John Lynch addresses Tramaine Brock, Joe Mixon situations

John Lynch addresses Tramaine Brock, Joe Mixon situations

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers considered cornerback Tramaine Brock a starter, general manager John Lynch said.

So it was not a football decision to release Brock late last week, just hours after it was learned he had been arrested in connection with a domestic-violence incident.

“I think there’s been some conjecture that we didn’t think highly of him,” Lynch said. “That couldn’t have been further from the truth. He was a starting player for us. So that was not easy.”

Brock, 28, started 31 games over the past two seasons after being plagued by injuries in 2013 and ’14 after winning the starting jobs after strong training camps.

“I can also tell you that it wasn’t meant to send a message,” Lynch said. “I think you let those things happen organically and we did what we felt was the right situation in that situation. It was not easy and felt like it was something that we needed to do.”

Lynch said he and coach Kyle Shanahan have spoken a lot about “football character” and how important it is to build a roster with the right kind of individuals.

“I think where we’ve been consistent is we have said that character is important to us, football character and I think that’s for a lot of reasons,” Lynch said.

“As those situations arise -- and hopefully there won’t be a lot them -- we’re going to treat each one of them as a unique and different situation. That’s what we did the other day. I can tell you guys that I understood when I stepped into this job that there would be tough decisions and I also understood that part of my job is to make tough and hard decisions. I can tell you that the gravity of that situation, you’re affecting an organization, you’re protecting your organization, but you’re also dealing with the family. So, that was not easy.”

The 49ers held their local pro day on Wednesday at the team’s practice facility in Santa Clara. Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, who is from Oakley and attended Freedom High School, was eligible to attend. Mixon was suspended for the 2014 season after punching a female Oklahoma student that year.

Lynch said he did not know whether Mixon was asked to attend the pro day and would not divulge if Mixon remains on the team’s draft board.

“I think in terms of our board, we’ve made an effort to be as transparent as possible, but just one thing that I believe is that we’re not going to share some specifics of our board, who’s on it, who’s off it,” Lynch said. “So I think that applies to that young man, as well.”

Frank Gore returns home for his 14th NFL season


Frank Gore returns home for his 14th NFL season

Frank Gore is returning home to, in all likelihood, finish his professional football career.

Gore, 34, signed a one-year contract to enter his 14th NFL season with his hometown Miami Dolphins, the team announced Friday.

Gore grew up in Coconut Grove, Florida, and attended Coral Gables High School before playing collegiately at the University of Miami.

He played the first 10 NFL seasons with the 49ers and is the franchise’s all-time leading rusher. Gore ranks fifth in NFL history with 14,026 rushing yards – just 75 yards behind No. 4 Curtis Martin.

After rushing for 11,073 yards and 64 touchdowns with the 49ers, the club declined to offer him a multi-year contract following the 2014 season. Gore played the past three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts.

Gore remains one of the most popular players in 49ers history. When asked recently if he would be willing to “retire” as a member of the 49ers after his final game, Gore reacted enthusiastically about the possibility.

1, Emmitt Smith 18,355
2, Walter Payton 16,726
3, Barry Sanders 15,269
4, Curtis Martin 14,101
5, Frank Gore 14,026

49ers increase competition for starting guard positions


49ers increase competition for starting guard positions

The 49ers are the fifth team to give Jonathan Cooper a chance after he arrived in the NFL as the No. 7 overall pick of the Arizona Cardinals in the 2013 draft.

Cooper, 28, caught the attention of the 49ers with his career-high 13 starts last season with the Dallas Cowboys. The 49ers signed him to a one-year, $4.95 million contract this week.

“We signed him to compete for one of the guard spots as a starter,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said Thursday at Stanford's pro day. “He played very well in our minds for Dallas last year and kind of resurrected his career. He’s battled injuries, but we really like the way he played, and we think he’s a very good fit for what we do. So we were pleased to add him.”

The 49ers plan to take it slowly this offseason with Cooper, who underwent surgery after tearing the medial-collateral ligament in his left knee during the final game of the season. The 49ers report for the offseason program in mid-April.

The 49ers are certain to have at least two new starters on the offensive line. Former New York Giants center Weston Richburg was signed to replace Daniel Kilgore, who was subsequently traded to the Miami Dolphins. Brandon Fusco, who started 16 games at right guard, signed with the Atlanta Falcons as an unrestricted free agent.

Laken Tomlinson has a chance to hold onto a starting job. Acquired shortly before the start of the regular season in a trade from the Detroit Lions, Tomlinson quickly moved into the starting lineup at left guard and started the final 15 games. Tomlinson was a first-round draft pick of the Lions in 2015.

“Laken played very well the longer he was there,” Lynch said. “I think people forget with Laken, he came here in Week 1. He was kind of force-fed. We didn’t have many options. But we saw a guy get better throughout the season. He’ll get his opportunity.”

Joshua Garnett, a first-round pick of the 49ers in 2016, spent last season on injured reserve due to an a knee injury sustained in training camp. The 49ers challenged Garnett to get in better physical condition. He has been cleared for football activity.

“Joshua Garnett has been working extremely hard, so he’ll be in that mix,” Lynch said. “He did a great job embracing the time he has last year to improve as a player. He remade his body and we're looking forward to see him get after it in the offseason.

“I think he’s excited about it. He’s feeling sexy, as he says.”

Erik Magnuson, 24, won a spot on the 49ers’ roster after signing as an undrafted rookie from Michigan. Magnuson could enter into the competition at guard. He displayed unique versatility in his first season, starting two games at right tackle before sustaining a season-ending foot injury. He can also serve as a backup center.

And, perhaps, the 49ers are not finished adding to the competition. The team owns the No. 9 overall selection, and Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson could be on the radar in the unlikely event he is not selected within the top eight picks.

When asked if the 49ers could also add another player to the mix with a draft pick, Lynch answered, “We’ll see. We’re always looking to get better there.”