49ers

49ers enter NFC Championship Game vs. Packers with no new injuries

49ers enter NFC Championship Game vs. Packers with no new injuries

SANTA CLARA – Coach Kyle Shanahan entered the auditorium at Levi’s Stadium where he holds his press conferences and opened his remarks Monday morning with words that sounded so sweet to 49ers fans everywhere.

“Nothing new to report from after the game with injuries, so go ahead,” Shanahan said.

Not only did the 49ers cruise to a 27-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs on Saturday, but San Francisco also exited the game as healthy as they have been all season.

The 49ers advanced to the NFC Championship Game on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium. Their inactive list figures to consist of seven healthy players, just as it was Saturday against the Vikings.

When the 49ers rolled to a 37-8 win over the Packers on Nov. 24, defensive end Dee Ford and linebacker Kwon Alexander did not play due to injuries. Both returned to the lineup against the Vikings and should be in even better shape to face Green Bay.

Ford returned to action and appeared to make it through just fine with a bothersome hamstring that limited him to just four snaps in the 49ers’ final six games of the regular season. Ford registered a sack while playing 22 snaps against the Vikings.

“It should be the same deal for him this week," Shanahan said. "No setbacks, so hopefully he will take a step forward. Regardless, he played at a high level for us and was very impactful when he was in there.”

[RELATEDHow 49ers' D got speed, mojo back in thrashing of Vikings]

Alexander returned to action after suffering a torn pectoral on Oct. 31. The 49ers activated him off injured reserve on Friday in order for him to suit up for the following day’s game. He played 25 snaps, playing primarily in base situations.

“I thought Kwon did a real good job,” Shanahan said. "I knew he was going to be fired up to get out there. I’m always nervous for guys when they are that excited to get out there and they haven’t played in a while.

“You knew he was going to run around and hit. He also did a good job of not making mistakes. He kept his poise on the field.”

The only in-game physical issue that impacted playing time came when running back Raheem Mostert experienced cramps in his calf. Tevin Coleman went out for a series that Mostert was scheduled to play. Shanahan said Mostert is fine and should be a full-go at practice on Wednesday.

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers playoff coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday)

Also tune in at 2:30 p.m. Sunday for “49ers Pregame Live,” with Laura Britt, Jeff Garcia, Donte Whitner, Ian Williams and Grant Liffmann previewing the NFC Championship Game against the Packers. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on “49ers Postgame Live,” starting at approximately 5:30 p.m.

Drew Brees apologizes for 'insensitive' comments on NFL players kneeling

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Drew Brees apologizes for 'insensitive' comments on NFL players kneeling

Drew Brees issued an apology Thursday morning on Instagram for the comments he made Wednesday in regard to NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and systemic racism.

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I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday. In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused. In an attempt to talk about respect, unity, and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem, I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country. They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy. Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character. This is where I stand: I stand with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality and support the creation of real policy change that will make a difference. I condemn the years of oppression that have taken place throughout our black communities and still exists today. I acknowledge that we as Americans, including myself, have not done enough to fight for that equality or to truly understand the struggles and plight of the black community. I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the black community in this movement. I will never know what it’s like to be a black man or raise black children in America but I will work every day to put myself in those shoes and fight for what is right. I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy. I am sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday, but I take full responsibility and accountability. I recognize that I should do less talking and more listening...and when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen. For that, I am very sorry and I ask your forgiveness.

A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on

Here is Brees' apology in its entirety:

I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday. In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused.

in an attempt to talk about respect, unity, and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem, I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country. They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy. Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character.

This is where I stand:

I stand with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality and support the creation of real policy change that will make a difference.
I condemn the years of oppression that have taken place throughout our black communities and still exists today.
I acknowledge that we as Americans, including myself, have not done enough to fight for that equality or to truly understand the struggles and plight of the black community.
I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the black community in this movement.
I will never know what it’s like to be a black man or raise black children in America but I will work every day to put myself in those shoes and fight for what is right.
I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy.
I am sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday, but I take full responsibility and accountability. I recognize that I should do less talking and more listening...and when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen.
For that, I am very sorry and I ask your forgiveness.

