bucs and Saints had a combined seven other defensive linemen logging at least 30 percent of the snaps to that point. The 49ers had none.”

The rest of today’s Morning Tailgate looks at the 49ers secondary, NFL Draft news and more.

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