49ers

Alex Smith: 'I feel good'

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Alex Smith: 'I feel good'

SANTA CLARA -- Alex Smith spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since sustaining a concussion Sunday against the St. Louis Rams. He has been cleared for limited practice.

"I feel good. It's better," Smith said.

What's your status?
"Just going along with the process right now. Nothing has been decided. It's a long process. It's up to the doctors. But I'm just doing what they're telling me and moving along."

Obviously, you've been cleared for on-field activity. What enabled you to get on the field today?
"They have their certain tests. You meet with the neurologist. Impact test, and stuff like that. And depending how you do, and symptoms, the next step is out there, physical activity."

What's an impact test?
"It's our baseline test that we take."

Did you see multiple neurologists?
"No, I only saw the neurologist up here at Stanford."

Did you take part in full practice?
"Contact, obviously, is the final straw. But I was able to go out there today. I had the black jersey on, which is a little redundant, seeings as how we don't get hit in practice. But I feel good out there."

What did you feel and how did you know it was a pretty good hit and you needed to be looked at?
"It's tough to describe. For me, the vision was the biggest thing, for sure. (I've) taken a lot of hits over the years, and all of a sudden to try to play quarterback and your vision is not what it should be is difficult. And for me ultimately it did not get better. It was like one of these things I could blink off and my focus was returning. In fact, I went on the sideline and sat down and it seemed to continue to get worse. It wasn't getting better. Ultimately, I didn't feel it was good for me or more importantly it was not good for the team to go out there. I didn't feel like I could help us much."

When did your vision get better?
"After the game."

Were you able to drive right away?
"I think I could've, but I didn't drive home, though."

We all saw the Jo-Lonn Dunbar hit. Do you think that hit contributed?
"That's a great question. It's all kind of speculation. It certainly didn't help. It certainly, yeah, talking to the neurologist, yeah, it probably contributed for sure. Whether it loosens you up and primes you for the next one that's not as big, don't know. I felt fine after that, though. I definitely know I took a big hit. But vision was fine. The sneak was definitely when I came up and my eyesight, kind of first gone wrong.

"I tried to blink that one off and thought it might go away and played the four of five plays after that. That series ends and I come off to the sideline and tried to collect myself and see what's what. And it continued to get worse and worse. That's when I got evaluated."

How do you feel this week compared to last week at this time?
"The same. Totally the same."

When you say you went to Stanford, was that Dr. Daniel Garza (team physician who is on the Stanford staff)?
"No, no. Separate neurologist up there, independent of the team."

Were there other symptoms that were concerning to you?
"Nothing with the memory. Definite headache, nausea, stuff like that after. But no memory loss."

"I feel good. I felt good today. Everything I've kind of gone through, I feel good. It's not up to me, though. It's a better question for the doctors. They have a lot of stuff they're looking at. I'm not really sure what my answers are going to tell them. They're checking my symptoms."

Is it safe to say you're not concerned?
"At this point, I feel like it's early. I feel it's early in the week. We got some days to make a decision. I feel good though."

If if were up to you and the game was tomorrow, do you feel like you could play?
"It's kind of a pointless question. It's not up to me. I feel good. Like I said, I felt like I could go out there today and was fine."

Did they tell you when they are going to make the decision?
"No."

Were these symptoms similar to what you experienced last year after the Dallas game?
"More severe. Similar in the sense that it was my vision. Last year, was not even close to this, though, I felt like. Like I said, last year I didn't think it was anything. It was new, but I really felt like I could continue to play and it wasn't anything . . . I didn't even know to report, I guess. This year, for sure, I felt like I couldn't go out there and play."

For a young player, it's always, "Coach, put me back in the game." Is it tough decision to report a problem and keep your future in mind?
"To be honest, it's not so much that. I think that's the way you should be thinking, but for me ultimately, it's tough to play quarterback without your eyes, when you can't see and see well. It's 22 guys screaming around out there. You see bits and pieces of things and flashes of things and those all help you make decisions. All of a sudden it was a bunch of stuff out there that I couldn't make out. And I just felt I couldn't help the team."

How did you complete three passes in a row after that?
"That's a great question. I have no idea. I mean, it wasn't like I was blind. I don't want to make it seem like that. But I certainly didn't feel like I should go back out there. And I didn't think it was going to continue. I was very concerned I'd go back out there and hurt us. I didn't think it would continue down the road."

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.