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.”

49ers' George Kittle 'really proud' of team's offseason work, effort

49ers' George Kittle 'really proud' of team's offseason work, effort

George Kittle was ahead of the game in preparing for what has been the most unusual offseason in NFL history. He built up his home gym before supplies ran out, permitting him to maintain his physical shape.

But, as we know, there's a difference between working out at home and playing football. Players can independently lift and train all they want, but on-field reps in a team setting are essential to success.

That's why several of the 49ers' offensive skill players have met up at various points over the last couple of months to get those reps in while team facilities remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. They've had local workouts at San Jose State, and a large contingent got together in Nashville last month.

Kittle was present for that session, which was the most-attended one yet. On the latest episode of the 49ers Insider Podcast, he told NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco that he came away very impressed with the work his teammates have been putting in.

"Really, everyone looked good," Kittle said of the Nashville session. "It was just fun to see. You could tell guys have been working. That's the effort you want to see. My last two OTAs, guys have come back and everyone might be a little stiff because maybe they weren't training the absolute hardest because there's phase one and phase two of OTAs for you to get fully back in shape. But when everyone showed up, everyone looked good. Everyone was moving fast, catching the ball, communicating well. 

"I think one of my favorite parts is trying to teach guys the motions of our offense, because I think we motion like twice as much as any other team, and trying to coach that was really fun and interesting to watch with the rookies. But I think it was very important for us to get that time together, just so we could install a little bit. Because in the Zoom meetings, you can only do so much, and I think most guys are on-the-field learners. They need to feel it, they need to see it, and we tried our best to replicate a practice."

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

It might not have been the equivalent of a traditional practice despite their efforts, but Kittle still views those sessions as a significant benefit.

"To some extent, you can do that," Kittle continued, "but you don't have coach [Kyle] Shanahan there, you don't have coach [tight ends/assistant head coach Jon] Embree, you don't have [wide receivers coach] Wes Welker there yelling at you, you don't have the defense yelling at you. So, I think it was a good start, but we have a long way to go, and I think the foundation we have put in and that everyone has put in this offseason will definitely give us a step ahead on some teams."

[RELATED: Kittle cites 49ers captaincy, leadership as holdout deterrents]

Whenever the offseason ends, San Francisco's still will have been shorter than all but one other NFL team. That's the price of advancing to the Super Bowl, one every team surely would pay, but only two actually do each year. Given the additional wear and tear the 49ers endured on their path to Super Bowl LIV, it would have been understandable if they took more time before delving into offseason work.

But as Kittle explained, the ending of that game remains fresh in the team's mind and has served as motivation to get back to the grind.

"I'm just really proud of the team," Kittle said. "I've been talking to guys the entire offseason, even guys that don't put up videos and stuff, to just check in. I think everybody feels that. Everyone was disappointed with how the season ended, and everyone's hungry, and I think that's the best thing for a team. If you don't lose that hunger, you come back stronger than ever. So, it's just fun to watch the guys work out and really train. 

"Like I said, OTAs are a big deal, especially for rookies. Like, I can't imagine going into my rookie year without an OTA, just going straight into training camp. But I think we have a mature team, even though we're still really young, and being able just to communicate with my rookies, between Chase [Harrell] and Charlie [Woerner], they're both preparing in the right ways. I think we're all just kind of itching and we're just waiting to play football again."

Throughout league history, teams that lose in the Super Bowl often have gone on to struggle the following season. Despite it being an unprecedented offseason, the 49ers clearly are determined to buck that trend.

Raheem Mostert's agent responds to fake account rescinding trade request

Raheem Mostert's agent responds to fake account rescinding trade request

Don't believe everything you see on the internet, kids.

On Thursday, a fake Twitter account pretending to be Raheem Mostert's agent Brett Tessler appeared to rescind the trade request the running back made Wednesday. The account duped people across the internet, by putting an uppercase "I" in place of the lowercase "L" in Tessler's actual Twitter handle.

The real Tessler logged on to respond to the fake account, and make it known that his client has not changed his mind about wanting to be traded from the 49ers.

You know you've made it when the internet starts fake accounts.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

Tessler and Mostert requested a trade from the 49ers on Wednesday, citing "unproductive talks" as the playoff hero looks to get the pay raise he believes he's earned after a massive postseason performance that saw him rush for 220 yards and four touchdowns in the 49ers' NFC Championship Game win over the Green Bay Packers.

Mostert, 28, went from key special teams player to lead running back during the course of the season. After a long NFL journey, it's understandable that Mostert would want to cash in, as the expiration date for most running backs is before the age of 30.

With the financial situation in the NFL uncertain due to the coronavirus pandemic, it's easy to see why Mostert and the 49ers are at a standstill. Mostert currently is the 23rd highest-paid running back in the NFL, which is, by definition, starter's money. Unfortunately for Mostert, he has no leverage in this situation.

[RELATED: Sherman blasts NFL's 2020 jersey swap policy]

Back to the plague of fake Twitter accounts.

Now, you might be wondering who would get bamboozled by an uppercase "I" replacing a lowercase "L?" Oh, no one in particular.

Sorry, Matt. Even the best get got.

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