49ers

Shanahan: Leon Hall's experience helps, but 'his strongest asset is...'

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USATI

Shanahan: Leon Hall's experience helps, but 'his strongest asset is...'

SANTA CLARA – Leon Hall originally worked out for the 49ers in May. He was brought back to the Bay Area in early September for another audition.

Finally, the 49ers made the move this week to sign Hall, 32, a 10-year NFL veteran with 27 career interceptions. The other nine current members of the 49ers' secondary have combined for 17 career interceptions.

The 49ers hope Hall can bring some stability and knowledge to a young, inconsistent secondary. The 49ers rank 26th in the NFL in passing yards allowed (249.8 yards per game) and 31st in third-down efficiency.

“First and foremost, you have to acknowledge that it’s young in the secondary,” Hall said. “And I’m far beyond the oldest member of the secondary. So that said, experience helps.”

Hall spent his first nine NFL seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals after arriving as the No. 18 overall pick in 2007 from Michigan. He spent last season with the New York Giants.

Coach Kyle Shanahan acknowledged Hall's experience is a big reason the 49ers reached out to him. But Shanahan said his versatility is also attractive after the 49ers had to piece together their secondary against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday due to injuries.

“I think his strongest asset is that he can play pretty much all the positions back there,” Shanahan said. “He played at a very high level in Cincinnati as an outside corner, being a high draft pick and doing that for a number of years. And he’s a very smart player who we’ve also seen play nickel. He played the safety position, too, with the Giants last year.

“We’ve had a bunch of injuries last week and we’ve got a veteran guy in here who is a great person, who works hard, who also can play all the positions and help us wherever we need be, so his versatility really makes for a big asset for us.”

Hall, who grew up a fan of the 49ers in Southern California, said he can find satisfaction from the challenge of helping a young team win its first game.

“They got some talent here,” Hall said. “I’m sitting at home at watching it. I can see it. There are some things, obviously, that can be tightened up. So that’s part of my excitement is coming there trying to help them get their first tab into the win column and go from there.”

The 49ers placed veteran cornerback Asa Jackson on injured reserve due to a hamstring injury. Rookie cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon is working back through the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'

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USATSI

Roger Goodell: 'What we are trying to stay out of is politics'

NEW YORK — The NFL is not changing its national anthem policy to require players to stand during the national anthem.

Commissioner Roger Goodell and several owners said Wednesday at the league’s fall meetings that altering the language from “should stand” to “must stand” was not discussed.

New York Giants owner John Mara noted that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones “spoke at length” to the other owners about the anthem issue. Jones has said any Dallas player who doesn’t stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” would not be playing.

Goodell reiterated that the league and its 32 clubs “believe everyone should stand for the national anthem. It’s an important part of our policy and the game. It’s important to honor our flag and our country and I think our fans expect that.”

Asked about any owners who threatened discipline for players who didn’t stand, Goodell said the owners didn’t discuss it.

“There was a fair amount of conversation and I think our clubs see it the same way. I can’t deal with hypotheticals,” Goodell said.

Reminded that President Donald Trump tweeted again Wednesday about the demonstrations during the anthem, Goodell said there was nothing unpatriotic about his league.

“Everyone feels strongly about our country and have pride,” he said, adding the NFL is “not afraid of tough conversations.

“What we are trying to stay out of is politics.”

Goodell noted that only six or seven players are still kneeling or are involved in protests.

“We hope we will continue to work to put that at zero,” he said.

On Tuesday, in an unprecedented move for a league meeting, a group of 11 owners and more than a dozen players met for more than two hours at NFL headquarters. Among the topics discussed was enhancing the players’ platforms for speaking out on social issues.

“I understand the way they feel about these issues,” Goodell said Wednesday. “We feel the same about patriotism and the flag and I believe our players feel that way. We have a great deal of support for the efforts of our players.”

Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem

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AP

Trump blasts NFL for not demanding players stand during national anthem

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is again criticizing the NFL over players kneeling during the national anthem.

Trump said on Twitter Wednesday that the “NFL has decided that it will not force players to stand for the playing of our National Anthem.”

He adds: “Total disrespect for our great country!”

Trump appeared to be responding to the NFL annual fall meeting on Tuesday. The league invited players and representatives from their union to discuss social issues.

The topic of the national anthem was not discussed at length. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said owners did not ask players to commit to standing during the anthem.

Trump has suggested the owners should “fire” any players who knelt during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”