Kaepernick, Smith spent bye week in communities

Kaepernick, Smith spent bye week in communities

SANTA CLARA – Colin Kaepernick and Torrey Smith connected from nearly 3,000 miles away during the 49ers’ bye week.

Kaepernick and Smith participated in community events on opposite coasts last week. Kaepernick spent the better part of a day in Oakland for an event called “Know Your Rights Camp.” Smith helped organize a panel discussion in Baltimore called “Conversations for Change.”

“It’s similar, but Kap’s was more direct,” Smith said of the events. “We were trying to get answers and open the dialogue about different things. We had different groups to figure out all we can do better on our end to help the situation. It was very productive.”

Smith remained in the background for most of the two-hour event, speaking less than 10 minutes, according to the Washington Post. He turned the floor over to the other nine individuals on the stage, including a Baltimore police officer, a pastor, a hip-hop DJ and a Baltimore City Public Schools official. Audience members also spoke.

“We talked about different social issues affecting the people in Baltimore City,” Smith said. “We learned a lot. There was a lot of positive interaction between us and the community to figure out how we can help more.”

Kaepernick took a more active role in the event he helped organize in Oakland. He and his girlfriend, syndicated radio host Nessa Diab, worked on the event for around six months. Approximately 100 youth from 19 organizations around the Bay Area attended, according to East Bay Times.

“It’s an event we wanted to put on to help give them the opportunity to succeed,” Kaepernick said. “Give them some resources, some knowledge that can help progress them, help them understand the current state of things, as well as how to handle different situations and how to succeed in different situations.

“We wanted to make sure it was something that was very grassroots, that was true to what we believed and the message wasn’t skewed or misrepresented or manipulated by a corporation that we had to stand behind.”

Kaepernick has drawn national attention since August for his national anthem protest to bring awareness to racial inequalities in the United States. Since the fourth and final exhibition game, Kaepernick has taken a knee during the national anthem. Teammates Eric Reid and Eli Harold have joined him.

Kaepernick said he is donating $1 million to organizations with missions in line with his call for social justice.

“For me, it was amazing to see how engaged the kids were,” Kaepernick said. “Them being locked in, having very in-depth questions about things that are going on and different parts of the curriculum. And the positive feedback we got after, the excitement they had, for me that was exciting to see.”

49ers sign former first-round pick guard


49ers sign former first-round pick guard

The 49ers added some talent in the trenches on Tuesday.

Guard Jonathan Cooper inked a one-year deal, the team announced.

Cooper was originally drafted No. 7 overall by the Cardinals in 2013. After two seasons in Arizona, he spent time with the Patriots, Browns and Cowboys.

Last season, he appeared in 13 games for Dallas.

“Having started 27 games in four NFL seasons, Jonathan brings great experience to the interior of our offensive line. We look forward to him competing for a starting job at guard, while also bringing a veteran presence to our locker room. Jonathan is a welcome addition to our team,” GM John Lynch said in a statement.

Richard Sherman envisions making contributions to 49ers on and off the field

Richard Sherman envisions making contributions to 49ers on and off the field

SANTA CLARA – Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman believes he has a lot of good football ahead of him.

But he knows he is not coming to the 49ers after seven seasons with the rival Seattle Seahawks just for how he fits into defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s scheme. The 49ers signed Sherman to a three-year contract on March 10 -- one day after the Seahawks released him.

Sherman, who turns 30 on March 30, views his job description as being a major influence and contributor to the 49ers on and off the field.

“I think it’s probably 50-50,” Sherman said Tuesday in an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area. “Obviously, I’m going to be asked to play at a high level, and that’s what I expect from myself and that’s what I expect to bring to this team. But outside of that, I think I bring an aspect of culture and a winning mentality.”

Sherman is a four-time Pro Bowl performer and three-time first-team All-Pro. He said the commitment to winning is all-consuming. It is a mindset he helps to share with his new teammates.

“It’s about waking up and doing things that will contribute to winning later, whether it’s your diet, your sleep habits, how you treat your teammates, how you converse,” Sherman said. “Do you go out tonight or do you stay in and get some extra studying? What are you doing to help us win the game on Sunday? Just that mentality will help a lot of these people.”

There might be no young player on the 49ers in need of a good role model more than Reuben Foster, who is set to enter his second NFL season. Foster was arrested this offseason for possession of marijuana in Alabama. A month later, he was arrested in Los Gatos for alleged domestic violence, threats and possession of an assault weapon.

On Tuesday, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office said no decision has yet been reached whether to pursue criminal charges against Foster.

Sherman said he has not spoken to Foster but he will be willing to be a mentor to Foster and provide him with support. Sherman said he has heard a lot of great things about Foster.

“If I can help him, I’ll do my best,” Sherman said. “I look forward to meeting him and being a teammate of his, and helping him in any way I can. To think I can change everything he does, I’d be foolish to say I could. But am I going to try my best to help him and put him in positions to be more successful in the future? Yes, I am.”