Eddie DeBartolo: Jed York knows what he has to do

Eddie DeBartolo: Jed York knows what he has to do

SANTA CLARA – Former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo expressed confidence team CEO Jed York, his nephew, will make the adjustments needed to get the organization back on track.

“Jed will be fine,” DeBartolo said during an appearance on CSN Bay Area’s “49ers Insider Podcast.”

“I don’t talk to him as much as I used to, but he is a very, very, very smart young man, and I think he knows what he has to do, and he knows the moves that have to be made.”

The 49ers (1-8) take an eight-game losing streak into Sunday's game against the New England Patriots at Levi’s Stadium. The longest losing streak in 49ers history is nine games, which occurred in 1978 during DeBartolo’s second season of ownership. DeBartolo, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year, will be honored at the game.

“Winning becomes something you get used to,” said DeBartolo, whose teams won five Super Bowls. “Unfortunately, when you lose, it’s hard to break that, too.

“I think Jed truthfully is going to do what he has to do to turn things around. And I think he’s doing it now. There are some distractions. They have the nucleus of some really good football players on that team. And I think Coach (Chip) Kelly is going to do what he has to do.”

One of the apparent distractions to which DeBartolo alluded was Colin Kaepernick’s protest of taking a knee during the national anthem to bring awareness to racial inequalities in the United States.

DeBartolo said he believes Kaepernick has a right to express his feelings. But DeBartolo said he thinks Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh would not have been as supportive.

“I’m the type of person that believes that everybody that is born and raised in this country has a right to express their opinions and have their own opinions,” DeBartolo said.

“Now, as far as if it happened during my ownership, I would probably still take that position. I’m not so sure Coach Walsh would have. Coach Walsh was not the type of person that put up with situations that were distracting to the team. I cannot speak for him, God rest his soul, but I do know how he thought, and I do know how his great mind worked.

"And I don’t know what he would have done in a situation like that. But I don’t think he would have been happy with it. I think he would have done something very proactive. That’s just my opinion, though.”

Terrell Owens selects former 49ers coach as his Hall of Fame presenter


Terrell Owens selects former 49ers coach as his Hall of Fame presenter

Terrell Owens has selected former 49ers special teams and wide receivers coach George Stewart as his presenter into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“He knew what to get out of me,” Owens told the Hall of Fame.

“He knows who I am. To know who Terrell Owens is, you have to spend some time with him. . . George Stewart became a father figure to me.”

Owens was elected into the Hall of Fame in February. He will enter the Hall of Fame in a class that also includes wide receiver Randy Moss, linebackers Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher and Robert Brazile, safety Brian Dawkins, guard Jerry Kramer, and contributor Bobby Beathard.

Owens played special teams under Stewart’s direction as a rookie after coming to the 49ers in 1996.

From 2000 to ’02, Stewart worked as the 49ers’ wide receivers coach. Owens was selected to three consecutive All-Pro teams and Pro Bowls during that time. Owens ranks No. 2 all time behind Jerry Rice with 15,934 receiving yards. He is third all-time with 153 receiving touchdowns.

Stewart is set to enter his 30th NFL season as an assistant coach and his second as special-teams coordinator of the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Class of 2018 will be enshrined inside Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday, Aug. 4.

Sherman makes his concern over Reid's free-agency status loud and clear


Sherman makes his concern over Reid's free-agency status loud and clear

Safety Eric Reid, who has 69 career starts and one Pro Bowl appearance in his five-year NFL career, remains available on the open market more than a week after the opening of free agency.

Reid has received no reported interest from NFL teams in what has been an unusually soft market for free-agent safeties. But, with Reid, there is another variable that could be playing a factor.

Reid was at the forefront of the social activism that has been a major storyline in the NFL since the beginning of the 2016 season. Reid and former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the playing of the national anthem in protest of racial inequality in America.

Reid has remained outspoken and has taken a knee as a way to “make people uncomfortable about the issues.” Reid has been clear his protest has nothing to do with the flag or the anthem.

“The anthem is just a vehicle to get us to have those conversations,” Reid told NBC Sports Bay Area last season. “It’s the platform we have. It’s the only time we have to get the eyeballs on us to do that. If we just did locker-room talks afterward, nobody would even know. Strategically, this is the only way we thought we could do it.”

Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman, who signed a three-year contract with the 49ers on March 10, had been the Seattle Seahawks’ player representative. He is a vice president of the NFL Players Association. Reid was the 49ers’ union representative.

Sherman said he is keeping a close eye on Reid’s situation.

“We are concerned, because he played at a high level for just about every year that he’s played in this league,” Sherman said on Tuesday. “He’s made enough plays to be signed with a team and to make his money. He deserves his money. Safeties make a certain amount. I would think he’s top-five, top-10 safeties in this league, so he deserves to be paid accordingly.

“So there is concern there, because you would think a player of his caliber and his quality would be picked up by now. I think great teams are still looking and people are still looking for players. I’m praying that he gets picked up. But if he doesn’t, then I think there will be a conversation with the league office and the union on potential league action.”

Kaepernick never got so much as an opportunity to compete for an NFL roster spot during training camp last season. Could Reid, 26, be heading for the same fate?

Reid addressed the issue last week on social media:

“The notion that I can be a great signing for your team for cheap, not because of my skill set but because I’ve protested systemic oppression, is ludicrous. If you think is, then your mindset is part of the problem too.”

The 49ers have not placed a priority on re-signing Reid. The club already has potential starting safeties Jimmie Ward, Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert under contract for the upcoming season.

Reid, whom the 49ers traded up to select with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, has 10 career interceptions. He appeared to thrive last season in run support as a safety who played closer to the line of scrimmage.