49ers

49ers' Marcell Harris wants to be 'one of the greatest safeties ever'

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USATSI

49ers' Marcell Harris wants to be 'one of the greatest safeties ever'

SANTA CLARA — 49ers rookie safety Marcell Harris is excited and ready for his number to be called.

It’s been a tough road for Harris, who missed his last season in Florida after tearing his Achilles during summer team activities. The 49ers still thought enough of Harris to draft him in the sixth round with the 184th overall pick. 

There have been several 49ers injuries at safety this season. Adrian Colbert went on season-ending injured reserve, and Jaquiski Tartt has been battling a shoulder injury. As a result, Harris was activated to the 53-man roster Nov. 1. 

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan spoke about how mentally challenging it has been for the rookie to not be able to get out onto the field.

“Marcell, it’s been a tough road for him,” Shanahan said. “He wanted to come and help us right away coming off his Achilles from his last year in college. It was tough. He’s been itching to get out there every second. 

“Tried in training camp, wasn’t quite ready. He’s been waiting so hard for the day he could come out and practice. I know it was a couple weeks ago. The time he got to come out and practice, I think it was the Green Bay week, was his first time.”

Even when Harris finally was able to practice, it didn’t go exactly the way he wanted. 

“We had too many guys down on offense,” Shanahan said. “I think we had like eight starters out not able to practice that week. So, we had to walk through. It was torture for Marcell because he had been waiting so long to come out and practice, and his first practice back was a walk-through. He had to wait for that.

“Then, last week we had to walk through because of the Thursday night game. He’s been working, he’s itching to get out there. It was cool that he got out there and got to play a little bit last week. Hopefully, we’ll see him a little bit more as we go.”

[RELATED: Two options to replace Mostert on 49ers' roster]

Harris spoke about how difficult it was been to go against his nature and use restraint in practice. 

“It’s been challenging, controlling the pace of everything,” Harris said. “I’m fast at everything. I’m very competitive, so every rep is like it's your last. It’s like a game rep. That’s how I approach it.” 

Harris has taken advantage of his time not being able to suit up. He has used mental reps to prepare for when his number is called. 

“I just lock in and listen,” Harris said. “I have to stay in the game and mentally go through calls. Looking and watching through it helps when you get out there.” 

Harris played six defensive snaps and 15 on special teams against the Raiders. He is very enthusiastic about the possibility of getting more playing time Monday night against the New York Giants. 

“It’s very exciting,” Harris said. “I’m very blessed for the opportunity that I’ve been given. Coming off what I came off of, whenever my number gets called, I’m going to make the most of my opportunity.” 

Harris doesn’t discount what he has been through. It’s been a struggle, but he believes it has made him a better player in the long run. 

“The struggle was honestly the mindset,” Harris said. “Your mindset has to become a lot different. I had to do a lot of things differently than I would do before being injured. It’s a whole new mindset coming off the whole thing. 

“Honestly, it makes you a better player when you come off of it, because you know how to treat your body, what to do, and your body knows how to work with your mind. I feel that was a big step for me because now I carry myself as a real professional in having to take care of my body the right way.”

[RELATED: 49ers-Giants game picks]

When asked about his goals coming back from injury, the answer was easy for Harris. 

“I’m getting my goal right now,” Harris said. “I’m getting my opportunity right now. I’m on the field, and that was my goal to get back at it. I want to be one of the greatest safeties ever.” 

To players going through the challenge of rehabbing from a major injury, Harris has a little advice. 

“Keep your faith,” Harris said. “It’s just now. The injury is just now. Just keep your faith and know it’s going to come back to playing, and you’re going to be all right.”

49ers' Arik Armstead ignores critics of speaking up on social issues

49ers' Arik Armstead ignores critics of speaking up on social issues

Arik Armstead doesn't want to hear it.

The 49ers defensive lineman spoke to Sactown Magazine for its July/August issue, and says that if you're not willing to listen to his dialogue off the field about social issues affecting our country, he doesn't want you tuning in to watch him and his teammates dominate on the field.

“If you don’t want me speaking out against racism and social issues and social injustices, then don’t watch me play on Sundays," Armstead said. "Can’t have a piece of me and not all of me.”

Armstead also joined NBC Sports Bay Area's "Race In America" series a few weeks ago, and spoke about the pain he felt seeing video of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police Custody.

"Like, why do I have to continue -- why do we have to continue to see people that look like us get murdered on social media and on the TV?" Armstead told Logan Murdock and Monte Poole on  "Race In America: A Candid Conversation." " ... I'm on Instagram, and I just got to see another Black person get killed unjustly."

[RACE IN AMERICA: Listen to the latest episode]

The 26-year-old also discussed a time when he was racially profiled by local police near a friend's house in Elk Grove.

“A cop gets behind us, pulls us over,” Armstead recalls. “‘What y’all doing? Where y’all going?’”

[RELATED: Colin Kaepernick, Nate Boyer helped enact real change with discussion]

The officer then made Armstead and his friends prove that they knew the people whose house they were traveling to, by bringing the cop with them to the front door and having the friend explain that he was acquainted with Armstead.

Armstead has made it clear he won't be staying silent or "sticking to sports." For those who don't want to hear Armstead's voice on these issues, don't expect him to care whether you watch him play on Sundays.

See Joe Staley's motivational IG message for 49ers' Kendrick Bourne

See Joe Staley's motivational IG message for 49ers' Kendrick Bourne

Joe Staley long has been a model of consistency for the 49ers, spending the past 12 seasons protecting a myriad of 49ers quarterbacks as San Francisco's starting left tackle.

Staley's younger teammates held so much respect for him, as you could see from the many who spoke publicly in the wake of Staley's retirement back in April.

It appears even in retirement Staley continues to inspire his former teammates, as 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne shared an Instagram direct message from Staley on Sunday morning.

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

"Never lose sight of the goal. The ring," Staley wrote to Bourne. "That's all that matters in what we do. I never got it. You. Mr KB!! Go get it!! F-----g GET IT!! Make me proud bro. I love watching your hustle. All love."

Staley was responding to a video Bourne had posted of some of the hardware he's earned over his football career, including one of the game balls from the 49ers' blowout Week 8 win over the Carolina Panthers.

[RELATED: Why 49ers should explore David Njoku trade with Browns after demand]

Bourne and the 49ers came so close to helping Staley capture that elusive championship ring, but quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs rallied from a 10-point deficit to stun San Francisco at Super Bowl LIV.

The 49ers won the offseason in the eyes of some pundits around the league, and appear primed for another deep postseason run. It'll be up to Bourne, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and the rest of the 49ers' talented roster to finish the job if they can get back to the Super Bowl.