49ers

Lynch describes Garoppolo trade as Christmas morning -- not 'mourning'

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AP

Lynch describes Garoppolo trade as Christmas morning -- not 'mourning'

ORLANDO, Fla. – General manager John Lynch wants to make one thing clear about the 49ers’ quick decision in October to accept the trade proposal to acquire quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from the New England Patriots.

It was a lot more like Christmas morning, Lynch said Monday at the NFL owners meetings, than it was a time for mourning.

Lynch raised more than a few eyebrows last week when he said during an early morning interview on ESPN radio that coach Kyle Shanahan was “in mourning” because the master plan was to eventually acquire Kirk Cousins as the 49ers’ franchise quarterback.

Lynch said the greater point he was trying to make is that Garoppolo made believers out of everybody in the organization shortly after his arrival in Santa Clara. The 49ers in February signed Garoppolo to a five-year, $137.5 million contract extension early this offseason.

“That day was really like Christmas to us,” Lynch said of the Oct. 30 trade with New England for a second-round draft pick. “Jimmy was a guy that we had coveted. We did a lot of work on him in the offseason. We’d attempted to make a deal. It was rebuffed on a couple of occasions. Shoot, when that opportunity fell into our lap, it was like Christmas.”

It was clear Shanahan has a high opinion of Cousins based on their time together with Washington and what Cousins has accomplished while starting 16 games each of the past three seasons. Shanahan considers Cousins as a better fit for his system than even Matt Ryan, who put together an MVP season in his second and final season with Shanahan as his coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons.

Cousins would be available in the offseason as an unrestricted free agent. With the 49ers out of the quarterback market, Cousins signed a three-year, $84 million fully guaranteed deal with the Minnesota Vikings.

When Lynch and Shanahan were hired in tandem a year ago, the 49ers did not have a quarterback under contract. And while they investigated their options at quarterback during the 2017 offseason, they believed it was in their best interest to play the waiting game and begin last season with placeholder Brian Hoyer as the starter.

“One of the first things we talked about, we got to get this position right,” Lynch said. “That’s the thing everyone is looking for. And we got to find that. A lot of people pop into that conversation. Kirk is now with the Vikings and we’re very happy for him. There was history there. So when there’s history, yeah, he’s in the conversation. But there were a lot of other people in the conversation, as well.”

After the 49ers made the trade for Garoppolo – after being rebuffed in previously trade talks with the Patriots – the onus fell on Garoppolo to prove he was the man for the job.

“I think the thing that impressed me so much was that he kept earning our respect, day-in and day-out, by the way he responded in the building, by the way he conducted himself around his teammates, by the way he played,” Lynch said. “That was obvious. So he earned the right, not only to become our starter, but he earned this contract that we gave him. We were happy to do it.”

Lynch said he and Shanahan believed Garoppolo was capable of being a face-of-the-franchise type of player. Then, he proved it on and off the field. After Garoppolo took over from rookie C.J. Beathard as the starter, the 49ers finished the season on a five-game win streak. A team that opened the season 1-10, finished with the momentum of a 6-10 record.

“We weren’t promising anything to anyone, and he was going to have to go earn it,” Lynch said. “The great part of this story is, he did. I think that’s something that Kyle and I both believe. You have to earn everything you get in this league. Shoot, we had a tremendous opportunity fall in our lap.

“We were given each other high fives and chest-bumps. There are so many conversations that go into what we were going to do at that position, but we had no assurances on anything. Then all of a sudden, this opportunity presented itself and we were thrilled. It didn’t take long – 10 minutes, may be a stretch. We were pretty convicted right away.”

And Lynch said Garoppolo did not wait long to begin proving to the 49ers that he was worthy of being – at least for a period of time – the highest-paid player in the game.

“There are certain things that became apparent the first day he came out on the field and threw it,” Lynch said. “It’s impressive. It’s impressive to watch the guy throw a football. There are very few people in this world that can (throw it) like him.”

