49ers' Draughn rebounds from demotion to earn start in finale

49ers' Draughn rebounds from demotion to earn start in finale

SANTA CLARA – Throughout Shaun Draughn’s six-year NFL career, he has received a lot of bad news.

Draughn has been waived by seven different teams. Things did not get that bad with the 49ers earlier this season, but after opening the season as the team’s No. 2 running back, he was demoted.

DuJuan Harris and Mike Davis surpassed Draughn on the depth chart early in the regular season. But Draughn eventually regained his status as the top backup to Carlos Hyde.

Draughn is in line for his seventh career start on Sunday when the 49ers close out the regular season against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium. Hyde is out with a MCL sprain of his left knee. Draughn caught six passes for 48 yards in the 49ers' 22-21 comeback victory over the Los Angeles Rams last week to snap a 13-game losing streak.

“It’s one of those things where you have to keep working,” Draughn said. “I’ve been told, ‘No,’ a lot of times in my career but it never stopped me from preparing the way I prepare and coming to work the way I come to work. God allowed me another opportunity to be where I am now, so I’ll try to take advantage of it.”

After signing with the 49ers in November 2015, Draughn set career-highs with 78 carries for 273 yards rushing, and 27 catches for 176 yards.

Draughn already has a career-high with 195 receiving yards this season with 25 receptions. He is averaging just 2.9 yards a carry with 155 yards on 53 rushing attempts.

Coach Chip Kelly said Draughn has tightened up his pass protection as the season has progressed, and that has enabled him to climb up the depth chart.

“He’s worked really hard to get back to it,” Kelly said. “I think he missed some things early in some blitz pickups but has worked really hard with coach (Tom) Rathman on that. (He’s) a guy that we’ve got total confidence in in being back there on third down and he’s done a nice job with it.”

Draughn is scheduled for free agency at the end of the season, so a strong showing Sunday could help him find a spot for the 2017 season.

“Any time you get to start in this league, it’s big,” Draughn said.

Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'


Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'

NEW YORK — The NFL is not changing its national anthem policy to require players to stand during the national anthem.

Commissioner Roger Goodell and several owners said Wednesday at the league’s fall meetings that altering the language from “should stand” to “must stand” was not discussed.

New York Giants owner John Mara noted that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones “spoke at length” to the other owners about the anthem issue. Jones has said any Dallas player who doesn’t stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” would not be playing.

Goodell reiterated that the league and its 32 clubs “believe everyone should stand for the national anthem. It’s an important part of our policy and the game. It’s important to honor our flag and our country and I think our fans expect that.”

Asked about any owners who threatened discipline for players who didn’t stand, Goodell said the owners didn’t discuss it.

“There was a fair amount of conversation and I think our clubs see it the same way. I can’t deal with hypotheticals,” Goodell said.

Reminded that President Donald Trump tweeted again Wednesday about the demonstrations during the anthem, Goodell said there was nothing unpatriotic about his league.

“Everyone feels strongly about our country and have pride,” he said, adding the NFL is “not afraid of tough conversations.

“What we are trying to stay out of is politics.”

Goodell noted that only six or seven players are still kneeling or are involved in protests.

“We hope we will continue to work to put that at zero,” he said.

On Tuesday, in an unprecedented move for a league meeting, a group of 11 owners and more than a dozen players met for more than two hours at NFL headquarters. Among the topics discussed was enhancing the players’ platforms for speaking out on social issues.

“I understand the way they feel about these issues,” Goodell said Wednesday. “We feel the same about patriotism and the flag and I believe our players feel that way. We have a great deal of support for the efforts of our players.”

Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem


Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is again criticizing the NFL over players kneeling during the national anthem.

Trump said on Twitter Wednesday that the “NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem.”

He adds: “Total disrespect for our great country!”

Trump appeared to be responding to the NFL annual fall meeting on Tuesday. The league invited players and representatives from their union to discuss social issues.

The topic of the national anthem was not discussed at length. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said owners did not ask players to commit to standing during the anthem.

Trump has suggested the owners should “fire” any players who knelt during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”