49ers

49ers rookie DB gets way too physical during practice against Broncos

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AP

49ers rookie DB gets way too physical during practice against Broncos

SANTA CLARA – If the play had occurred three days later, 49ers rookie safety Adrian Colbert would have been fined $24,309 for an illegal hit.

The 49ers and Denver Broncos held a joint practice Wednesday on the 49ers’ practice fields behind Levi’s Stadium. Both teams were wearing pads, but live tackling was not allowed.

Colbert, a seventh-round draft pick from Miami, temporarily forgot the ground rules established by coaches Kyle Shanahan and Vance Joseph.

During a 7-on-7 period early in practice, Colbert launched himself at defenseless receiver Steven Scheu, a first-year tight end, and leveled him on an incomplete pass. Both players were OK. Players on both teams started pushing and shoving, but it did not turn into a melee.

“I thought our coaches handled it really well,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “First of all, I want to say, Adrian is a tremendous kid. I went over there and said, ‘Adrian, that’s not how we practice.’

“We talked about how we were going to conduct ourselves and he said, ‘Hey, I just lost my head. I was just tracking the ball.’ Next thing you know, he was there. I can’t tell you I haven’t been there myself.”

The 49ers held out Colbert out of some drills to “let things cool down” before he re-entered practice.

The 49ers and Broncos held the first of two days of practices. The teams meet Saturday night at Levi's Stadium in the second exhibition game for both teams.

QUICK SLANTS
--The 49ers’ defense had a very good day against the Broncos, who are trying to figure out whether Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch is their top quarterback. Neither player got much going against the 49ers’ defense on Wednesday.

--The 49ers’ secondary, including cornerbacks Rashard Robinson, Dontae Johnson and K’Waun Williams, held up well in coverage against Broncos wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. The Broncos did not shake free for a deep pass completion at any point during the two-hour practice.

--Jaquiski Tartt was back with the first–team defense at free safety. He recorded an interception of Siemian on a pass intended for receiver Kalif Raymond that Robinson tipped into the air.

--Robinson was in coverage during a 7-on-7 drill in which Thomas caught a short touchdown. But Robinson came back on the next play to break up a pass.

--Solomon Thomas and Dekoda Watson got consistent pressure on the quarterback. Pita Taumoepenu routinely got past Broncos offensive linemen during one-on-one pass-rush drills.

--Cornerback Will Davis intercepted a pass from No. 3 quarterback Kyle Sloter during a 7-on-7 drill intended for rookie receiver Isaiah McKenzie.

--Linebacker Reuben Foster broke up a Siemian pass for tight end Virgil Green over the middle. In one-on-one drills, he earlier intercepted a Siemian pass for veteran running back Jamal Charles.

--Rookie cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon broke up two passes, including one on which he went high to get his hands on a Siemian pass for Jordan Taylor at the sideline.

--Newly signed cornerback Asa Jackson held up well in one-on-one coverage drills on multiple deep passes.

--Hall of Famer Warren Sapp, a friend of John Lynch, worked with 49ers defensive linemen.

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.