Lynch said Garoppolo impressed the organization with the work he put in to learn Shanahan’s complex offensive system and it’s verbiage, which is completely different than what he experienced during his 3 ½ seasons with the Patriots. Garoppolo put in long, tedious hours of study to be prepared for when his time came to step onto the field.

Garoppolo wore a list of the play calls on his wristband as an insurance policy. After the final game, Garoppolo said he never once had to refer to the cheat sheet during his five starts.

Woman in Reuben Foster case recants domestic violence claim

Woman in Reuben Foster case recants domestic violence claim

The former girlfriend of 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster on Monday said she can prove Foster did not cause her injuries from an alleged February incident in Los Gatos.

Elissa Ennis, the former girlfriend, released a statement through her attorney, Stephanie Rickard, in which she said her injuries came from a fight that did not involve Foster.

“(Foster) did not strike her, injure her or threaten her,” Rickard said in the statement provided first to NBC Sports Bay Area.

Ennis’ injuries were the result of a physical fight with another woman, and that Foster tried to end his relationship with Ennis after he learned of the fight, Rickard said.

There is a video of that fight with another woman, according to Rickard.

“She was extremely upset and told him if he broke up with her she would ‘trash his career,’ ” Rickard said.

Rickard said after Ennis realized what she had done, she went back to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office and tried to recant her previous statement.

When reached Monday by NBC Sports Bay Area, the DA's office declined to comment on the alleged victim's statement.

On April 12, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office filed formal criminal charges against Foster stemming from a Feb. 11 incident involving his live-in girlfriend in Los Gatos. He faces two charges of domestic violence and one felony charge of possession of an assault weapon.

The DA’s office charged him with domestic violence with an allegation that he inflicted great bodily harm. The DA’s office said Foster bruised the alleged victim and ruptured her eardrum. She told investigators at the scene that Foster hit her eight to 10 times in the head.

He is also charged with a felony of attempting to prevent a victim from reporting a crime.

The criminal charges against Foster are based on lies, Ennis now says, according to Rickard.

According to Rickard, “Ennis apologizes to everyone that may have been harmed in this case, especially Mr. Foster."

The 49ers declined to comment Monday because it is an ongoing legal matter, a team spokesman said. 

On Monday, 49ers general manager John Lynch said the club would release Foster if the allegation that he struck the alleged victim proved to be true. Foster remains a member of the team but is not participating in the 49ers’ offseason program.

“We do feel like patience is the right approach right now, that we are going to learn things through this legal process,” Lynch said. “But I do want to be very clear, abundantly clear, that if these charges are proven true, that if Reuben did indeed hit this young lady, he won't be part of our organization going forward.”

Foster’s next court appearance is scheduled for Monday, 9 a.m.

49ers Insider Matt Maiocco's first-round NFL mock draft

49ers Insider Matt Maiocco's first-round NFL mock draft

1, Cleveland: QB Sam Darnold, USC
New Browns GM John Dorsey has done a nice job of creating some intrigue, but all the names you've heard within the past week are probably only smokescreens.

2, N.Y. Giants: QB Josh Allen, Wyoming
Eli Manning is 37, and the strong-armed Allen will spend a year as his understudy.

3, N.Y. Jets: QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Josh McCown and Teddy Bridgewater can step aside for the new guy to take over sooner than later.

4, Cleveland: DE Bradley Chubb, N.C. State
Chubb teams up with Myles Garrett on the other side to provide a lethal pass rush.

5, Denver: RB Saquan Barkley, Penn State
If Barkley is not here, they will gladly go with Denzel Ward to shore up the secondary.

6, Indianapolis: G Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
The Colts finally supply Andrew Luck with a bodyguard . . . assuming he ever gets healthy enough to benefit from the presence of the draft’s best O-lineman.

7, Tampa Bay: DB Derwin James, Florida State
The Bucs add a defensive back who also gives their poor run defense a lift with his play close to the line of scrimmage.

8, Chicago: CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State
The Bears have a lot of options for providing defensive coordinator Vic Fangio with some help, but settle on the best cover man.

