Super Bowl

Lions WR Tate believes 49ers 'have found gold' in Garoppolo

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Lions WR Tate believes 49ers 'have found gold' in Garoppolo

While Jimmy Garoppolo went undefeated as a starter in the 2017 season, he'll be watching the Super Bowl from home this year as his former team looks for back-to-back titles. Still, Garoppolo's name has came up leading up to the big game for multiple reasons. 

On Thursday, it was a Lions wide receiver who brought up the 49ers quarterback. 

Appearing on the Murph & Mac Show on Radio Row, Lions wide receiver Golden Tate reminisced about his days with the Seahawks and battling the Jim Harbaugh-led 49ers before bringing up the current team. 

"It sounds like the 49ers have found gold in big G over there," Tate said. Pun intended? Who's to know. 

"I'm kind of a fan. The guy shows up not knowing a lick about the playbook and goes what, 5-0? 6-0? Let's go," Tate continued enthusiastically. 

After the 49ers acquired Garoppolo from the Patriots for a second-round draft pick, the team went 5-0 with him under center. The 26-year-old threw for 1,560 yards and seven touchdowns to five interceptions. 

If the 49ers lock up Garoppolo long term, are they a destination for free agent wide receivers? 

"Yeah, yeah, once their contracts are done," Tate said. 

Tate, 29, is under contract for one more year in Detroit. He caught 92 passes for 1,003 yards and five touchdowns in 2017. 

Son of Raiders legend Howie Long devoted to paying it forward

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Son of Raiders legend Howie Long devoted to paying it forward

Editor's note: Raiders Insider Scott Bair is in Minneapolis all week long covering Super Bowl festivities -- check out Scott's archive as he files stories and podcasts leading up to the big game on Sunday  

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Terry Bradshaw cornered Chris Long shortly after Philadelphia won the NFC championship. He asked the veteran defensive and son of Raiders legend Howie Long about making Super Bowl LII, and the emotions that come with it.

The interview didn’t last, despite Chris Long’s eloquence. FOX cameras cut back to the pregame set, to capture his son Waylon having a Riley Curry moment.

The two-year old’s smile never ceased while sitting on grandpa Howie’s lap, reveling in a moment for the entire Long clan. Chris Long made his second Super Bowl.

Waylon might not remember that moment. He’s still too young. That didn’t sully Chris Long’s joy of sharing a great moment with his boy. Here's a bond he intends to fortify. He knows, after all, what it’s like to have a father as a best friend. Replicating that is his primary focus.

“The bond with my son Waylon is the most important thing,” Chris Long said. “My dad would say that, too. He’s the best thing that ever happened to me, and he makes anything I accomplish even better. It was so great having him on the field. He was having a blast. He saw granddad through the confetti and ran over to him. He’s such a ham, and got right on TV.”

Howie Long’s always on TV, and was a megastar while Chris Long was growing up. Chris wanted to be and play like the Silver and Black’s dominant defensive end. He followed in dad’s footsteps, both in sport and position. 

Chris Long was the No. 2 overall pick, and has 63.5 sacks in 10 NFL seasons. It certainly helped having someone like Howie as a sounding board, though technique isn’t always a topic on the table.

“He helps me a lot football-wise, but first and foremost he’s a best friend to me,” Chris Long said. “It certainly helps to have someone so close identify with what you’re doing and knows what it’s like. I was never the kid who walked off the field and had his dad start coaching right away. He always shot straight with me. I think that has helped me a lot.”

Chris hasn’t matched Howie Long’s illustrious career, but a second Super Bowl ring would provide some bragging rights.

“It’s hard to talk trash to a guy with a gold jacket,” Chris Long said. “I always tell him that my playoff winning percentage is better than his. I won one ring in nine years, and it took him 13, so mathematically I’m collecting them at a better clip.”

Chris Long is doing something unprecedented this year. He’s playing for free. Long donated his entire season’s salary to various charities, especially those focused on education, after fatal, racially motivated protests in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. He has encouraged fans to join the movement, and donations have doubled his original amount.

Long is trying to give back and support racial minorities protesting mistreatment by the criminal justice system. He’s one of a few Caucasian players to stand in front of a movement started by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

“I had every opportunity growing up,” Chris Long said. “Why wouldn’t I want other people to have the same experience, especially considering I didn’t fully appreciate it? My teammates are like family to me, and we didn’t all come from the same neighborhood. I can accept that I might love America, but others look at things through a different lens.”

He spent most of an hour-long session with the media Monday talking politics and social cause, a period he didn’t enjoy but considers essential given his celebrity status. He scoffs at those who consider athletes promoting social causes a distraction to the games themselves.

“Distraction is code for ‘I don’t like what you’re talking about,’” Long said. “Do I want to be talking about social issues when there’s a Super Bowl coming up? No, I don’t. Players have been contributing and speaking out in more accepted ways, and fans don’t mind that. When we’re talking about criminal justice reform or improving inner cities or helping communities with people of color through education, people say it’s political. I think we’re just trying to help people. That’s it.”

Chris Long attacks his profession, his family and his beliefs with conviction. That’s something his role model, best friend and father admires.

“He has a great passion for football and, as we’ve seen with him donating his salary and playing for free this year, he has passion off the field,” Howie Long said after the NFC Championship Game a fortnight past, with Waylon on his lap. “The passion he has for all that, and the passion he has for his family, is really special.”

Super Bowl Week already has us asking how much too much is too much too much?

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Super Bowl Week already has us asking how much too much is too much too much?

Super Bowl Week has kicked off, and we already know two things: It’s cold in Minneapolis and becomes colder with every media member who bitches about it, and Tom Brady’s five-year-old daughter is not suitable fare for swinish radio commentary, especially when delivered by someone at the station that pays Brady money to do a show for them.

The football stuff comes way later.

By now, Super Bowl Week has become a predictable hash of early narrative setting (expect a lot of Brady v. Belichick), staged and unfunny silliness (Media Night, which used to be Media Day before the NFL embarked on its wildly successful Programming ‘Til You Puke strategy), old stories retold for minimum effect (Radio Row at any given moment) and staggering pomposity based on over-rehearsed misdirection (the Commissioner’s Friday speech). And it ends with two days of game recap and armies of media saying the NFL will never come back to a place so cold, because this event should always end with media bitching.

It’s all part of the always-leave-them-wanting-less concept that makes you double down on the football-is-dying concept that has helped hasten football’s eventual death – which will come sometime all of us have reached the same frontier.

But the Brady Child narrative is the first real unscheduled moment, because beyond being thoroughly mean-spirited and gratuitous, it brings us to the Super Bowl’s great and rarely examined issue – how much too much is too much too much?

Put simply, the Super Bowl is the worst possible place to extol the virtues of excess, including (now) the character and behavior of preschoolers. It is all about entertainment gluttony no matter what taste level and both ends of the supply line, and the idea of fair comment rarely enters into the heads of anyone on the firing line. The beast must be fed, and if it means describing a five-year-old as “an annoying little pissant” as shown on the Brady family television series, well, that’s the danger of winning the conference championship, I guess.

This story will die, of course, and the perpetrator, WEEI’s Alex Reimer, will likely be underemployed for awhile, but it is one more reminder that the best way to approach Super Bowl Week, as a player, a coach, a fan and yes, even a media member, is to try and keep it as close to arm’s length away as possible. Nothing good ever comes of getting attention, or for that matter, seeing – and yet it is the Bitcoin of Super Bowl Week.

That, and it being cold. Which I thought we already knew.