49ers

Former Patriots, Broncos linebacker signs three-year deal with 49ers

Former Patriots, Broncos linebacker signs three-year deal with 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers announced they have signed LB Dekoda Watson to a three-year deal.

Watson (6-2, 245), a seven-year veteran, has played in 89 games (seven starts) and registered 88 tackles, four sacks, four passes defensed, four fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles to go along with 50 special teams tackles. In 2016, he played in nine games for the Denver Broncos where he finished with six tackles and a team-high 11 special teams tackles.

Watson was originally drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the seventh round (217th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. He spent four seasons (2010-13) with Tampa Bay before signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars on March 12, 2014. He appeared in nine games with the Jaguars before his release from the team on November 11, 2014. Watson then signed with the Dallas Cowboys on November 14, 2014, where he spent the remainder of the season, appearing in one regular season and two postseason games for the Cowboys. In 2015, he appeared in three regular season games with the New England Patriots in addition to two postseason contests.

He signed with the Broncos on May 16, 2016.

A 29-year-old native of Aiken, SC, Watson played collegiately at Florida State University for four seasons (2006-09). He appeared in 47 games (32 starts) at FSU and finished his career with 184 tackles, 11.5 sacks, two interceptions, 10 passes defensed and three fumble recoveries.

As a senior in 2009, Watson registered 65 tackles, 6.5 sacks, one pass defensed and one fumble recovery while earning Second-Team All-ACC honors.

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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.