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49ers Fan

49ers win thriller against the Saints breathes New Life into team. posted by 49ers Fan

 The niners came into this game on the brink of a demoralizing season. Jim Harbaugh's job status became a daily talking point, and people questioned the direction of the franchise.

Yet, Harbaugh and the 49ers shut everyone up by winning themselves back into the playoff race with a 27-24 victory over the New Orleans Saints Sunday.

Although unconventional, Colin Kaepernick led the Niners on a 50 yard two minute drill drive that resulted in a a 45-yard Dawson field goal to tie the game at 24-24 and send the game into overtime, after the Niners defense was able to hold off the Saints Hail Mary throw on a questionable offensive PI call on Jimmy Graham.

With the win, the Niners have breathed new life into their season. From the opening snap, the Niners look determined to win. Antoine Bethea picked Brees off on New Orleans' opening possession, helping set up a four-yard Frank Gore touchdown to give the 49ers' their first of two first-quarter scores.

And while the win was a good step in the right direction for the team, there is still a lot of work left to be done in San Francisco. The Niners are behind the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West and one of many teams, stuck in a dog fight for a wild card spot. It'll be interesting to see how this team responds with a little bit of swagger and momentum as it travels to New York to take on the Giants next week.

Given the controversy surrounding the franchise, players, and head coach heading into this game, the 49ers are just happy to enjoy a win and the relative silence from their fan base and critics that comes after a big win. 

Continue reading "49ers win thriller against the Saints ..."


49ers Fan

The 2014 San Francisco 49ers posted by 49ers Fan

The 49ers are among the favorites to win the Super Bowl after falling short last year. It all begins with quarterback Colin Kaepernick who struggled in the first half of the season but torched opposing teams in December 2014. He even totaled 130 rushing yards versus the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship, but was one tipped pass away from leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl.

The first order of business for the front office was to upgrade Kaepernick’s supporting cast. So they acquired Stevie Johnson from Buffalo for their 2015 draft pick. While Johnson is injury prone, he should perform well as the tertiary receiver this time around. The team also signed Brandon Lloyd and drafted Bruce Ellington.

The franchise also boosted the running back corps by drafting Ohio State standout Carlos Hyde. The team will still rely on Frank Gore but he’s slowing down at 31 and will become a free agent next offseason.

The 49ers will still have one of the best offensive lines in the league. Four of their starters are back on the roster, with center Jonathan Goodwin the only exception. They did draft center Marcus Martin who’ll probably replace Goodwin or compete against Daniel Kilgore.

Defense will not be a problem for the 49ers as they have one of the best  defensive units in the league.  Although the team lost Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers who both left for Oakland, the team did draft rookie Jimmie Ward. He could back-up sophomore Eric Reid and new acquisition Antone Betha. Going forward, expect Ward to start alongside Reid perhaps as early as next season.

Continue reading "The 2014 San Francisco 49ers"


Joe Anello

2013 NFL Draft: Rounds Two - Seven Recap posted by Joe Anello

It was an eventful and unpredictable NFL Draft, even after the craziness that ensued in round one Thursday night. Friday night showcased rounds two and three, while Sunday wrapped up the draft with rounds four through seven. Let’s run through the major storylines that came out of the 2013 NFL Draft!

*Pardon for the delay. This is what happens when life throws the draft, C2E2, and the impetus to change jobs all in one weekend.

 

-After slipping through the first round despite several reported landing spots, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o became a San Diego Charger. The Chargers traded picks 45 and 110 to the Cardinals for pick number 38, allowing them to move up for Te’o. At that point in the draft, the drama-laden linebacker had great value. The Chargers run a 3-4 scheme, but he can still be a valuable inside presence for them.

 

-On the very next pick after Te’o was selected, the New York Jets saw a “franchise” quarterback fall right into their laps at number 39 overall with Geno Smith. Smith increases the QB count on the Jets roster all the way up to six, which includes Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Greg McElroy, and David Garrard. Yeah… someone’s gonna get cut. The obvious cut is Tebow. But then who? Do you cut the veteran Garrard, whom you just brought in? Or do you take the massive cap hit and release Sanchez? Or are you giving up on the idea that McElroy can be anything? The drama is ratcheted up in New York, and I’m gonna love every minute of it.

