49ers

Antonio Brown wants to play for 49ers 'really badly,' says Jerry Rice

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AP

Antonio Brown wants to play for 49ers 'really badly,' says Jerry Rice

Jerry Rice and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown have remained in communication for a while, so Rice knows what's on the mind of the seven-time Pro Bowl performer.

Rice on Monday said Brown wants to play for the 49ers, after the two FaceTimed on Sunday.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,” Rice said during an appearance on 95.7 The Game. "He wants to come here really badly."

And the Hall of Famer also made no secret of his desire to see the 49ers acquire Brown -- by whatever means possible.

“This guy, man, he’s a totally, complete team player," Rice said. "I don’t know what happened in Pittsburgh but I know that this guy, if he comes here to San Francisco, he’s going to do everything possible to help this team to win.”

Brown turns 31 in July. He has compiled six consecutive seasons with at least 1,200 yards and eight touchdowns receiving. In 2018, he caught 104 passes for 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns.

However, Brown and the Steelers organization had their difficulties this season. Brown was benched for the Steelers’ Week 17 game. Last week, Steelers president Art Rooney II told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette it would be "hard to envision" Brown as part of the team for the 2019 season.

The Steelers must find a way, however, to account for more than $21 million the club has already paid to Brown as part of bonuses he received in 2017 and ’18.

[RELATED: 49ers among four teams that could trade for Brown]

Brown does not control where he plays next season. The Steelers can trade him to whichever team offers them the most in return. His salary is not a big concern for the 49ers. His scheduled pay for next season is more than $15 million. The 49ers will have approximately $70 million in salary-cap room. The 49ers have five draft picks this year, including the Nos. 2 and 36 overall selections.

“If it was left up to me, he’d be here in a heartbeat,” Rice said.

“It sends a message to the fans, that, ‘Hey, look, we’re not looking down the road to win. We’re looking to win right now.' And he’s that type of player -- big playmaker that can make those big plays and really put a lot of fans in the stands.”

Kyle Shanahan undecided how much 49ers will play Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Broncos

Kyle Shanahan undecided how much 49ers will play Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Broncos

DENVER – Jimmy Garoppolo has participated in every practice and taken twice the number of snaps of the other 49ers quarterbacks during training camp.

But 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is uncertain how much Garoppolo will play Monday night when the 49ers face the Denver Broncos in a preseason matchup.

“I haven’t decided how much we’re going to play him on Monday night,” Shanahan said. “Want to play him. A lot has to do with when we watch his film from these two practices, how long we do play all our starters, what O-Linemen are available and things like that.”

Garoppolo saw a lot of action against the Broncos during joint practices on Friday and Saturday. Garoppolo did not suit up for the 49ers’ preseason opener last week against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium. 

Aside from the brace on his left knee, there have been few signs this summer that Garoppolo is returning from such a significant injury.

“I think what’s important, all the time, is you look at the totality of a camp and I think he’s had a really good camp, I really do,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “I think the best thing for all of us is that is, I get hesitant and reluctant to say it, but is his recovery from his knee has been flawless.”

[RELATED: Why 49ers' John Lynch is confident in Jimmy Garoppolo's successful return]

Clearly, Shanahan wants to get some playing time for Garoppolo ahead of the regular-season opener on Sept. 8 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After all, Garoppolo has started just 10 regular-season games in five seasons in the NFL.

Garoppolo’s heaviest workload is expected to come Saturday in Week 3 of the preseason against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, where he sustained his season-ending torn ACL in his right knee on Sept. 23.

“I’d like him to get in there for a little bit -- not as much as Week 3,” Shanahan said. “It gets very monotonous in camp going against the same coverages every day, some different fronts, different looks, different techniques. We get more out of these two practices than we will in the game.”

Why Kyle Shanahan's father Mike calls coaching 49ers 'ideal situation'

Why Kyle Shanahan's father Mike calls coaching 49ers 'ideal situation'

ENGLEWOOD, Colo — Former head coach Mike Shanahan didn’t return to coaching because the elements weren't quite right but he believes all the pieces are in place for his son Kyle and the 49ers to be successful. 

It was a homecoming of sorts for both Mike and Kyle Shanahan to return to Broncos headquarters during training camp. Mike spent several years in Denver as a position coach before finally becoming the head coach in 1995, where he remained for over a decade. 

After his time with the Broncos, the Mike spent four seasons as head coach in Washington with Kyle as his offensive coordinator. After Mike was relieved of his duties at the end of 2013, he has not coached since. He did, however, reveal that there were options open to him at the time. 

“Close, I was close,” Shanahan said. “One thing that has to happen is we all have to be on the same page. One thing you have to make sure of when you are a head football coach is that the owner, the GM and the quarterback are all on the same page. 

“If it doesn’t happen, the chances of winning a Super Bowl aren’t very good. Anyway, if that situation happened, I was going to take it. If not… But anyway, I had a great conversation with John [Elway], as everybody knows, and it didn’t work out and sometimes it works out for the right reasons.”

On the other hand, Mike believes Kyle has an ideal scenario in Santa Clara. 

“I think he’s in a great situation,” Mike said. “You have a chance to get a guy like John Lynch to be the general manager, being around the support staff that I’ve had a chance to talk to, besides Mr. York."

“Then you get a chance to make decisions on who you want as your coaching staff, who you want as players, bring in the right improvement through free agency. All you want to have is the opportunity to have success and Kyle is given that opportunity and I think people would say this team will get better.” 

Mike has been spending time at 49ers practice since Kyle was named head coach. He also had a chance to break down film with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo while the quarterback was rehabbing from his ACL injury. 

“A lot of people don’t understand when a quarterback gets hurt in the second or third game, and then you have surgery, and then you have your coach coaching and the quarterback’s getting ready for the game. 

“I had a chance to sit down with Jimmy and maybe just talk about defenses for a couple of weeks, talking about terminology of defenses, blitz schemes, zone schemes, and go through the daily installation, or he can just sit back and relax and we can just talk football being part of that terminology system. Obviously knowing the installation schedule, it got a chance for him to relax and have some fun and at the same time, we could study football together.”

Kyle described what it meant to have his father out at practice and reminisced about their time together in Denver. 

[RELATED: Richard Sherman, 49ers defense 'light years ahead' of last season]

“It’s pretty cool. I didn’t see him at all because I was pretty focused on practice. I heard he was doing a press conference in between it, that’s what these guys told me. No, I love having my dad out. 

“He comes out to San Francisco, too, so that’s not that unusual to see him out there. But, this is my first time back here since my dad left, which is college for me. It’s good to see a lot of old people and really enjoyed our time here.”