49ers

Reuben Foster shoulders high expectations in 49ers' defense: 'I hope I did great'

Reuben Foster shoulders high expectations in 49ers' defense: 'I hope I did great'

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – It was nearly a perfect night for Reuben Foster, whom some medical experts around the NFL reportedly thought would be sidelined for his entire rookie season with a shoulder injury.

The shoulder was the least of Foster’s concerns following the 49ers’ 27-17 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday night at Arrowhead Stadium.

Foster was still a little upset that his life-long streak without an interception in a game continued. He had an opportunity, but it slipped through his hands.

But his greater concern as he got dressed in the team’s cramped locker room was he could find only one sock and one of his shoes.

Otherwise, Foster was ebullient when reflecting on his first practice game with the team that traded up to select him with the No. 31 overall pick.

“It went well. It went great. It went awesome,” Foster said. “It’s wonderful to be back in the game mode, just to go that fast and hit and thump.”

Foster started alongside NaVorro Bowman at the team’s weakside linebacker position. Malcolm Smith had been in that spot since his arrival as the team’s highest-paid free-agent pickup. But Smith was lost a week ago to a season-ending torn pectoral tendon.

Foster has been a bright spot for the 49ers during training. As a rookie, sure, he blows a few assignments. But he also has more than compensated with four interceptions during 11-on-11 drills.

But as for games, he is still looking for his first pick.

Ever.

In his life.

At any level of football.

He nearly got it on the Chiefs’ opening drive. He had perfect coverage against tight end Demetrius Harris in the end zone. Alex Smith’s pass was in his hands, but it got away.

“I was mad at myself,” Foster said.

“I thought I could have caught a pick,” Foster said through his omnipresent wide smile. “A pass breakup is always great.”

Foster played 27 snaps in his first game. Only three 49ers defenders played more: Lorenzo Jerome (33), and Solomon Thomas and Ahkello Witherspoon (both, 28). The 49ers wanted Foster to gain a lot of experience in the scheme and use the night to learn as much as possible. But, also, the team is down a couple of inside linebackers with Brock Coyle (ribs) and Donavin Newsom (concussion) out with injuries.

The 49ers signed linebackers Jayson DiManche, Austin Calitro and Sean Porter during the week, and they were not prepared to see too much action.

“We were trying not to have them in for too long, so that kept Reuben out there a little bit more,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said.

Foster contributed two tackles but appeared to play assignment-sound football – a positive first step in his likely ascension into the starting lineup for the regular-season opener on Sept. 10 against the Carolina Panthers.

“I hope I did great,” Foster said. “We’ll find out (Saturday) when we watch the film. I hope I did great.”

Things were looking up for Foster. His shoulder, which was surgically repaired in February, is giving him no problems. It has not been a concern since he was cleared to practice on the eve of training camp.

Moreover, he eventually found his other sock and shoe before exiting the locker room for the flight home.

However, he is still searching for that elusive interception.

49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine

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AP

49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine

The NFL fined 49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon $24,309 for unnecessary roughness in last week’s game against Washington.

Garçon, who was not penalized on the play, lowered his helmet and struck Washington safety Montae Nicholson at the end of an 8-yard pass reception in the second quarter.

In 2013, the NFL passed a rule that bans the ball carrier from initiating contact with the crown of his helmet in the open field.

Nicholson’s helmet flew off and he remained on the ground for a couple of minutes. He was evaluated for a possible concussion and shoulder injury. However, Nicholson was cleared and he returned to action.

After the play, Garçon and Washington safety D.J. Swearinger exchanged words, and Swearinger took a swipe at Garçon’s facemask. Swearinger was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The NFL fined Swearinger $9,115 for unnecessary roughness.

Ronnie Lott: Chance to show Dwight Clark how much we care

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AP

Ronnie Lott: Chance to show Dwight Clark how much we care

SANTA CLARA – In less than a year since a group of former 49ers players came together to form the Golden Heart Fund, the non-profit organization has provided valuable assistance.

“We’ve made some progress with the idea of knowing there are some people in need, so we’ve been able to make some grants to some of the ex-Niners,” Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott told NBC Sports Bay Area.

“We’ve been able to respond. This is more about us being able to give guys the ability to know they can have, as (former 49ers linebacker and Golden Heart Fund board member) Ron Ferrari says, a hand up not a hand out.”

The organization is in the midst of a fund-raising drive this week in conjunction with "Dwight Clark Day" on Sunday. The 49ers face the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium, and Clark will be the guest of honor. More than 35 players from the 49ers' first Super Bowl championship team are expected to be in attendance.

Clark played nine seasons for the 49ers and provided the most memorable play in franchise history with “The Catch” against Dallas in the 1981 NFC Championship game, which propelled the organization to its first Super Bowl. Clark served as a front-office executive for a decade after his playing days.

In March, Clark announced he was diagnosed with ALS. He is scheduled to attend Sunday’s game and make some remarks at halftime from a suite.

“It’s unbelievable we are having an opportunity to celebrate an incredible day for this gentleman,” Lott said. “We can all say there was a moment in time in which we stood on his shoulders after making that catch. Now, we get a chance to lift him up a little bit and let him know how much we all care.”

Lott said Clark has been a champion of the Golden Heart Fund from its inception. Past and current 49ers ownership has supported the organization, which provides financial support for former 49ers players in times of physical, emotional and financial need.

“It’s the spirit of Dwight,” Lott said. “It’s more about the funds going in through his efforts. He’s paying it forward.”

--The public can made a direct contribution to the fund at GoldenHeartFund.org.

--Proceeds from the 50/50 raffle at Sunday’s game will benefit the Golden Heart Fund.

--Twenty-five percent of proceeds from the sales of Dwight Clark apparel purchased on game day will go to the fund.

--Half of all proceeds from admission to the 49ers Museum at Levi’s Stadium throughout the year will go to the charity.

-- On Sunday, Nov. 19, Levi’s Stadium and race grand marshal Roger Craig will host the first Golden Heart 4.9K Run with all proceeds from the event going to the Golden Heart Fund. Runners can register GoldenHeartRun.com.