49ers

Greg Roman's Cincinnati ties

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Greg Roman's Cincinnati ties

SANTA CLARA -- Greg Roman, the 49ers' offensive coordinator, has a unique history with the Cincinnati Bengals.At the age of 11, Roman performed odd jobs for legendary NFL coach and Bengals owner Paul Brown. Roman helped the Bengals -- retrieving footballs during pregame warmups -- in Super Bowl XXIII. That's the game in which John Taylor caught the last-minute touchdown pass from Joe Montana in the 49ers' 20-16 victory."I was most upset for Mr. Brown because I thought that would be his last chance to win a championship, so that was a tough one," Roman said Thursday.
Roman said Brown had a profound influence on him. Bill Walsh served seven years on Brown's coaching staff but was passed over for the head-coaching job when Brown stepped down.Roman, 39, did not know Walsh personally, but he learned a great deal about him over the summer with the help of the 49ers video library. NFL Films sent the 49ers boxes of Walsh videos from their archives. Roman said he watched 60 DVDs of Walsh in installation meetings at home in June and July after his family had gone to bed."A lot of late nights," Roman said. "I'd get to bed at 3 in the morning quite a bit. I'd watch them when everybody went to bed. A little pop corn. It was good."And what did he learn about Walsh?"He was a brilliant guy," Roman said. "He was great at getting his point across. Those were a true pleasure to watch."Do the videos stand the test of time?"No question," Roman said. "I think his ability to teach and get his point across stand the test of time. Really, the plays and all that don't matter. A play is a play. Everybody runs plays. But his ability to formulate a plan and get that plan across over the course of time was something special."When I watch them in 1984, getting ready to play the Bears. Then, they play the Giants in '88, you could see the evolution and take it all the way through. And you could see how he evolved, as well, with his communication style. It was very different than it was early in the '80s."

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.