After addressing offense and defense, 49ers turn attention to special teams

After addressing offense and defense, 49ers turn attention to special teams

The 49ers on Friday added two players whose hopes of making the 53-man roster appear directly related to their contributions on special teams.

Linebacker Brock Coyle and safety Don Jones are under-the-radar signings who underwent physicals and finalized their two-year contracts in Santa Clara on Friday. They visited the 49ers along with higher-profile free agents Matt Barkley, a quarterback, and wide receiver Aldrick Robinson, who also signed contracts on Friday.

Coyle, 26, saw action in 12 games last season with three starts. His best game was against Buffalo in November, when he started at outside linebacker and recorded eight tackles. In three of the games in which Coyle appeared, he played solely on special teams.

The Seahawks did not tender Coyle as a restricted free agent, making him free to sign with the 49ers without providing Seattle any compensation.

Jones, who turns 26 in May, has appeared in 56 games since entering the NFL in 2013 as a seventh-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins.

In his first two seasons he was best-known for critical remarks directed toward Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to enter the NFL. After Sam was drafted in 2014, Jones tweeted “OMG” and “horrible.” Jones apologized to Sam, and the Dolphins fined him and excused him from the team until he underwent educational training.

After playing 16 games with Miami as a rookie, he was waived and ended up with New England for nine games before returning to Miami. He has also spent time with New Orleans, Cleveland and Houston.

Last season, Jones (5-11, 195) appeared in nine games with the Texans and still tied for the team-lead with 11 tackles on special teams. He added two more special-teams tackles in the postseason.

Click HERE for the 49ers’ comings and goings during free agency.


49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine


49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine

The NFL fined 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon $24,309 for unnecessary roughness in last week’s game against Washington.

Garçon, who was not penalized on the play, lowered his helmet and struck Washington safety Montae Nicholson at the end of an 8-yard pass reception in the second quarter.

In 2013, the NFL passed a rule that bans the ball carrier from initiating contact with the crown of his helmet in the open field.

Nicholson’s helmet flew off and he remained on the ground for a couple of minutes. He was evaluated for a possible concussion and shoulder injury. However, Nicholson was cleared and he returned to action.

After the play, Garçon and Washington safety D.J. Swearinger exchanged words, and Swearinger took a swipe at Garçon’s facemask. Swearinger was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The NFL fined Swearinger $9,115 for unnecessary roughness.

Ronnie Lott: Chance to show Dwight Clark how much we care


Ronnie Lott: Chance to show Dwight Clark how much we care

SANTA CLARA – In less than a year since a group of former 49ers players came together to form the Golden Heart Fund, the non-profit organization has provided valuable assistance.

“We’ve made some progress with the idea of knowing there are some people in need, so we’ve been able to make some grants to some of the ex-Niners,” Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott told NBC Sports Bay Area.

“We’ve been able to respond. This is more about us being able to give guys the ability to know they can have, as (former 49ers linebacker and Golden Heart Fund board member) Ron Ferrari says, a hand up not a hand out.”

The organization is in the midst of a fund-raising drive this week in conjunction with "Dwight Clark Day" on Sunday. The 49ers face the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium, and Clark will be the guest of honor. More than 35 players from the 49ers' first Super Bowl championship team are expected to be in attendance.

Clark played nine seasons for the 49ers and provided the most memorable play in franchise history with “The Catch” against Dallas in the 1981 NFC Championship game, which propelled the organization to its first Super Bowl. Clark served as a front-office executive for a decade after his playing days.

In March, Clark announced he was diagnosed with ALS. He is scheduled to attend Sunday’s game and make some remarks at halftime from a suite.

“It’s unbelievable we are having an opportunity to celebrate an incredible day for this gentleman,” Lott said. “We can all say there was a moment in time in which we stood on his shoulders after making that catch. Now, we get a chance to lift him up a little bit and let him know how much we all care.”

Lott said Clark has been a champion of the Golden Heart Fund from its inception. Past and current 49ers ownership has supported the organization, which provides financial support for former 49ers players in times of physical, emotional and financial need.

“It’s the spirit of Dwight,” Lott said. “It’s more about the funds going in through his efforts. He’s paying it forward.”

--The public can made a direct contribution to the fund at GoldenHeartFund.org.

--Proceeds from the 50/50 raffle at Sunday’s game will benefit the Golden Heart Fund.

--Twenty-five percent of proceeds from the sales of Dwight Clark apparel purchased on game day will go to the fund.

--Half of all proceeds from admission to the 49ers Museum at Levi’s Stadium throughout the year will go to the charity.

-- On Sunday, Nov. 19, Levi’s Stadium and race grand marshal Roger Craig will host the first Golden Heart 4.9K Run with all proceeds from the event going to the Golden Heart Fund. Runners can register GoldenHeartRun.com.