49ers

Lynch, Shanahan: 49ers not shopping NaVorro Bowman

Lynch, Shanahan: 49ers not shopping NaVorro Bowman

Veteran linebacker NaVorro Bowman is not on the trade block, according to the 49ers’ top decision-makers.

General manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan issued a joint statement to NBC Sports Bay Area on Thursday morning when asked to comment on a report from former NFL executive Mike Lombardi, who stated the 49ers are shopping Bowman in a trade.

Lynch and Shanahan stated:

“The report that we have been shopping NaVorro Bowman is completely false. From the time we joined the organization, NaVorro has been the consummate professional. It is evident he has been working very hard to prepare for the upcoming season and we have been impressed by what we have already seen on the field. We are looking forward to NaVorro’s future contributions to this team.”

Lombardi is a former NFL executive who was a finalist for the 49ers’ general manager job when Trent Baalke was promoted to that position in January 2011. He made his statement about the 49ers trying to trade Bowman on “The Ringer NFL Show” podcast.

“They are definitely doing that,” Lombardi said. “They’ve made it know that if you want him, he’s healthy, that they’ll be willing to move (him).

“Whenever there is a new coaching staff – and this is an Al Davisism -- whenever there is a new coaching staff, you have to always know that the teams that hire new coaches are going to get rid of players because they want different players.”

“Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch are going to clear out that roster. Bowman is a guy who’s been a leader in the locker room. He’s been part of the team. He had a really good relationship with the old general manager, Trent Baalke, so I think that’s a message they’d send to the locker room that he’s no longer in control any more. He’s available if you want him.”

Bowman signed a contract extension last summer through the 2022 season. He is scheduled to earn $7.5 million in salary and bonuses this season. His pay jumps to $9.45 million in 2018.

“I don’t know who’s going to pay him $9.5 million coming off all the injuries that he’s had, but you can have him,” Lombardi said. “I think that ultimately, you have to make that decision, and I don’t think it’ll be a lot. I think the 49ers will get rid of him for very little.”

Bowman is back on the practice field this spring after sustaining a torn Achilles in Week 4. He missed the entire 2014 season with a severe knee injury. Bowman, who turns 29 this month, is a four-time first-team All-Pro.

Lombardi was first to report during the NFL draft that the 49ers made tight end Vance McDonald available for trade talks. Lynch and Shanahan confirmed that report.

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.