Former 49ers offensive lineman Len Rohde dies at 79


Former 49ers offensive lineman Len Rohde dies at 79

Len Rohde, who played 15 seasons with the 49ers as an offensive lineman and remained in the Bay Area after his retirement following the 1974 season, died on Saturday, May 13. He was 79.

San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York made the following statement on social media:

“My condolences go out to the Rohde family. Len was everything the 49ers stand for on and off the field. He will be missed.”

No player in 49ers history played more consecutive games than Rohde, who suited up for 208 games in a row from 1960 to ’74. Rohde shares the franchise record with former 49ers long-snapper Brian Jennings.

Rohde, who played college football at Utah State, was a fifth-round draft pick of the 49ers in 1960. In his first three seasons he backed up and split time with right tackle Bob St. Clair, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Rohde moved to left tackle in 1964, where he remained until his retirement. Rohde was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1970 after a season in which the 49ers set a then-NFL record for fewest sacks allowed (eight) in a season and won the NFC West title Rohde protected the blind side of quarterback John Brodie, who was named NFL Most Valuable Player.

Rohde won the Len Eshmont Award in 1974 as the team’s most courageous and inspirational player.

In the 2005 book, “San Francisco 49ers: Where Have You Gone?” Rohde spoke about his career.

“As an offensive tackle, there aren’t too many individual stats you can hang your hat on,” Rohde said. “But I guess playing in 208 games, winning the Len Eshmont, the NFC West, going to the Pro Bowl and the sack record aren’t bad.”

Rohde, a native of Palatine, Illinois, opened his first of six Burger King franchises in the Bay Area in 1976. He also was a majority owner of five Applebee’s restaurants.

“I probably wouldn’t have gone to college without football,” Rohde said. “I owe an awful lot to the game, and I was around people who had a great influence on me. I feel pretty grateful for the opportunities, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.”


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. 

Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals


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.