Continue reading "2013 NFL Draft: Rounds Two - Seven Recap"


Joe Anello

2013 NFL Offseason: Quarterback Craze! posted by Joe Anello

Aside from a few relatively noteworthy transactions in NFL free agency, the past few days have been all about the quarterbacks. There’s been news aplenty regarding some premiere and not-so-premiere signal-callers across the league and the ramifications of their movements. Let’s get through all the news!

Dallas Cowboys extend QB Tony Romo with a six-year, $108 million deal ($55M gtd.)

So we’ve all heard about the basic numbers here, but there’s definitely some “fine print” to this contract. The extension does give Romo $55 million in guaranteed money, but that includes the $11.5M he was scheduled to make next season. He did get a $25M signing bonus, which is pro-rated over the life of the deal (which technically ends after the 2019 season).

This is the contract the Cowboys needed to get done. Through an odd contract loophole, Romo could have become a free agent after the 2013 season… but also after the franchising period ended. So he would have been able to simply walk out on Dallas and get into the free agent market directly, without fear of being franchised. So without a better plan in place or being in any sort of position to draft a quarterback, Dallas made the right, sensible move here. They locked up their franchise quarterback for the long-term.

QB Kevin Kolb signs a 2-year, $13 million deal with the Buffalo Bills

WHOAH. Did NOT see this coming. Can I still get partial credit for saying he’d land in the AFC East? Kolb somehow skirts the sideshow that is the Jets quarterback competition and lands in Buffalo, where he currently only has to beat out Tarvaris Jackson, who isn’t exactly Jim Kelly. Don’t expect this move to stop the Bills from taking a quarterback somewhere in the first two rounds. Kolb might be better than Ryan Fitzpatrick. But at least he’s not making a ludicrous amount of cash.

Continue reading "2013 NFL Offseason: Quarterback Craze!"


Joe Anello

The Final Drive: Super Bowl XLVII posted by Joe Anello

So you watched the game, right? I don’t need to talk about it at all, right?

Ugh. Fine. Here’s The Final Drive of Super Bowl 47. You owe me.

(14-6) Baltimore Ravens 34
(13-5-1) San Francisco 49ers 31

After an illegal formation penalty killed a 20 yard pass play on the Niners’ first drive, the Ravens came out and took advantage of a short field. A 20-yarder to Torrey Smith and an offsides penalty on Aldon Smith put the ball at the ‘Frisco 13, where Flacco threw a dart to Anquan Boldin, who made a leaping grab to come down with it in the endzone. All of a sudden the Niner defense was on their heels and Phil Simms was already calling the game over at 7-0.

Kaepernick had a few exciting scrambles on San Francisco’s ensuing drive. A 24 yard pass to Vernon Davis found Dannell Ellerbee way out of position and gave my prediction of Davis for MVP with an early surge. But a poor scramble on a misfire to Crabtree and a 10 yard loss on a sack by Paul Kruger led to a David Akers field goal. Hey, he MADE one! That’s a good sign, right?

San Francisco finally got the read option going on their next drive, feeding Frank Gore and LaMichael James. But then James went and coughed up the ball, draining any and all momentum garnered from the few plays they managed to run. Kaepernick never really got into a groove, seeing more pressure than he had in recent weeks. The Ravens were obviously sending a rusher his way if he handed it off to the running back or not. So many times Terrell Suggs would finish a play by contacting Kaepernick in an attempt to get physical with the QB. They were sending a message early and often.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: Super Bowl XLVII"


Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: Super Bowl XLVII posted by Joe Anello

The time for talk is over. (Well, almost.) The time for football is now. (Well, a bit later.) The time for beet and food is now? (Yes. That is accurate.) After taking apart the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens earlier in the week, we are now ready for The Opening Drive of Super Bowl 47!

 

Super Bowl XLVII

(13-6) Baltimore Ravens at
(15-4-1) San Francisco 49ers
6:30 PM ET, CBS 

San Francisco’s Offense vs. Baltimore’s Defense

After seeing Colin Kaepernick tear apart a hapless Green Bay front seven for 181 rushing yards, the Atlanta Falcons overcompensated and kept the QB in the pocket the entire game. Unfortunately, that left Frank Gore in the clear on read-option plays, on which he scored two touchdowns. Kaepernick picked the Atlanta secondary apart in the second half of that contest, proving he has accuracy to go with the arm strength and mobility. The Raven defense excels at maintaining their edges, meaning they don’t let the ball-carrier get outside of them to the sidelines. They like funneling the ball back inside so Ray Lewis can get inflated tackle numbers. (Which he does.) But what do they do against the read-option? Crash the corners and use the safeties to cover? Assign a defensive end to lay out the QB while a linebacker fills in against the running back? The Ravens have had two weeks to prepare for this mobile QB, so I’d be surprised if he busted too many long runs against them. Instead, we’re probably going to see a lot of Frank Gore and LaMichael James used to test Lewis as the game wears on.

