49ers' Katie Sowers intent on helping women find their path in NFL


49ers' Katie Sowers intent on helping women find their path in NFL

INDIANAPOLIS -- As the only full-time female coach in the NFL, 49ers' Katie Sowers knows she’s a pioneer. At the Women's Careers in Football Forum that was held prior to the opening of the NFL Scouting Combine, she became a sounding board and mentor for the select women in attendance who are aspiring coaches, trainers and scouts. 

Sowers spoke with NBC Sports Bay area after the forum and expressed that she feels blessed to be heading into her third season in Santa Clara. But she added that she will never rest on her laurels. Her drive to help others find their path might even be stronger than ever. 

“Just the energy that I feel from being around these women,” Sowers said, “and knowing that I’m opening doors for them, it definitely is something that gives me my ‘why.’” 

Sowers’ wish is to have more full-time positions available to women because providing for oneself, let alone a family while being an intern is impossible. 

“I want to get to a day,” Sowers said, “where I’m not hearing women asking how many internships do I have to do because I can’t provide for my family.” 

That day may be a little bit closer. After the forum, Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians reported that he will create a full-time coaching position designated for a woman. 

“I don’t know that I feel a responsibility,” Sowers said. “I just feel a passion, and that’s not just for women. It’s for anyone who has a dream -- and that can kind of sound like a Miss America answer -- but anyone that has a dream and feels like there’s a barrier because of the societal blinders that we put on.” 

Sowers’ advice to aspiring women is not only to find their ‘why’, but to also make themselves irreplaceable. 

“Truly find out your ‘why’ because it’s going to be tiring and draining,” Sowers said. “If your ‘why’ doesn’t line up with the path you’re on, it’s not going to feel worth it. 

"Don’t try to do everything, find out what you’re good at, and what you’re going to do to be an asset to the team and you’re going to be someone that cannot be replaced.” 

[RELATED: 49ers female coach Sowers has head coach aspirations]

Kyle Shanahan and his staff obviously found Sowers irreplaceable. When asked how she accomplished that, she shared what she believes put her ahead of the curve. 

“I wanted to make sure that even though I was a woman,” Sowers said, “I was not someone that was changing the dynamics of the team. When the coaches had a staff meeting, I wasn’t changing the way people felt in the meeting. I wanted everyone to be themselves.” 

But it wasn’t just about making sure everyone was comfortable. Sowers’ work ethic hasn’t changed since she started as an intern in Atlanta. When she’s on the practice field, young players like receiver Kendrick Bourne approach her, listen, and take her coaching to heart because she’s done the homework. 

“I went out of my way to do things that other people weren’t doing,” Sowers said. “Kyle Shanahan is one of the best offensive minds in the game of football. Coming in, new to the NFL, and just the way the schemes work are completely different than the women’s football that I learned. 

“So I created my own document of every single concept. We didn’t have that documentation. We didn’t have the rules. You learned it in the classroom. You’re expected to take notes, but to me, I needed to see everything.” 

Sowers explained that she still has the document and has added to it every season. What started out as a tool for her has become a tool for some of the players. When she is on the practice field, receivers work with her as they do all of their coaches, asking questions, and taking advice. 

For some that come into contact with Sowers, this apparently seems like an unbelievable dynamic. 

“I'm asked all the time,” Sowers said “‘Do the guys respect you?’ That’s a normal question I get. One day, oddly I was watching ballet practice in Kansas City, a field very dominated by women, but there was a male director. 

“I was thinking to myself, how weird would it be if I went up to him and said, ‘You are working in a field of a lot of women, do the women listen to you?’ That would be a very weird question. But it just goes to show the power dynamics that we have in society, how men are dominant and women are submissive.”

With all of the doubt and questions about going against the grain, Sowers explained why she chose the path less traveled. 

“I’m doing it for that little girl that had a dream of playing football,” Sowers said, “but never thought could play football. I was lucky enough to have a second chance around to follow in my dad’s footsteps of coaching, but coaching a sport that was my first love.” 

49ers' Dee Ford, Jaquiski Tartt listed as day-to-day with injuries

49ers' Dee Ford, Jaquiski Tartt listed as day-to-day with injuries

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers plan to rest defensive end Dee Ford from practice Wednesday and Thursday to give him a better chance to be available to face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said Ford and safety Jaquiski Tartt are “day-to-day.” Tartt sustained a toe injury in the 49ers’ 41-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Ford did not play any in the second half of that game.

Ford did not play during the preseason due to knee tendinitis and quad irritation. He aggravated his condition on Sunday but felt as if his condition improved on Wednesday.

“For him to have a setback like he did after missing some camp, there’s always some concern but he is day to day,” Shanahan said.

“We’ll play it safe the next two days, which makes me somewhat optimistic for the game.”

[RELATED: Why Steelers coach Tomlin is impressed by 49ers D-line]

Four other players will not be available Sunday against the Steelers due to injuries: Running back Tevin Coleman (ankle), wide receivers Jalen Hurd (back) and Trent Taylor (foot), and offensive tackle Joe Staley.

Defensive back Jimmie Ward will be limited in practice Wednesday as he works back after undergoing surgery two weeks ago to repair a broken finger.

Source: 49ers 'not in' on Jalen Ramsey trade talks with Jaguars


Source: 49ers 'not in' on Jalen Ramsey trade talks with Jaguars

The 49ers are “not in” on trade activity involving Jacksonville Jaguars two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey, a league source told NBC Sports Bay Area on Wednesday.

The Jaguars are shopping Ramsey, who requested a trade, NFL Network reported Monday. Ramsey, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2016 draft, had a heated sideline confrontation with Jaguars coach Doug Marrone during Sunday’s loss to the Houston Texans.

Jaguars general manager David Caldwell reached out to all 31 other NFL teams to gauge the league-wide interest in acquiring Ramsey in a trade, according to a source.

The 49ers likely are not currently active in discussions to acquire Ramsey due to the level of compensation the Jaguars are seeking, as well as the price it would cost to sign Ramsey to a contract extension. Ramsey is scheduled to make $13.7 million in 2020 on the fifth-year option.

The 49ers are projected to be $27 million under the salary cap for the 2020 season, but the club has potential big-money extensions looming for defensive end DeForest Buckner and tight end George Kittle that could account for that cap cushion.

The 49ers do not have a second-round draft pick in 2020 after trading that pick in order to acquire Dee Ford from the Kansas City Chiefs in the offseason.

[RELATED: 49ers' Sherman, Witherspoon erase bad memories in win vs. Bucs]

The 49ers also appear to have better depth at cornerback than they have experienced in a while. Third-year player Ahkello Witherspoon has gotten off to a good start opposite of veteran Richard Sherman. Both players returned interceptions for touchdowns in the 49ers’ Week 1 victory over Tampa Bay.

Moreover, veteran cornerback Jason Verrett is healthy but has not suited up for the 49ers’ first two games as the club went with backups Emmanuel Moseley and D.J. Reed because of the versatility each offers on special teams.