On Wednesday, the New Orleans Saints quarterback was asked if he now would support players who choose to kneel in protest during the national anthem. Brees told Yahoo! Finance that he still believes kneeling is "disrespecting the flag," citing his father and grandfather, both of whom served in the military, as reasons he believes players should stand for the anthem.

Brees' comments drew widespread criticism from his teammates and players across the league, including Saints receiver Michael Thomas, 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, former 49er and current Saint Emmanuel Sanders and Raiders running back Josh Jacobs.

[RELATED: Poole: Brees shows he's part of America's problem, not solution]

That line of thinking showed that Brees still didn't understand why former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick chose to kneel during the national anthem during the 2016 season. Kaepernick first took a seat during the anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice, but after talking with Nate Boyer, a former Green Beret and long snapper for the Seattle Seahawks, he decided taking a knee would be the most respectful way to protest the injustices in this country.

Kaepernick opted out of his contract at the end of the 2016 season and has not played a snap in the NFL since. He has alleged the NFL owners conspired to keep him out of the league due to his protest. He settled a collusion lawsuit with the NFL last year.

The conversation around police brutality and systemic racism has been reignited after widespread protests broke out across the country in the wake of George Floyd's death in police custody.

Floyd, a 46-year-old black male died after Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for over eight minutes. Video footage shows Floyd telling Chauvin and the three other officers watching that he couldn't breathe. It was later announced Floyd died in police custody. Chauvin was arrested Friday and will be charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The other three officers, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, were arrested Wednesday and are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Richard Sherman says 'majority didn't want to hear' Colin Kaepernick's message

Richard Sherman says 'majority didn't want to hear' Colin Kaepernick's message

Richard Sherman always understood Colin Kaepernick's message, even if he didn't support the method in which Kaepernick delivered it.

After the now-former 49ers quarterback sat during the playing of the national anthem before a preseason game in 2016, Sherman -- then with the Seattle Seahawks -- said at the time that Kaepernick "could have picked a better platform and a better way to do it," but the cornerback noted Kaepernick was "talking about the oppression of African Americans in this country, and that has been going on for a long time."

Kaepernick consistently insisted that his protest, in which he opted to kneel after consulting with former Seahawks long snapper and Green Beret Nate Boyer, was a demonstration against police brutality toward African Americans and institutional racism. The QB said it was not directed at members of the military, past or present, but his critics -- ranking as high as soon-to-be-President Donald Trump -- argued Kaepernick was disrespecting his country, its flag and its military service members.

Now, with Kaepernick's protest gaining renewed attention as protestors demonstrate against police brutality and racism around the world following the death of 46-year-old George Floyd -- an African American man -- in Minneapolis police custody last week, Sherman doesn't think the QB's message was misunderstood.

He thinks most people just chose to ignore it.

"He was really straightforward because this has been an issue forever," the 49ers cornerback told NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry in a text. "I don't think the message got lost, I think the majority didn't want to hear the message because they didn't feel like it impacted their lives so they avoided an uncomfortable conversation."

Along those lines, Sherman told Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer earlier this week that he was "impressed" with white quarterbacks like Carson Wentz, Joe Burrow and Ryan Tannehill speaking out after Floyd's death because "their voices carry different weight than the black voices for some people."

The Stanford alumnus said back in the 2016 season that people were "missing the point" of Kaepernick's protest, disregarding it by "saying he's not patriotic." A year later, as Kaepernick remained unsigned into the regular season and Sherman began what would be his last season in Seattle, Sherman said people were "closing their ears" because Kaepernick kneeled as "The Star-Spangled Banner" played.

The outspoken cornerback thought New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees did that Wednesday when he told Yahoo Finance that any players who would protest during the upcoming season would be "disrespecting the flag." Sherman tweeted that Brees was "beyond lost."

[RELATED: Poole: Brees reveals he's part of problem, not solution]

Four years later, with Floyd's death -- as well as those of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African American woman who was fatally shot in her home by Louisville police, and Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old African American man who was followed, shot and killed by two white men while jogging in his neighborhood -- fresh in the minds of protestors around the world, people are demonstrating in support of Kaepernick's message and demanding change.

Sherman said it was there all along. Now, more people are choosing to listen.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]