SANTA CLARA -- While working out around the 49ers facility over the last year or two, Joe Staley would often see Ray McDonald and Justin Smith throwing punches into training mitts worn by strength and conditioning coach Mark Uyeyama or one of their defensive teammates.It's nothing unusual. All linemen need strong and quick hands, and many have turned to boxing or some form of martial arts training to help foster that.Andre Carter flashed his black belt skills in Tae Kwon Do on the 49ers practice fields a decade ago. Aldon Smith, the Defensive Rookie of the Year, came to the 49ers with both boxing and martial arts training in his background.A five-year veteran of the league, Staley had never opted for a boxing workout. But when he and his offensive linemates noticed a difference in their defensive counterparts during practices last season, they decided it was time to start."We've really seen, especially in Ray McDonald, the carry over in how tight his hands are and how it's really escalated his game," Staley said. "We kind of brought it to (offensive line coach Mike Solari), and he saw Mark working with Ray one day and was like, 'Yes, we need to be doing that.' "With their position coach on board, all of the 49ers offensive linemen started throwing different combinations Uyeyama's way during this year's offseason workouts. Staley admits, it was awkward at first. Like Staley, most of the O-line has never boxed before so it's something they're all getting used to."It's fun though. It's good for keeping the hands up and getting the hands on," is how Alex Boone describes it. "I like it. It's a lot of fun. A workout."After seeing the difference it's made for the 49ers defensive line, it's a workout they're going to stick with."I think it's going to have the same effect on us. We're all about hand punch, hand placement," Staley explained. "Any little thing we can do that can make us better football players we're willing to try it."
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.”
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.”