Harbaugh: Staley is progressing well


Harbaugh: Staley is progressing well

The talking is over, as 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh met the media Saturday for the final time before Monday night's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The following transcript from his press briefing was provided by the 49ers public-relations department. (Some of the less-pertinent questions and answers were omitted.)Has Joe Staley been cleared to participate?
Harbaugh: "He was cleared to participate today without contact."Does that mean that he won't play in Monday's game?
Harbaugh: "No, that doesn't mean that."
So Joe will have another chance to be cleared?
Harbaugh: "He's on a progression. Progressing well."Are you going forward as if you really don't know when Patrick Willis will come back because of the hamstring strain? It could be Monday, it could be two weeks, it could be the playoffs?
Harbaugh: "You don't know. We'll see. I don't want to give you any information that's not true and then come back and say that I misled you somehow. You just don't know. You don't know, really, until you see how they react from today's practice, in some of those cases. See how they feel on game day. You don't know until you fill out that paper."You had a big prime time game in Baltimore, didn't win it. Is there some sense that you're getting on another national stage and you don't want to go 0 for 2 on those big stages?
Harbaugh: "We want to win the next game. That's what this is all about. This is what we prepare for. This is what we do. That's what we have to do. That's all we have to do. That's easier said than done, but that's the challenge. That's where the pressure comes from. That's what you embrace. Look forward to going out there and putting it on the line. That's what these guys do: they go put it on the line. Just like you guys do. Just like we all do. You write a column today, you've got to put it out there. You've got to put it on the line. That's what these guys do. That's the pressure. That's the excitement of it."Are you expecting to have to deal with noise when you're on offense, given how well the Steelers fans travel? That there could be noise, atypical noise on Monday?
Harbaugh: "Could be. I anticipate the way our fans have been, the excitement level, the turnout, I think it will be to our advantage, in our favor."You pumped crowd noise in today during practice. Why?
Harbaugh: "When opposing offense is on the field, our crowd will be making noise. There's communication that has to be made by the defense. So, we practice with that."You had indicated RB Frank Gore was not at 100 percent on Monday. He's not on the injury report. Is he just dealing with the typical, as he said, nicks and bruises that come to a running back in the NFL?
Harbaugh: "Usually when the guys go through the game, they're not going to be 100 percent on Monday. You can pretty much take that to the bank. I never know what the percentage is. We've debated that in the past. You don't know. I knew it wasn't 100 percent on that Monday after a physical NFL football game. That's the case with most of these guys that are playing this game."Who gets the dot on defense when Patrick's not in?
Harbaugh: "Larry Grant."After the defense gave up three touchdown passes in Arizona, did you have to go approach some of the defensive backs to boost the morale or confidence or chew them out?
Harbaugh: "No. Like what was said, we're not changing. No need to be any different than who we are and that's the same in the secondary. Those were tight plays. Could have been six inches stretched out. Twelve more inches, we would have knocked those down, we would have intercepted."

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.