49ers mourn loss of Konrad Reuland


49ers mourn loss of Konrad Reuland

SANTA CLARA -- Former teammates of Konrad Reuland reacted Tuesday inside the 49ers locker room with shock and sadness over his death. He was 29.

Reuland suffered a brain aneurysm Nov. 28 and had surgery the next day. Reuland died on Monday.

Reuland, who finished his college career at Stanford, signed with the 49ers in 2011 as an undrafted free agent. He was among the 49ers' final cuts but was signed to the practice squad.

A communications major, Reuland originally attended Notre Dame out of Mission Viejo High School. The New York Jets acquired Reuland and he spent two seasons in New York, catching 12 passes for 90 yards. He played with the Baltimore Ravens last year and went to camp with the Indianapolis Colts this summer.

“That first year (2011) I spent quite a bit of time with him and knew him pretty well,” 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said. “(I) had a couple of conversations with him since he left.

“I heard the news about him this morning. It’s just one of those tragedies that you don’t see coming and you hope never happens to anybody. He was always such a great person. Very kind-hearted. It’s painful, and I send my best wishes to his family.”

Linebacker Shayne Skov was teammates and friends with Reuland and his younger brother, Warren, who also played football at Stanford.

“It’s definitely difficult,” Skov said. “He was good-natured. He always had a positive attitude. He loved to debate and argue, but it was always in good fun and jest.”

Nick Bellore, who signed with the 49ers last year after beginning his career with the Jets, said he grew close to Reuland during their two seasons as teammates.

“It’s just terrible,” Bellore said. “You feel for his family. I knew them. What a great guy he was. It’s just really rough. I was in New York with him for two or three years and stayed in touch with him. It’s one of those freak things you can’t explain.

“He was such a smart guy and caring teammate and friend. He’d do anything for you. He was just someone you could always rely on. Great sense of humor. You don’t always keep in touch with a lot of guys once you move on from teams, but he was one of those guys you kept in touch with and checked up on. He was just an overall good dude."

Reuland was born in Ohio, but spent two years living in a small village outside of Dusseldorf, Germany, between eighth- and ninth-grade school years.

"He was fluent in German and really sharp," Bellore said. "He lived abroad growing up for a while. That was interesting to hear his stories about that. He was just an overall good dude. It’s super-sad."

Frank Gore returns home for his 14th NFL season


Frank Gore returns home for his 14th NFL season

Frank Gore is returning home to, in all likelihood, finish his professional football career.

Gore, 34, signed a one-year contract to enter his 14th NFL season with his hometown Miami Dolphins, the team announced Friday.

Gore grew up in Coconut Grove, Florida, and attended Coral Gables High School before playing collegiately at the University of Miami.

He played the first 10 NFL seasons with the 49ers and is the franchise’s all-time leading rusher. Gore ranks fifth in NFL history with 14,026 rushing yards – just 75 yards behind No. 4 Curtis Martin.

After rushing for 11,073 yards and 64 touchdowns with the 49ers, the club declined to offer him a multi-year contract following the 2014 season. Gore played the past three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts.

Gore remains one of the most popular players in 49ers history. When asked recently if he would be willing to “retire” as a member of the 49ers after his final game, Gore reacted enthusiastically about the possibility.

1, Emmitt Smith 18,355
2, Walter Payton 16,726
3, Barry Sanders 15,269
4, Curtis Martin 14,101
5, Frank Gore 14,026

49ers increase competition for starting guard positions


49ers increase competition for starting guard positions

The 49ers are the fifth team to give Jonathan Cooper a chance after he arrived in the NFL as the No. 7 overall pick of the Arizona Cardinals in the 2013 draft.

Cooper, 28, caught the attention of the 49ers with his career-high 13 starts last season with the Dallas Cowboys. The 49ers signed him to a one-year, $4.95 million contract this week.

“We signed him to compete for one of the guard spots as a starter,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said Thursday at Stanford's pro day. “He played very well in our minds for Dallas last year and kind of resurrected his career. He’s battled injuries, but we really like the way he played, and we think he’s a very good fit for what we do. So we were pleased to add him.”

The 49ers plan to take it slowly this offseason with Cooper, who underwent surgery after tearing the medial-collateral ligament in his left knee during the final game of the season. The 49ers report for the offseason program in mid-April.

The 49ers are certain to have at least two new starters on the offensive line. Former New York Giants center Weston Richburg was signed to replace Daniel Kilgore, who was subsequently traded to the Miami Dolphins. Brandon Fusco, who started 16 games at right guard, signed with the Atlanta Falcons as an unrestricted free agent.

Laken Tomlinson has a chance to hold onto a starting job. Acquired shortly before the start of the regular season in a trade from the Detroit Lions, Tomlinson quickly moved into the starting lineup at left guard and started the final 15 games. Tomlinson was a first-round draft pick of the Lions in 2015.

“Laken played very well the longer he was there,” Lynch said. “I think people forget with Laken, he came here in Week 1. He was kind of force-fed. We didn’t have many options. But we saw a guy get better throughout the season. He’ll get his opportunity.”

Joshua Garnett, a first-round pick of the 49ers in 2016, spent last season on injured reserve due to an a knee injury sustained in training camp. The 49ers challenged Garnett to get in better physical condition. He has been cleared for football activity.

“Joshua Garnett has been working extremely hard, so he’ll be in that mix,” Lynch said. “He did a great job embracing the time he has last year to improve as a player. He remade his body and we're looking forward to see him get after it in the offseason.

“I think he’s excited about it. He’s feeling sexy, as he says.”

Erik Magnuson, 24, won a spot on the 49ers’ roster after signing as an undrafted rookie from Michigan. Magnuson could enter into the competition at guard. He displayed unique versatility in his first season, starting two games at right tackle before sustaining a season-ending foot injury. He can also serve as a backup center.

And, perhaps, the 49ers are not finished adding to the competition. The team owns the No. 9 overall selection, and Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson could be on the radar in the unlikely event he is not selected within the top eight picks.

When asked if the 49ers could also add another player to the mix with a draft pick, Lynch answered, “We’ll see. We’re always looking to get better there.”