Why Joe Hastings is best bet to fill roster spot for 49ers


Why Joe Hastings is best bet to fill roster spot for 49ers

SANTA CLARA -- Rookie wide receiver Joe Hastings has been studying the 49ers playbook and practicing with the squad for 22 weeks. He's healthy. And he can contribute on special teams, if needed.Those factors, along with good hands and a 4.42 time in the 40-yard dash, are apparently the reasons the 49ers believe his addition and Braylon Edwards' subtraction strengthens the team's 53-man roster.Although the 49ers have yet to make an announcement, all signs point toward Hastings being promoted to the 49ers' active roster. Hastings spent the first 16 weeks of the NFL regular season on the 49ers' practice squad.
"I feel good about Joe," 49ers quarterback Alex Smith said Wednesday. "Joe's a guy that works extremely hard. Obviously, I had him here all through camp and when he's got his chances throughout the season just to jump into reps in practice, he does it."For a quite a few weeks now pre-game, to keep the other guys' legs good, he and I go out early and throw quite a bit. So (I) feel good about Joe, if that's the direction this ends up going. (I) feel good about him stepping up. He'll be ready."Hastings (6-foot, 185 pounds) did not catch any passes for the 49ers during the exhibition season. He made his impression during training camp practices. The 49ers signed Hastings as an undrafted rookie after the lockout lifted. And they signed him to the practice squad over draft pick Ronald Johnson.
Hastings flew under the radar during his time at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. He attended the Kansas State pro day and impressed some NFL scouts with a low of 4.42 seconds in the 40 and a high of 4.51. His vertical leap was measured at 35 inches.He later had a private workout for the 49ers.Hastings led the conference in receiving as a senior with 87 receptions for 1,546 yards, both school records. He had 15 touchdown receptions. He averaged 128.8 yards a game and 17.8 per reception.The 49ers showed no interest in Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Bernard Berrian, Jason Hill or any other veteran without a team. The 49ers did not work out any veterans on Tuesday -- the day they would ordinarily consider free agents.The 49ers know what they're getting with Hastings after seeing him every day in practice since late July.
Also, Ted Ginn (ankle) and Kyle Williams (concussion) are expected to be at full strength for the playoffs. So the 49ers will have the same receiving corps in the postseason than they had playing and contributing during the regular season.

49ers wide receiver Pierre Garçon handed hefty fine


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


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.