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: Super Bowl XLVII"


Joe Anello

Super Bowl 47 Preview: San Francisco 49ers posted by Joe Anello

In my first preview of the teams facing off in the Super Bowl, I’m going to take an in-depth look at the team representing the National Football Conference, the San Francisco 49ers. Having barely won the NFC West with a regular season record of 11-4-1 over the Seattle Seahawks (11-5), the Niners had their issues and drama during the regular season. Injuries to key contributors and a swap at quarterback highlight a season of significance for Jim Harbaugh’s squad. Let’s break them down as they head for their sixth Super Bowl title!

 

NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers

The Offense

Had this game been taking place ten weeks ago, I would have been describing to you how the Niners were going to be held back by Alex Smith’s inability to consistently find targets down the field. Instead, Smith was concussed during the season, giving way to former second round pick Colin Kaepernick. The second year pro came into the league with lofty expectations, fronting a team that was dealing with expectations of its own. Colin quickly demonstrated his athletic prowess, becoming one of the most dynamic players in the league. He can run as quick and as effective as any other QB as he showed in their playoff win against Green Bay, but his accuracy isn’t to be laughed at, as he showed when the Niners took down the Falcons. Behind Kaepernick, the Niners won five of their last seven regular season games and stormed through the playoffs.

Continue reading "Super Bowl 47 Preview: San Francisco 49ers"


Joe Anello

The Final Drive: 2013 Conference Championships posted by Joe Anello

Conference Championship Sunday left two teams in sheer jubilation while two other squads will be left at home for the Super Bowl. Let’s take a look at how two road teams pulled out the win in The Final Drive!

(13-4-1) San Francisco 49ers 28

(14-4) Atlanta Falcons 24

The first quarter of this game looked almost exactly the same as the Falcons’ last game, with a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. San Francisco mounted a whopping -2 yards on offense in the opening frame, stifled by a Falcon defense that had a surprisingly decent pass rush in the quarter.

Julio Jones came out ready to play for keeps, racking up over 100 yards in the first quarter. He was held relatively in check for the rest of the game, totaling “only” 182 yards. Matt Ryan seemed to be able to expose the Niner secondary all day, especially safety Dashon Goldson, who was torched by Jones on his first score. A second crazy catch by Jones to start the second quarter made the score 17-0 in favor of Atlanta. Luckily the Niner offense figured it out eventually, getting two touchdowns in the second period to make the game competitive again. But after the Falcons drove right back down in the two minute drill to pull away at 24-14, I was left to wonder: where was that vaunted Niner defense everyone kept telling me about? I think they forgot that this was an elimination game. Someone must have told them at halftime, because San Fran’s defense came out and utterly shut down the dirty birds.

As their Niner defense tightened, recovering a fumbled snap to Ryan, Colin Kaepernick and the offense thrived. Kaep continued to make key passes from inside the pocket. The read-option plays became deadly, especially at the goal line, where Frank Gore scored two rushing touchdowns. The Niners went up 28-24 in the middle of the fourth quarter and never looked back.

Continue reading "The Final Drive: 2013 Conference Championships"


Joe Anello

The Opening Drive: 2013 Conference Championships posted by Joe Anello

Okay everybody, Conference Championship Sunday is here and I could not be any more excited. Aside from the drama that is surrounding each of these fantastic games (you know, because whoever wins plays in that little Super Bowl), I’m also 3-5 on my picks going into the day, meaning the only way I get above .500 for the postseason is if I get everything right from here on out. No pressure. There’s been some movement on these lines (San Fran got a lot of juice and is now a four point favorite. Baltimore saw some action while the line was at 9 points, whittling it down to 7.5), so as an FYI I’m picking against the spread as the odds are currently, not where they began. Let’s stop prattling on and get into The Opening Drive!

*As always, lines pulled from VegasInsider.com. 

