49ers' Williams: 'One of those things ... football happens'


49ers' Williams: 'One of those things ... football happens'

SAN FRANCISCO -- Kyle Williams had returned all of two punts for the 49ers this season. Punt return duties, after all, were the domain of Ted Ginn.But with Ginn out after suffering a knee injury in last week's playoff victory over New Orleans, Williams was forced into service in the NFC championship game.And Williams lost two fumbles, including the back-breaking turnover with 9:32 to play in overtime at the San Francisco 24-yard line when Jacquian Williams stripped him of the ball and Devin Thomas recovered it. Five snaps later, Lawrence Tynes converted a 31-yard field goal to send the New York Giants to the Super Bowl against New England and the 49ers home."It was just one of those situations where I caught the ball, tried to hit it up field, tried to make a play and it ended up for the worst," a soft-spoken Williams said in a somber 49ers locker room.RATTO: Fair or not, Williams cast as 49ers villain
And the rainy weather?"I think everybody handled the weather OK," he said. "I don't know if that play was because of that or not. It was just one of those situations where the guy made a play. He caught me slipping and, you know, got the ball out."Earlier, in the fourth quarter, Williams muffed a Steve Weatherford punt, the ball glancing off his knee as he crept too close to it. Initially, it was called down, but replays showed it had indeed touched Williams, and the Giants had the ball at the 49ers 29-yard line after an alert Thomas recovered it.Five plays later, Eli Manning hit Mario Manningham for a 17-yard touchdown.Williams' two turnovers resulted in 10 points for the Giants. Not that his teammates were laying the blame at his feet. At least, not publicly."We're all a team," said defensive tackle Justin Smith. "We win together, we lose together, so that's how we do that."Quarterback Alex Smith was at a loss at what to say to Williams."What can you say?" Smith said with a shrug. "Obviously, we all know how committed he is, how much he wants to win, what part of this team he is, so it's not on him."And for that, Williams was thankful."You know, everybody in here -- it shows the resolve of this team -- everybody in here's come to me and told me to keep my head up, told me that's not on me, and we'll move forward," Williams said. "But it's just one of those things you hate to be the last guy to have the ball and to give it up that way, in that fashion, and to lose a game of this magnitude but it is what it is and we're going to move forward as a team and everybody in here has come to my back and kind of got me and patted me on the shoulder and said, it's not on you. So I couldn't be happier with my teammates."So what about being uncomfortable, given his relative inexperience returning punts this season?"(I felt) very comfortable," he said. "It wasn't any situation where I felt out of place and I think, throughout the game I showed that. It's just one of those things, man, football happens."

49ers claim former Jaguars defensive lineman off waivers


49ers claim former Jaguars defensive lineman off waivers

The San Francisco 49ers' defensive line will have a new member coming off of the bye week.

The 49ers claimed defensive lineman Sheldon Day of waivers from the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday. The Jaguars waived Day on Saturday in order to make room for the return of rookie wide receiver Dede Westbrook off of injured reserve. 

Day, a 2016 fourth round pick, posted 11 tackles and two tackles in 22 games over the last two seasons with Jacksonville. He played fewer than 30 snaps in all seven games with the Jaguars this season. 

Defensive lineman Arik Armstead, defensive tackle Tank Carradine, and defensive tackle Chris Jones are all on injured reserve, while defensive lineman Aaron Lynch missed the 49ers' last game in Week 10.

San Francisco ranks 22nd in the league in sacks, 23rd in pass defense, and 31st in rush defense. 

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


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.