Tom Brady on return to Bay Area: 'It doesn't get any better than that'

Tom Brady on return to Bay Area: 'It doesn't get any better than that'

SANTA CLARA – There’s little doubt Colin Kaepernick is the bigger threat to make big gains with his legs.

But New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady demonstrated on Sunday his subtle movements in the pocket that buy him time to make big plays down the field with his arm. It's an often-overlooked attribute that has helped make him one of the NFL's all-time best quarterbacks.

“He’s a great quarterback,” Kaepernick said Sunday after the 49ers’ 30-17 loss to Brady and the Patriots at Levi’s Stadium.

“He had a few plays that most quarterbacks can’t make. Those are things that you do look at as a quarterback and see, is that something that I can incorporate into my game?”

Brady routinely avoided sacks but kept plays alive to help him complete 24 of 40 passes for 280 yards and four touchdowns. Brady was sacked just once for 7 yards.

The Patriots put the game away in the fourth quarter on Brady’s 56-yard touchdown pass to rookie Malcolm Mitchell. Brady bought time and delivered the pass before 49ers outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks could drop him for a sack.

“It was a third-down pass and he was short of the sticks so I scrambled up, he wheeled and I just saw a little separation and just tried to give him a chance,” Brady said. “He made a great play and that was a phenomenal play by Malcolm. We really needed it. It was tough conditions out there. We hung in there, bought it out and grinded it out pretty good.”

Brady also bought time on the first play of the fourth quarter to allow Danny Amendola to break free in the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown pass that gave the Patriots a 20-10 lead.

“That’s why he’s a Hall of Fame quarterback,” 49ers coach Chip Kelly said. “He’s not the fastest quarterback out there, but I would argue that he’s as good as anybody when it comes to being able to move within the pocket.

“People that have watched him for his career have come to expect that from him and that’s unfortunate for us today, but that’s just the type of quarterback he is. His ability to keep plays alive, he’s as good as anybody and I think people get a misconception that he’s not Mike Vick, but he keeps plays alive scrambling and all those other things. He’s not like that but his ability in the pocket is as good as anybody’s that’s ever played the game.”

Brady played his first game in the Bay Area against the 49ers – his favorite team as he grew up in San Mateo. Brady attended the 49ers' NFC Championship game against the Dallas Cowboys in January 1982 that produced "The Catch" on Joe Montana's pass to Dwight Clark to send the 49ers to their first Super Bowl.

“I’ve got a lot of people out there waiting for me so it’s very cool,” Brady said. “It doesn’t get any better than that. For the first chance to ever do that it was very special. I felt it in pregame warmup and it carried right to the last play of the game. It was pretty great.

“They’ve got a great organization. They always have and it inspired a lot of kids here in the Bay Area in my time growing up and I was one of them. To see Tom Rathman before the game, I mean, I idolized him. Dwight Clark and Joe Montana, to see them at halftime it was a pretty, pretty great day for me.”

Ex-49er Daniel Kilgore describes 'crazy,' 'frustrating,' 'heart-breaking' week


Ex-49er Daniel Kilgore describes 'crazy,' 'frustrating,' 'heart-breaking' week

Daniel Kilgore’s mind was at ease on Feb. 14 after signing a three-year contract extension to remain with the 49ers – the team that selected him in the fifth round of the 2011 draft.

But all that changed on the first day of the open negotiating period when he learned the 49ers reached an agreement with New York Giants free-agent Weston Richburg on a five-year contract. The same firm, Rep1, represents Kilgore and Richburg.

“Originally, I knew Weston was on the Niners’ board for left guard,” Kilgore said on the 49ers Insider Podcast. “When I knew that he was going to sign with the 49ers, I was thinking, ‘Hey, we just got a new left guard.’ I hate it for Laken (Tomlinson).

“But, then, you kind of find out he was coming for center. That’s when I was thrown for a loop.”

Kilgore described the days that followed as “crazy,” “frustrating” and “heart-breaking.”

One day after the 49ers officially signed Richburg to a five-year, $47.5 million contract, Kilgore was traded to the Miami Dolphins. The 49ers got little in return for delivering Kilgore to what appears to be a good situation. The team’s swapped draft spots in the seventh round, with the 49ers now choosing at No. 223 overall, while the Dolphins pick at No. 227.

Kilgore lands in a situation to be a starter. He also received, in essence, a 13.3-percent raise for leaving California to go to Florida, where there is no state income tax. The 49ers structured Kilgore's contract so the first payout of a $2.3 million roster bonus was scheduled for after the start of the new league year – after the trade. The Dolphins pick up the entirety of the three-year, $11.75 million contract the 49ers negotiated with Kilgore.

Kilgore said he was never asked to compete for a job at guard with the 49ers. He said he did not request a trade, either. He was told, in essence, he was no longer in the 49ers’ plans.

General manager John Lynch told NBC Sports Bay Area last week both Richburg and Kilgore are best at center. To ask either to submit to a change of position would set up one of them for failure.

Looking back, Kilgore said he wonders if he should have turned down the 49ers’ offer and gone into free agency. But that approach had its risks, too. All he wanted, he said, was to be compensated fairly and remain with the 49ers.

“I was really thrown for a shock,” said Kilgore, who won the Bobb McKittrick Award last season for his displays of courage, intensity and sacrifice. “You just wonder, ‘What If I did go free agency?’ (But) that wasn’t me. I knew where that team was going. I’m familiar with the area, familiar with the coaching staff, my best friends are on the team. So I knew this is where I wanted to be. I didn’t see myself going anywhere else.”

Now, he will be moving to South Florida, where he will attempt to establish what he felt he had with the 49ers.

“You want to be there and be a part of something on the rise," Kilgore said. "That was the frustrating thing, that you’re no longer going to be there. It’s frustrating and heart-breaking, but you move on. I’m going to South Florida, and that makes things a heck of a lot better.”

Kilgore said he had some hard conversations with Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan last week. Ultimately, he said he respects both men for the way they handled an awkward situation. Lynch said last week when the 49ers signed Kilgore to an extension, the club believed there was a likelihood Richburg would not still be available a month later as a free agent. Richburg was the only center the 49ers would have sought to replace Kilgore, Lynch said.

“I hope the fans out there know the truth about everything and know that Kyle and John did it in the best interest of me and the best interest for the team moving forward,” Kilgore said. “There’s no bad grudges or anything like that. We’re all still friends at the end of the day.”

Report: 49ers scheduled to meet with free-agent defensive back


Report: 49ers scheduled to meet with free-agent defensive back

Versatile free-agent defensive back Jaylen Watkins is reportedly scheduled to visit the 49ers on Wednesday.

Watkins’ meeting with the 49ers coincides with veteran cornerback Richard Sherman’s appearance at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara for a noon press conference. Sherman signed a three-year contract with the 49ers on March 10 – one day after the Seattle Seahawks released him.

The 49ers are in the market for backups in the defensive backfield. Watkins (5-foot-11, 195 pounds) started five games in five games in four seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles while appearing in 36 games.

Watkins, 26, played three snaps on defense and 17 plays on special teams in the Eagles’ 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52 on Feb. 4. He entered the NFL in 2014 as a fourth-round draft pick from Florida.

The NFL Network reported Watkins’ meeting with the 49ers is the first of multiple visits he has scheduled.