 

(12-4-1) San Francisco 49ers at

(14-3) Atlanta Falcons

3:00 PM ET, FOX

You’re going to be hard-pressed to find any unit in this game that favors the Falcons. The Niner offensive line is playing the best of any unit still in the playoffs, as they’ve been utterly dominating defensive fronts at the line of scrimmage. There’s a reason Colin Kaepernick ran utterly untouched against the Packers. Even as he gets a bit older, Frank Gore is the best running back in this game. Michael Crabtree has been stepping up as of late, looking at times like the number one receiver he was always supposed to be. Randy Moss is a somewhat credible threat on the outside, but this team really suffers from the loss of Mario Manningham. But Kaepernick might be able to reproduce a similar performance from last week with the benefit of a dome and faster turf. Without a fully healthy John Abraham (ankle), are the Falcons

Continue reading "The Opening Drive: 2013 Conference Championships"


Joe Anello

Joe's 2012 Gameday Review: 49ers 32, Bears 7 posted by Joe Anello

In case your various social media timelines didn’t tell you, the Chicago Bears played the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football. It did not go well. Specifically, it was one of the most embarrassing performances of football I’ve ever seen. With that in mind, it’s time for the Gameday Review.

  

(7-2-1) San Francisco 49ers 32

(7-3) Chicago Bears 7 

The opening drive Monday night gave a small preview of what was to come, as Colin Kaepernick completed four passes en route to a David Akers field goal to gain the lead. A sack of Jason Campbell on third and short led to a punt back to San Fran. Kaepernick took that possession, and found Kyle Williams streaking down the sidelines 57 yards, setting up a 3 yard pass to Vernon Davis for the score. That put the Niners up 10-0. And I was worried. Chicago moved the ball 24 yards following the kickoff, but was forced to punt yet again after a third and long. Then came the continued dominance of the ‘Frisco ground game. It wasn’t overwhelming yardage-wise, but it routinely moved the chains and kept the offense on the field. A 14-yard Kendall Hunter run put the Niners up 17-0. And that was all I needed to know that game was over.

If you needed statistical examples of Chicago’s inability to move the ball, let me educate. The Bears garnered 66 passing yards and 85 rushing yards on 28 attempts. That’s 151 total yards, in case you were wondering. They were 3 for 12 on third down and turned the ball over twice (in the form of two interceptions.)

Continue reading "Joe's 2012 Gameday Review: 49ers 32, Bears 7"

San Francisco 49ers News

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Le'Veon Bell's suspension reduced from three games to two (Shutdown Corner)

Lost in the hubbub of Tom Brady's suspension remaining at four games was some good news for the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Yes, they occasionally accomplish things together.) Running back Le'Veon Bell was able to have his three-game suspension pared down to two games after a settlement between the NFL and NFLPA. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today! ] Bell had been arrested in August 2014 on DUI and marijuana possession charges when he was pulled over by police with then-teammate LeGarrette Blount. Marijuana was found in the car as the two players drove to the airport last preseason for a game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The offense occurred under the old NFL drug policy, and yet Bell's initial suspension —the three games —was consistent with the new guidelines. The two sides settled, and Bell will miss games (and be docked games checks) in Weeks 1 and 2 at the New England Patriots and home against the San Francisco 49ers, respectively. Bell will be eligible to return to action in Week 3 against the St. Louis Rams. "As I have stated before, we were disappointed in Le'Veon Bell's actions last August," Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement on Tuesday. "Le'Veon made a mistake and now he must learn from his mistake and focus on eliminating distractions from his life. We look forward to continuing to work with Le'Veon to try to help him reach his full potential as a person and as a player." Blount, now a Patriot, previously was suspended one game for his involvement in the incident. Bell can take part in all training camp practices and preseason games. Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson visited Steelers camp on Monday, writing about Ben Roethlisberger's belief the team can score 30 points per game , and the news that Bell will be back a game sooner makes a dangerous offense even more scary. - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports

Most intriguing NFL team of 2015? Ranking the storylines of all 32 squads (Shutdown Corner)

