Debuts in Indy: Witherspoon suits up for first NFL game; Taumoepenu also active


Debuts in Indy: Witherspoon suits up for first NFL game; Taumoepenu also active

INDIANAPOLIS -- Rookie cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, the 49ers' third-round pick, is set to make his NFL debut on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.

The 49ers did not announce any changes to their starting lineup, so Witherspoon's contributions in his first game could come solely on special teams with Dontae Johnon and Rashard Robinson remaining as the starters.

Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, who last week sustained his fourth concussion since the summer of 2016, was cleared through the league's return-to-play protocol. He is active for Sunday's game.

Rookie outside linebacker/defensive end Pita Taumoepenu is also active for the first time in his career. Taumoepenu was a sixth-round draft pick.

Linebacker Reuben Foster (ankle) and safety Eric Reid (knee) were declared inactive. The 49ers believe both players could return to practice this week.

Here are the inactive players for both teams:

#49ers inactives
S Eric Reid (knee)
LB Reuben Foster (ankle)
LB Dekoda Watson (groin)
S Adrian Colbert (hamstring)
LB Mark Nzeocha
WR Kendrick Bourne
G Erik Magnuson

Colts inactives
QB Andrew Luck
TE Jack Doyle
CB Nate Hairston
RB Matt Jones
G Kyle Kalis
WR Chester Rogers
CB Quincy Wilson

Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'


Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'

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.”

Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem


Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem

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.”