49ers

49ers camp summary (815): Up-and-down day for QB Johnson

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49ers camp summary (815): Up-and-down day for QB Johnson

Summary: The 49ers held a 2 12-hour practice Wednesday that featured some live tackling involving the third-stringers. A 10-play stretch featured plenty of miscues on both sides of the ball.Safety Colin Jones will never see an easier chance for an interception, as quarterback Josh Johnson overshot receiver Brian Tyms on a deep crossing route. But Jones failed to make the interception on a ball that hit him squarely in the hands. The voice of one wag could be heard above all the others: "That was the girl you never asked out." The offense had back-to-back false-start penalties, prompting the offending players to be removed from the huddle. Tyms and center Jason Slowey committed the infractions, and they were quickly replaced by Ben Hannula and Chase Beeler.That was fortunate for Hannula, who three plays later turned in a nifty run after the catch in which it seemed as if just about every player on defense had a chance but failed to tackle him. Cornerback Deante' Purvis was the first to whiff along the sideline.In addition to the one near-interception, Johnson was responsible for the only two picks of practice. He underthrew A.J. Jenkins on a deep route, allowing undrafted rookie Anthony Mosley to make the pick. Jenkins did not make much of an effort to break up the pass. And safety Darcel McBath intercepted Johnson's attempt to tight end Garrett Celek near the end of the workout.Johnson also made two of the better throws of the day. He lofted a touchdown pass to Nathan Palmer in the corner of the end zone during a 7-on-7 drill. And late in practice, he dropped in a beautiful 25-yard pass on a corner route to Chris Owusu just beyond cornerback Tarell Brown and safety Dashon Goldson.Quarterback Alex Smith and the first-team offense did not click as well as in Tuesday's practice, but he still completed nearly 65-percent of his pass attempts during the 7-on-7 and team periods. Smith's best play came when he found Vernon Davis on a deep route against safeties Trenton Robinson and McBath.Injury report: Cornerback Perrish Cox was absent with an undisclosed injury. It was his first missed practice of training camp. . . Tight end Nate Byham sat out his sixth practice of camp after spending last season on injured reserve after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL. The 49ers are keeping the severity of Byham's injury under wraps. . . Outside linebacker Aldon Smith missed his fourth practice with a right hip bruise. Smith sustained the injury in the first quarter of the 49ers' exhibition opener against the Minnesota Vikings. . . Outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks and tight end Delanie Walker (right knee) missed their third consecutive practice. Brooks has general soreness from training camp, a source said. Walker walked out to the practice field to watch the last portion of practice with no noticeable limp. . . Rookie linebacker Cam Johnson might also be out a while. He missed his fourth consecutive practice. He underwent offseason knee surgery but passed the team's physical at the beginning of camp. . . Running back Jewel Hampton (left foot) is on the non-football injury list, while outside linebacker Darius Fleming (left knee) is on the physically-unable-to-perform list.Returning to work: Nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga returned to full practice after sitting out two days of practices. Cornerback Tramaine Brock was back at work after missing one practice.
Offensive play of the day: Receiver Mario Manningham, one of several veteran players coach Jim Harbaugh held out of the exhibition opener, is coming on strong this week. He made a remarkable catch on a deep-in route. And while Purvis held Manningham's left arm, Manningham reached out with his right hand to make a one-handed grab of a bullet thrown by backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick.Eye on reps: Demarcus Dobbs played on both sides of the ball. He recorded one sack at defensive line and also caught a short pass from Scott Tolzien on a crossing route.Transaction report: The 49ers signed veteran Ikaika Alama-Francis to assist the team's depleted group of outside linebacker. The 49ers waived tight end Gijon Robinson.Tying up loose ends: Michael Crabtree said he keeps a running tab of his daily matchups against cornerback Carlos Rogers. Crabtree had a quiet practice, but he got the upper hand on Rogers during a one-on-one drill with a reception against tight coverage.Notable: Fifty members of the The Faithfulistas, the new official 49ers female club, attended the evening practice. Membership includes 49ers apparel, e-newsletters and special invitations to VIP 49ers events.Next practice: The 49ers return to practice Thursday from 2 to 4:25 p.m. The 49ers will break camp after their "mock game" practice on Friday.

LeBron James: Colin Kaepernick ‘had a vision like Martin Luther King’

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USATSI/AP

LeBron James: Colin Kaepernick ‘had a vision like Martin Luther King’

LeBron James is an avid football fan. He's now an even bigger Colin Kaepernick fan than the sport. Following the Cavaliers' practice on Sunday, James opened up on Kaepernick and his absence from the NFL. 

"I've commended Kap, and for him to sacrifice everything for the greater good for everyone, for what he truly believed in, the utmost respect to him," James said to ESPN. "Obviously he had a vision like Martin Luther King and like some of our all-time greats that people couldn't see further than what they were doing at the point and time. And Muhammad Ali and things of that nature."

James believes the masses don't truly understand what Kaepernick was doing when he first took a knee as a protest against social and racial injustices in America. For his actions, James respects Kaepernick choosing his beliefs over his sport.

"When it's something that's new and it's something that people are not educated about or don't understand what your beliefs are all about, people are so quick to judge and people are so quick to say that what you're doing is wrong," James said. "For him to sacrifice the sport that he plays and to sacrifice the things he's done his whole life because he knew what he believed in, I salute him. I salute and respect that."

Add James to the list of those who believe Kaepernick is being blackballed by the NFL for taking a knee last season. The more games he watches, the more James sees the evidence on the wall. 

"I don't represent the NFL. I don't know their rules and regulations. But I do know Kap is getting a wrong doing, I do know that," James believes. "Just watching, he's an NFL player. He's an NFL player and you see all these other quarterbacks out there and players out there that get all these second and third chances that are nowhere near as talented as him. It just feels like he's been blackballed out of the NFL. So, I definitely do not respect that."

Kaepernick, who recently turned 30 years old, appeared in 12 games for the 49ers in the 2016-17 season. Through the air he completed 59.2 percent of his passes and ended the year with 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. Kaepernick also added 468 yards and two more scores on the ground. 

"The only reason I could say he's not on a team is because the way he took a knee," James said. "That's the only reason. I watch football every Sunday, every Thursday, every Monday night. I see all these quarterbacks -- first-string, second-team, third-team quarterbacks -- that play sometimes when the starter gets hurt or are starters that play. Kap is better than a lot of those guys. Let's just be honest."

For his career, Kaepernick has thrown for 12,271 yards and 72 touchdowns to 30 interceptions. With his speed as a dual-threat quarterback, Kaepernick has also gained 2,300 yards rushing and 13 more touchdowns. 

Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals

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AP

Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals

TEMPE, Ariz. — Blaine Gabbert will get his first start for the Arizona Cardinals when they play the Texans in Houston on Sunday.

Coach Bruce Arians announced the decision after Friday's practice.

Drew Stanton, the starter the last two games, bruised his knee early in the Thursday night loss to Seattle last week. He stayed in the game but has been limited in practice all week.

Arians said it will be a game-time decision as to whether Stanton or recently signed Matt Barkley would be Gabbert's backup.

Gabbert will be making his 41st NFL start. He has a 9-31 record. He signed with Arizona last offseason and was the third quarterback until Carson Palmer broke his arm against the Los Angeles Rams in London and was lost for the season.