This is a highly subjective list. Using my sophisticated OPI (Own Personal Intrigue) method, I carefully have ranked the teams in order of interest and intrigue prior to the 2015 NFL season. Please note: These are not power rankings. This is not how I think the 2016 NFL draft order will look. Nothing like that. Intrigue can be both bad and good. My top-ranked team here missed the postseason a year ago; my 32nd-ranked team made it. Hopefully, you get the idea. I’m just speculating which teams will be the most buzzworthy and boast the most fascinating storylines heading into the season. The Washington Redskins, for instance, have mastered the art of bad-team intrigue. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today! ] And some might argue that for years, the New England Patriots — even as remarkable as their run has been — are the most boring good team out there. Of course, not this year. Not with deflate-gate and Tom Brady's suspension threatening to rule the first month of the season. So here they are, my indisputable OPI rankings heading into training camp.  The most intriguing team of 2015 is ...  1. Philadelphia Eagles — Chip Kelly: secret genius or mad scientist? This could be the year we find out. He enters Year Three having shuttled off nearly the entire roster he inherited — including many of the Eagles’ highest-regarded players. How are we not intrigued? One of his biggest imports, DeMarco Murray, he shockingly poached from the rival Dallas Cowboys. We will find out this season if Chip’s system — which is more about team building than some gimmicky offensive philosophy — is built to last. If Kelly reincarnates Sam Bradford and fixes that defense, it might be time to give it up, haters. But if Bradford struggles (or struggles to stay healthy), and the ball is put in the hands of Mark Sanchez or — gasp — Tim Tebow, it might be worrisome. You have to wonder, after Kelly missed out on landing Marcus Mariota, if finding a perfect-fit quarterback will forever be Kelly’s Camelot. 2. San Francisco 49ers — The attrition that has ravaged this team might have reached historical levels. After a strange, strained battle with ownership, Jim Harbaugh walked at what looks like precisely the right time. In his wake, the foundation of his steely squad either retired,was shipped out or left via free agency. Thrifty owner Jed York opted to go cheap — under the auspice of trust, dependability and locker-room harmony — in hiring the less-than-lucid Jim Tomsula (one game of head-coaching experience). There are scores of veterans trying to revive their careers — Aldon Smith, Colin Kaepernick, NaVorro Bowman, Vernon Davis, and more. There’s talent, but is there turmoil? The first half of the schedule, by the way, is brutal. 3. Buffalo Bills — Are you excited yet? Maybe you’re not the biggest Rex Ryan fan (you communist!), and maybe you’re laughing at their quarterback options. Fair enough. But maybe Tyrod Taylor — who beat out Russell Wilson for ACC Player of the Year in 2010 — is a secret killer, or at least not a total disaster. And everywhere else there is exciting talent, playing in a city dying to win for a coach who will do anything and everything he can to (a) stick it to the Jets, (b) beat Tom Brady and (c) deliver a winner to some long-suffering fans. The defense could be the league’s best, and there are playmakers littered throughout the offense. There’s something happening here — and some excitable personalities coming to town with Ryan, LeSean McCoy, Richie Incognito and Percy Harvin — and what it is ain't exactly clear. 4. New England Patriots — It has been a wild six months since they beat the Indianapolis Colts, setting the Bad Ship Deflate-gate into motion, stealing a Super Bowl win in mind-blowing fashion and watching Brady get dragged through the mud in the league’s phony and laughable attempt to uphold the integrity of the game . And while everyone knows that what doesn’t kill the Patriots tends to make them stronger, navigating their way back to another Super Bowl appears far tougher, with a stronger division, Brady turning 38 and the Patriots’ huge losses in the secondary. If they do win it all this year, it will be their fifth title. The significance of this: The Patriots would own 10 percent of all the Super Bowl championships. The title also would be Bill Belichick’s seventh, which would tie him all time with former Broncos and 49ers scout/administrator Neal Dahlen for the most in league history. 5. Dallas Cowboys  — The Dez Bryant signing removes a smidge of the drama, but it’s still a team we’ll be thinking about almost daily. Last season shocked me — I pegged their defense to be historically bad. And that’s why this season is so intriguing. For the first time, legitimately, the Cowboys are a Super Bowl contender for the first time in forever, and yet they’re missing a huge piece with Murray gone (to the hated Eagles, no less). The guys vying to replace him are a possibly washed-up back in Darren McFadden and a player guilty of shoplifting underwear and cologne last year in Joseph Randle. Randy Gregory and La’el Collins also will be fun to chart as high-profile rookies looking to make a lot of teams wish they hadn't passed them over in the draft. 6. Seattle Seahawks — Russell Wilson’s contract looms as one of the more fascinating negotiations in recent NFL history, textured by the fact that he’s coming off the haunting Super Bowl interception. His gift: a Marshawn Lynch contract extension and trades for receiving help in Jimmy Graham and Tyler Lockett. But Michael Bennett could hold out? And Earl Thomas will miss all of camp? Intrigue! In a certain way, these are the same Seahawks we’ve come to know, so there’s a ceiling to it, and there’s no reason to think they can’t get back to a third straight Super Bowl. But we’ll always be paying attention to what this outlaw bunch is doing and saying. [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Tom Brady more popular than ever, in terms of merchandise sales (Shutdown Corner)

