49ers

Ex-49ers linebacker Reuben Foster still could face NFL suspension

Ex-49ers linebacker Reuben Foster still could face NFL suspension

ATLANTA -- Reuben Foster will not face any legal consequences from his November arrest at the 49ers’ team hotel in Tampa, Fla.

But NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the now-Washington linebacker still is subject to punishment from the league even after the Florida State Attorney’s office dropped a domestic violence charge against him on Jan. 3.

“We continue our investigation into that,” Goodell said Wednesday at the Super Bowl. “Whether the charges were dropped doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t violation of our personal conduct policy. Reuben and I have met before. We will talk again. But we’ll conclude that investigation, make a determination, and we’ll go from there.”

The NFL suspended Foster for two games at the beginning of the 2018 season for violations of the league’s policies on personal conduct of substances of abuse.

His suspension for personal conduct was from his no contest plea on the weapons charge, which was reduced to a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to two years probation, 232 hours of community service and $235 in fines. Foster’s violation of the league’s policy on substances of abuse stemmed from an offseason misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana in Alabama.

Foster, 24, was a first-round draft pick of the 49ers in 2017. But he appeared in just 17 games before the team released him following a string of off-field incidents, including three arrests.

Foster was arrested Nov. 24 at the 49ers' team hotel in Tampa after his ex-girlfriend accused him of swatting a phone out of her hand, pushing her in the chest and slapping her on the left side of her face with an open hand.

He remained at Hillsborough County jail overnight. The morning after his arrest, the 49ers announced they were releasing Foster -- just hours before the 49ers’ game against the Buccaneers.

”This wasn’t a comment on what happened there, because that would be mere speculation on our part,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said at the time. “It’s more of a comment on him not living up to what we had communicated, to the energy and the time that we invested into him.”

Washington claimed Foster off waivers and paid him $257,350 over the final five weeks of the season while he was placed on the commissioner exempt list, which prohibited him from practicing or attending games.

It was not the first alleged domestic violence incident involving Foster and the woman, Elissa Ennis. In February, she told officers in Los Gatos that Foster struck her eight to 10 times in the head. He originally was charged with felonies for domestic violence, making criminal threats and weapons possession.

Three months later, a Santa Clara County judge dismissed the domestic violence charges, ruling the District Attorney’s office did not show sufficient evidence to proceed with the case. Ennis testified during the preliminary hearing that she lied during her initial statements to investigators as revenge against Foster, who told her he wanted to break up with her.

49ers end zones at Super Bowl 54 will be painted red with saloon font

49ers end zones at Super Bowl 54 will be painted red with saloon font

It's a tradition. During playoffs, the 49ers paint the end zone red at Levi's Stadium as opposed to keeping the green grass color as they do during the regular season. 

Good news for fans who love this idea, the concept will continue for Super Bowl LIV. 

"The 49ers asked for, and received, permission for their end zone to be decorated like the Levi’s Stadium end zones in the recent playoff games," according to The Athletic.

In addition to the red background, the Saloon-font will stay as well.

The only difference for the upcoming game against the Kansas Chiefs in Miami on Feb. 2, is that neither of the end zones will include a conference logo as they would at home during the regular season.

They recreated the tradition this season when the 49ers hosted the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC divisional-round.

It'll bring a sense of home while being on the opposite side of the country. 

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (5:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 8:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 6:00 p.m. Friday).

49ers' K'Waun Williams takes pride in playing bigger than his size

49ers' K'Waun Williams takes pride in playing bigger than his size

SANTA CLARA -- Near the end of the third quarter in the NFC Championship, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed a 4-yard pass to 6-foot-3, 227-pound receiver Allen Lazard. 

Facing 5-foot-9, 185-pound nickel corner K’Waun Williams, Lazard should've been able to get at least a few yards after the catch, but that was not that case. Instead, the 49ers defensive back stopped Lazard cold in his tracks. 

That wasn’t the only time Williams tackled an opponent without allowing any yards after the catch during last Sunday’s game. Four of his five solo tackles on receivers netted zero yards after the catch. 

Williams’ sixth solo tackle was of Packers running back Aaron Jones who outweighs the defender by 30 pounds.

The slot corner also has speed in his bag of tricks. He sacked Rodgers and forced his fifth fumble of 2019 which leads all defensive backs, according to Pro Football Focus.

“They don’t mention your heart, you know what I’m saying?” Williams told NBC Sports Bay Area after the game. “You just got to go out there and be aggressive. It’s a mindset thing to be able to go out there and know I got to get there.”

Every Packers player who Williams stopped outweighed him by at least 17 pounds. 

“It’s just effort,” Williams said. “You know, I just go out there and I just try to be aggressive and just try to tackle a guy. It’s just the way I’ve been tackling since I was young. I just find a way to get to the point where I can grip, and I just grab and roll.”  

Williams has put together a solid fifth season, netting two interceptions and 35 solo tackles in the regular season. The 49ers defense was highly criticized for not tackling well during the last two seasons, but Williams is a prime example of how that has changed. 

“I work a lot,” Williams said. “I put in a lot of work. I attribute a lot to my coaches Joe Woods and Daniel Bullocks. They do a good job every week getting our tackling right. It’s just our effort on defense and our energy. I’m just happy to be able to bring it to them.”  

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It seems Williams takes great pride in playing much bigger than his actual size. His eyes light up when asked about tackling players that are taller and outweigh him. The challenge is not new to the sixth-year defensive back. 

“I’ve always been this size so I don’t know no other way,” Williams said. “I just go out there and be passionate and just bring a lot of energy and secure the tackles and make the plays for the defense.”  

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (5:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 8:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 6:00 p.m. Friday).