Damontre Moore emotional about rejoining 49ers, makes most of chance

Damontre Moore emotional about rejoining 49ers, makes most of chance

SANTA CLARA – Damontre Moore pressed a football to the top of his head as he bent at his waist, leaning against the bench on the 49ers sideline. He said a prayer of gratitude in the closing seconds of his return to the NFL, which he capped with a key forced fumble.

The 49ers were also thankful Moore was still there for them after 10 weeks of the NFL regular season.

“I was emotional,” Moore said after coming up with a big play to help preserve the 49ers’ victory Sunday over the Arizona Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium. “The one thing I realized on my journey, is I got to give thanks to God.

“I was so emotional because me and coach Kris Kocurek talked probably once a week or once every other week when I was gone. He believed in me. I just have to keep thanking him for this opportunity. I love that guy. I love him. I love my brothers. I love my teammates.”

A week earlier, Moore was spending his time, as he did every Sunday, with his 6-month-old son, Sekani Deruis, and wife Tiara at their home in Mansfield, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. He watched football, kept tabs on all his friends with the 49ers, and wondered if he would get another chance to play in the NFL.

On Tuesday morning, his phone finally rang.

He was on a flight to the Bay Area later that day to work out for the 49ers, who lost defensive end Ronald Blair to a season-ending knee injury in the team’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night.

“The 49ers called and, ‘Hey, can you make this flight in two hours? You’re going to work out today, and we’ll see where it goes from there.’ It was a quick turn-around,” Moore said. “The next thing you know, on Wednesday, I’m in practice with full pads.

“This whole week has been a whirlwind. That’s why I’m so emotional. And Sunday, I’m contributing to a win. It doesn’t get any better than that. We got a win, and I actually made a couple of plays.”

Moore played 23 of the 49ers’ 69 defensive snaps, and none was bigger than his hustle play with 25 seconds remaining and the 49ers clinging to a 30-26 lead over Arizona.

Moore was rushing the passer from the left side of the defense. After Kyler Murray’s short pass completion to rookie receiver KeeSean Johnson, Moore turned and ran to the ball. Cornerback Emmanuel Moseley had Johnson wrapped up, and Moore delivered a hit to knock the ball loose. Teammate Jaquiski Tartt recovered the fumble to, in effect, clinch the victory.

“Honestly, I feel like I had to make that play because just as good of a game it was, I also had a lot of mistakes,” Moore said. “I feel like I owed it to this team. They took a risk in bringing me in, and trusting me.”

Moore, 27, broke into the NFL in 2013 as a third-round draft pick of the New York Giants. He also played for Miami, Seattle, Dallas and the Raiders in his career. After suiting up for the San Diego Fleet of the Alliance of American Football this spring, Moore signed with the 49ers to join their 90-man offseason roster.

[RELATED: Unlikely heroes show up in win over Cardinals]

Moore made a strong bid to win a roster spot at the end of training camp. And the 49ers were surprised Moore did not end up on another team before they dialed his number following Blair’s injury.

“He was the 54th guy on our roster after camp, so he earned it,” 49ers rookie defensive end Nick Bosa said. “He deserved to be here, but it’s a numbers game. And he wasn’t here for half the year, so he’s just trying to make up for the time off.”

The 49ers might need more from him after 49ers defensive end Dee Ford exited Sunday’s game with a right hamstring injury. Ford could miss some time, which would provide Moore with additional opportunities. He said he stepped right back into the 49ers’ locker room and felt as if he had never left.

“With coach Kocurek and all the guys embracing me, you would’ve thought I never got cut the way everybody treated me,” Moore said. “It’s really emotional.”

NFL rumors: Odell Beckham Jr. wants to leave Browns after one season


NFL rumors: Odell Beckham Jr. wants to leave Browns after one season

The Odell Beckham Jr. era in Cleveland reportedly could be over after just one season.

Fox Sports' Jay Glazer reported Sunday that the Browns receiver, who the 49ers pursued this offseason, wants out of Ohio. 

"[Throughout] this year, Odell Beckham has actually told other players and coaches before games, during games, 'Hey, come get me. Come get me out of here,'" Glazer said Sunday on "FOX NFL Sunday." "Remember: It was not Odell's choice to go to the Cleveland Browns. He got traded there. There now also is reports he needs sports hernia surgery. I've gotta say, I don't see that relationship ending well for them after this year."

The Browns acquired Beckham in a blockbuster trade with the New York Giants this offseason, but things have not gone according to plan in Cleveland. Beckham as 57 catches for 805 yards and just two touchdowns this season, and Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot cited multiple sources describing the Browns' offense as "dysfunctional." 

As Glazer noted, Beckham reportedly is playing through a sports hernia. NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that Beckham will need surgery and he has mostly been limited in practices. 

Beckham remains under contract through 2024, after signing a massive extension with the Giants last August. His demand rather than his team's motivation to move him would drive a potential trade this offseason, and it's fair to wonder if changing circumstances on the 49ers' part would affect their interest. 

Defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, tight end George Kittle and breakout defensive end Arik Armstead are all eligible to sign contract extensions this season. Armstead can become a free agent this offseason, while Kittle and Buckner can do the same in 2021. Whether or not the 49ers retain Armstead, it could prove difficult to bring in Beckham given San Francisco's existing salary commitments.

Over The Cap lists the 49ers as having just over $16 million in salary-cap room heading into the offseason. Parting ways with players such as injured running back Jerick McKinnon could free up space, but Beckham will carry a cap hit of at least $14.25 million in each of the next four seasons. It's also hard to envision Beckham wanting to restructure his deal after being surpassed by Julio Jones as the NFL's highest-paid receiver.

[RELATED: 49ers' Kittle on pace for best tight end season of PFF era]

The financial concerns are real, but a down season in a historically downtrodden organization shouldn't be what dissuades the 49ers from pursuing Beckham if he is made available or demands a trade. Kyle Shanahan's offense can't exactly be described as "dysfunctional." 

Beckham tweeted Friday that he didn't say he was unhappy in Cleveland, but that he is "hopeful for better results." Whether that hope takes him elsewhere will be a storyline to monitor all offseason. 

49ers center Weston Richburg carted off field in Week 14 vs. Saints


49ers center Weston Richburg carted off field in Week 14 vs. Saints

The 49ers lost a key to their offensive line with just over 10 minutes left in the third quarter Sunday against the Saints in New Orleans. 

Center Weston Richburg was carted off the field with an injury to his right knee and ankle. Richburg's right leg got caught on guard Mike Person's left leg, causing the center's leg to awkwardly bend as he went to the ground. 

San Francisco officially ruled Richburg out for the game.

[RELATED: 49ers' Ford aggravates hamstring, ruled out vs. Saints]

The 49ers had 339 total yards to the Saints' 265 at the time of Richburg's injury, but they trailed 30-28. Ben Garland took over for Richburg, and the 49ers immediately scored a touchdown on their first drive without their starting center. 

The 49ers signed Richburg to a five-year contract in March 2018.