if Tom Brady really is the no-good cheater that many folks have made him out to be, there are plenty of people who want to associate with a no-good cheater. From March 1 to May 31, as Ted Wells was investigating Brady for his role in deflate-gate and the NFL was punishing him after the report was published, Brady topped the list of NFL merchandise sales for the first time in his career. The NFLPA released the list on Thursday. Brady finished third in the NFLPA's year-end list for last season. Hey, people needed jerseys to snap the pic of the No. 12 for their Twitter avatar in support of Brady. [ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today! ] This is probably the proof of "all publicity is good publicity." Wells released his report on May 6. Five days later, the NFL announced penalties for deflate-gate, including a four-game suspension for Brady. Having his name constantly in the news helped at the sales counter. For the list that Brady topped, the NFLPA counts all sales of licensed merchandise including jerseys, figurines, photos and bobble heads, among other things. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick led all players in jersey sales, followed by Brady. In the quarter before this one, Brady was in the news a bit for some positive results. He won his fourth Super Bowl over the Seattle Seahawks in early February, orchestrating a fantastic fourth-quarter comeback against one of the best secondaries in NFL history. That performance solidified what was already a pretty good argument that Brady is the best quarterback in NFL history. That performance also likely helped sales, and so did the controversy. Patriots fans wanted to support Brady as he received what they felt was unfair treatment by the NFL and it seems they did so by buying stuff that had his name and likeness on it. Whatever has been said about how the controversy will affect Brady's legacy and popularity, leading the NFLPA's sales list for the first time ever probably is a better indicator than random speculation. Here's the rest of the top 10 in the NFLPA's sales list: 1. Tom Brady, New England Patriots  2. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers  3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks  4. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers  5. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos  6. J.J. Watt, Houston Texans  7. Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks  8. Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants  9. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans  10. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Former Patriots captain Dan Connolly retires, citing concussion concerns (Shutdown Corner)

Veteran offensive lineman Dan Connolly, a captain of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots this past season, cited concussion concerns as the primary reason for walking away from football at age 32. Announcing his retirement, Connolly told ESPN.com's Mike Reiss , "It's important to me to leave the game healthy. I'm able to be here for my kids and walk away on my own terms. I feel like I got everything I could out of football in playing 10 years, winning a Super Bowl, and playing alongside some truly great players." Connolly was diagnosed with five concussions during his football career, including four in eight NFL seasons dating back to 2005, when he originally signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an undrafted free agent out of Southeast Missouri State. After being cut from the Jaguars in September 2007, he joined New England's practice squad and ultimately worked his way into a starting role for their last two trips to the Super Bowl. The three-year, $9.75 million contract he signed with the Patriots following their 2011 loss to the New York Giants came to a close this season, culminating in a championship ring for the franchise he's started 71 games for over the past seven seasons. Apparently, that helped make the decision to retire a little easier. "It definitely played a part in it; helped me sleep better," he added . "I'm more at ease with the decision." The 6-foot-4, 311-pound Connolly had several teams interested in his services for the upcoming season, but ultimately chose health over uprooting his family to another city upon weighing options with his wife, per Reiss. The Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears were among the clubs vying for his versatility  as a guard and center earlier this offseason, according to the Miami Herald . Connolly certainly isn't the first NFL player to retire due to concussion concerns, as 24-year--old San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland made headlines in March for the very same reason. And the Patriots standout won't be the last, either, reinforcing the league's need to further address the issue. - - - - - - - Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don't Lie and Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @brohrbach [read full article]

From Yahoo Sports


Former 49er Ray McDonald charged with domestic violence (Yahoo Sports)

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From Yahoo Sports

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