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MT: Reaction to Justin Smith Extension

Posted by Scott Kegley on June 20, 2013 – 1:21 PM

Justin Smith
After signing a two-year extension with the 49ers, Justin Smith expressed his excitement to be able to finish his career in San Francisco on his own terms.

“Usually in the NFL, a chance to go out on your own terms so to speak is, I never dreamed that would happen, so I’m pumped about that,” the 13-year veteran told reporters.

Smith, a co-captain, has been a key figure on San Francisco’s defense since joining the team as a free agent in 2008. Smith is recovering from a triceps injury he sustained last season and says he’ll be back to full strength in plenty of time for next season.

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

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MT: The Colin Kaepernick Experience

Posted by Taylor Price on June 19, 2013 – 9:44 AM

Colin Kaepernick’s name and face continue to pop up leading up to the 2013 NFL season. The San Francisco 49ers quarterback is arguably one of the league’s breakout stars leading up to the coming season.

ESPN the Magazine placed Kaepernick on their annual fantasy football issue. The magazine also shared an interesting note, if you prorated Kaepernick’s stats for the entire 2012 season, he would have been the eighth-best fantasy quarterback.

Robert Mays of Grantland.com took the Kaepernick phenomenon one step further by examining “The Colin Kaepernick Experience.” Mays believes that Kaepernick’s ascending play is one of the many reasons to start getting hyped for the upcoming season.

“Kaepernick is only 10 starts into his career, but already, he feels like one of the more important assets in all of football,” Mays wrote. “He’s capable of plays only Robert Griffin III can match, and the idea of seeing it over a 16-game season should be enough to have anyone outside of Seattle looking forward to Sundays… Colin Kaepernick is likely here for the long haul, and by the end of this year, my guess is that we’ll all very used to it.”

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

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MT: Minicamp Day 2 Recap

Posted by Taylor Price on June 13, 2013 – 11:29 AM

The second day of minicamp featured B.J. Daniels making a variety of plays. The seventh-round pick caught two touchdowns as a running back and tossed another as a quarterback on a rollout scramble to wideout Ricardo Lockette.

The 49ers will hold one more day of mandatory minicamp on Thursday. Jim Harbaugh will speak to the media at the conclusion of the workout.

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

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Justin Smith ‘Indispensable’ on Defense

Posted by Taylor Price on June 3, 2013 – 9:45 AM

He’s absolutely essential to San Francisco’s overall success. Without Justin Smith in the lineup, it wouldn’t be the same 49ers defense. Smith leads by example, inspires teammates and dominates in the trenches.

The four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle means that much to the 49ers defense, as noted by Adam Schein of NFL.com.

When compiling nine of the most indispensable players in the NFL today, San Francisco’s stout defensive tackle was placed at No. 4 on the list.

“Both NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis, the best linebacker combination in the league, have told me Smith is the most important player on the Niners’ defense,” Schein wrote. “He’s tough. He’s clutch. He takes on blockers and frees up other players.

“Smith sets the tone in practice and in games. He’s the Energizer Bunny on one of the truly elite defenses in the league.”

Smith is on the mend this offseason. He hasn’t taken part in Organized Team Activities, but has been around to help out younger teammates on the defensive line. Currently, Smith’s working his way back from offseason triceps surgery. Smith, however, is back in the weight room getting himself ready for his 13th season.

In regards to the offensive side of the ball, Schein placed 49ers tight end Vernon Davis at No. 5 on the key offensive figures list.

Today’s Morning Tailgate features additional 49ers-related headlines and the latest on Levi’s® Stadium.

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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: Kendall Hunter Back Sprinting

Posted by Taylor Price on April 18, 2013 – 10:07 AM

The San Francisco 49ers enjoy a bevy of talented running backs who can run Greg Roman’s complex offensive system. One of them, third-year runner Kendall Hunter, is back running sprints this offseason. He’s doing so five months removed from a torn left Achilles. Perhaps, Kobe Bryant might want rehab notes from the 49ers running back.

Hunter shared details of his progress with Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle.

“I’m just doing what the trainers want me to do,” Hunter told Branch. “That’s the process. I feel and know I can do more, but I’m not going to rush whatever the coaches and trainers want.”

Hunter rushed for 371 yards in 2012, good for 5.2 yards per carry. Hunter also scored two rushing touchdowns before injuring himself on Nov. 25 against the New Orleans Saints.

Hunter told Branch he’d like to participate in OTAs in May or San Francisco’s mandatory minicamp in June, but the talented running back understands the importance of a patient rehab process and expects to be held out of action until training camp.

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

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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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Recent 49ers Free Agency Additions

Posted by Alex Espinoza on March 13, 2013 – 3:49 PM

The 49ers roster features many homegrown players that have been drafted and developed by the respected front office staff led by general manager Trent Baalke. But San Francisco also features some top-notch free agents which have shaped it into a Super Bowl contender.

As the 2013 free agency period gets off to its frenzied start, 49ers.com takes a look back at some of the biggest impact free agents signed by the franchise in recent history. View a photo gallery of recent 49ers free agent additions and vote for your favorite at the bottom of this post.

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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: Smith Undergoes Surgery

Posted by Taylor Price on February 22, 2013 – 6:50 AM

INDIANAPOLIS – All the attention this week at the NFL Scouting Combine is on the incoming prospects and the domino effect they’ll have on pending free agents. It’s deservedly so.

But one non-prospect related item from Thursday’s opening media session should not go unnoticed.

General Manager Trent Baalke revealed positive news on 49ers four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Justin Smith. After the Super Bowl, San Francisco’s defensive co-captain underwent successful surgery on a partially torn left triceps tendon.

The comments, shared with CSN Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco, indicate Smith will have a brief rehab and will be ready for training camp.

Smith missed the final two regular season games from the triceps injury, but returned for all three postseason games. Mock drafts around the country have the 49ers taking a defensive lineman to lighten the workload on Smith’s plate, but all that will play itself out in the coming months.

For now, let’s enjoy the combine process and get to know the top talent headed to the NFL Draft. Also, Jim Harbaugh will speak with reporters at 11:30 am P.T. make sure you watch it live on 49ers.com.

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