9, 49ERS: DB Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
Versatile. High character. Great leader. Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt are both entering the final year of their contracts. He fits an immediate need, too. What’s not to like about this pick? With Reuben Foster’s status being uncertain, either Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds would make a lot of sense, too.

10, RAIDERS: LB Roquan Smith, Georgia
The Raiders have a hole in the middle of their defense as NaVorro Bowman remains a free agent. The Raiders finally address what has been a need for several seasons.

11, Miami: QB Josh Rosen, UCLA
Coach Adam Gase has no issues taking a QB who is strong-willed enough to ask a lot of questions and flash some attitude from time to time.

12, Buffalo: LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
If the Bills do not move up to get a quarterback, they can remain right here and get a player who is easily a top-10 defensive talent.

13, Washington: DT Vita Vea, Washington
Oh, Jim Tomsula is going to love working with this huge, athletic presence in the middle of the line.

14, Green Bay: DE Marcus Davenport, Texas-San Antonio
He's a unique personality with unique size and athleticism. But he’s going to have to develop more than just a bull rush to get to QBs in the NFL.

15, Arizona: CB Josh Jackson, Iowa
The Cardinals might have a need at quarterback, but the Jackson they select is the guy who led the nation in interceptions last season.

16, Baltimore: WR D.J. Moore, Maryland
This is a tough call, but the Ravens remain local instead of selecting the pass-catcher from Alabama.

17, L.A. Chargers: DT Da’Ron Payne, Alabama
His versatility to play both interior positions and rush the passer should fit well in Gus Bradley’s scheme.

18, Seattle: DE Harold Landry, Boston College
He might be undersized, but he fits in the scheme as the Seahawks try to replenish their pass rush.

19, Dallas: WR Courtland Sutton, SMU
This is a tough call, but the Cowboys remain local instead of selecting the pass-catcher from Alabama.

20, Detroit: LB Leighton Vander Esch, Boise State
Hey, the guy played eight-man football in high school, so he knows how to cover some ground to make plays.

21, Cincinnati: T Mike McGlinchey, Notre Dame
Don’t be surprised if McGlinchey, the best offensive tackle available, goes much earlier than this – like within the top 12 picks.

22, Buffalo: G/C James Daniels, Iowa
After the retirements of Eric Wood and Richie Incognito, Daniels represents the intersection of need and best-player available.

23, New England: LB Rashaan Evans, Alabama
Bill Belichick needs a linebacker and his old buddy, Nick Saban, has just the man for him.

24, Carolina: CB Jaire Alexander, Louisville
The Panthers agreed to a deal with free-agent Bashaud Breeland but he failed the physical. Alexander steps in to fill a hole.

25, Tennessee: DT Taven Bryan, Florida
Bryan takes the spot the Titans tried to fill with Ndamukong Suh, who signed with the L.A. Rams, instead.

26, Atlanta: TE Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
Hurst and Dallas Goedert are first-round talents at TE, but Hurst gets his name called here.

27, New Orleans: WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama
The Saints stop the fall of the guy whom many considered to be the top receiver in the draft.

28, Pittsburgh: TE Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State
The Steelers traded for Vance McDonald last year and, obviously, they remain in the market for a playmaker in this spot.

29, Jacksonville: G Will Hernandez, UTEP
The Jags broke the bank to land Andrew Norwell in free agency, and they bring in another powerful presence to open holes for Leonard Fournette.

30, Minnesota: T Kolton Miller, UCLA
If they’re going to guarantee Kirk Cousins all that money, they better bring along someone to protect their investment.

31, New England: QB Kyle Lauletta, Richmond
There are still a lot of questions why Belichick gave away Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers for just a second-round pick. In Lauletta, they’re getting the closest thing in this draft to Garoppolo. Just to bring it full circle, they could just wait until No. 43 – the pick acquired from the 49ers for Garoppolo – to make this selection.

32, Philadelphia: WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
Kirk is a perfect fit for this offense and gives Carson Wentz a nice welcome-back gift upon his return to the playing field.