49ers

Goodwin honored as McKittrick Award winner

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Goodwin honored as McKittrick Award winner

Center Jonathan Goodwin, whom the 49ers acquired as a free agent in the offseason, was honored Monday night as winner of the Bobb McKittrick Award.Right guard Adam Snyder congratulated Goodwin on Twitter and included a photo of the menu for the dinner held in his recognition. Goodwin responded, "I feel honored when (I) look at some of the names on that list. Thanks to my OL teammates."
The 49ers have yet to announce any of their team award winners.
The McKittrick Award is given annually to the 49ers offensive lineman who best exemplifies the dedication, excellence and commitment of offensive line coach Bobb McKittrick, who coached 21 seasons with the 49ers. McKittrick, who died in 2000, was the line coach for each of the 49ers' five Super Bowl titles.

Coach Jim Harbaugh last week referred to Goodwin as "a block of granite up there for us." Goodwin spent the past five seasons with the New Orleans Saints, the team the 49ers defeated Saturday in the NFC divisional playoff round."You're happy, you're extremely happy," Goodwin said Monday. "But at the same time, you see some of your best friends' season end. So it's kind of bittersweet."When 49ers center David Baas signed as a free agent with the New York Giants, the 49ers filled the spot by acquiring Goodwin with a three-year, 10.9 million contract.A bronze plaque of McKittrick hangs in the 49ers locker room surrounded by photographs of McKittrick Award winners:1981 Keith Fahnhorst
1983 John Ayers
1984 Randy Cross
1985 Fred Quillan
1987 Bubba Paris
1988 Steve Wallace
1989 Harris Barton
1990 Guy McIntyre
1991 Jesse Sapolu
1992 Guy McIntyre
1993 Harris Barton
1994 Derrick Deese
1995 Kirk Scrafford
1996 Jesse Sapolu
1997 Ray Brown
1998 Chris Dalman
1999 Ray Brown
2000 Jeremy Newberry
2001 Ray Brown
2002 Scott Gragg
2003 Jeremy Newberry
2004 Kyle Kosier
2005 Jeremy Newberry
2006 Eric Heitmann
2007 Eric Heitmann
2008 Eric Heitmann
2009 David Baas
2010 David Baas
2011 Jonathan Goodwin

What rookie CB Ahkello Witherspoon did to earn role in 49ers' defense

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USATSI

What rookie CB Ahkello Witherspoon did to earn role in 49ers' defense

SANTA CLARA – Rookie cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon did not win the right to suit up for the 49ers’ first four games. Behind the scenes, he made it his mission to earn a contributing role.

“He really started to get better with his coordination with his feet from the bump-and-run coverage and from playing ‘off.’ There’s always a light that goes on,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “And we felt that for a couple weeks from Ahkello. Once he did that, he definitely earned the right to be out there.”

The plan was for Witherspoon to rotate into the action and share time with starters Rashard Robinson and Dontae Johnson. But he played just six snaps on Oct. 8 against Indianapolis before sustaining a concussion. Witherspoon returned to action last week and played 34 of the 49ers’ 74 snaps last week at Washington. He showed enough to coninue getting significant playing time.

“He’s earned the right to play,” 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said. “He works his tail off in practice. He’s so deliberate in his approach. Whether it was scout team, whether it was team reps, whether it was walk-through, it didn’t matter.”

Witherspoon, the 49ers’ third-round draft pick at No. 66 overall, had a pedestrian training camp. Taking his lumps in August showed him what he needed to do to get into real games in October.

“I really turned up my focus, my intent every day in practice,” Witherspoon said. “What I did in camp wasn’t good enough to be a starting corner in this league, and that’s what I learned.

“I really focused on being aware of what it takes. That’s something I implemented these last four weeks -- that every day focus and competing on every single ball, and taking the mindset that no ball’s caught on me. I think that’s really helped my game, and helped these coaches trust me, as well.”

Witherspoon expected Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins to attack him. But of the 25 plays he was in coverage last week, Witherspoon saw only three passes come his way. He surrendered two receptions for 33 yards, according to Pro Football Focus.

“Just being a rookie, I thought it was going to come, where they were going to be taking that one shot,” Witherspoon said. “I kept waiting for it to happen, but it didn’t happen. Going up against a smart quarterback, I know he saw me out there.

“There were a few times he looked my way in coverage. I wasn’t perfect in coverage, but I think he was looking. And I thought I did a good job.”

Witherspoon (6 foot 3, 195 pounds) is comfortable lining up on either side of the field, which he did during his college career at Colorado. He said he has not put on much weight but he has added more muscle, which has allowed him a better chance to compete physically against bigger NFL receivers.

Witherspoon fully expects to be challenged on Sunday when he is expected to see considerable playing time against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium. Witherspoon figures Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott will be paying particularly close attention any time Dez Bryant lines up on his side of the field.

“They’re going to be looking at the ‘rook,’ ” Witherspoon said.

Said Shanahan, “They’re going to try to do that with all our DBs, so I don’t think it even matters who’s out there. They’re going to attack when we’re in single safety, which we are the majority of the time. They’re going to go outside and keep going out there until you stop them.”

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EDITOR'S NOTE: Watch Kyle Shanahan's full sit-down interview with Matt Maiocco on "49ers Game Plan," which is scheduled to air Saturday at 9 p.m. on NBC Bay Area (Ch. 3).

49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine

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AP

49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine

The NFL fined 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon $24,309 for unnecessary roughness in last week’s game against Washington.

Garçon, who was not penalized on the play, lowered his helmet and struck Washington safety Montae Nicholson at the end of an 8-yard pass reception in the second quarter.

In 2013, the NFL passed a rule that bans the ball carrier from initiating contact with the crown of his helmet in the open field.

Nicholson’s helmet flew off and he remained on the ground for a couple of minutes. He was evaluated for a possible concussion and shoulder injury. However, Nicholson was cleared and he returned to action.

After the play, Garçon and Washington safety D.J. Swearinger exchanged words, and Swearinger took a swipe at Garçon’s facemask. Swearinger was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The NFL fined Swearinger $9,115 for unnecessary roughness.