49ers

George Kittle recruiting Antonio Brown to 49ers with late-night tweet?

George Kittle recruiting Antonio Brown to 49ers with late-night tweet?

The 49ers need a No. 1 wide receiver and George Kittle is on the case.

In the wake of an ESPN report that Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown got into a dispute with a teammate and skipped practices ahead of the 2018 season finale on Sunday, the 49ers tight end sent a curious tweet to Brown at 10:05 p.m. PT on New Years Eve.

Just 25 minutes later, Brown responded.

Brown is the dynamic playmaker Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers need. The 30-year-old caught 104 passes for 1,297 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. Brown has at least 1,284 receiving yards in each of the last six seasons.

Among 49ers wide receivers in 2018, Kendrick Bourne had the high-water mark with 487 yards on 42 receptions.

Brown has two years remaining on a four-year, $68 million contract he signed with Pittsburgh prior to the 2017 season. According to Spotract, Brown has a base salary of $12.625 million in 2019 with a cap hit of $22.165 million.

A few of Kittle's teammates took notice of his tweet and chimed in.

Kittle needs some help and he's trying to make things happen himself. Now, let's see if GM John Lynch is willing to pony up the high price it would take to get Brown from the Steelers.

NFL unveils new Oakley mouth shield recommended for coronavirus safety

NFL unveils new Oakley mouth shield recommended for coronavirus safety

Sports around the world are going to great lengths to try and keep athletes safe as they return to action amid the coronavirus pandemic. For professional football, teams like the 49ers face a litany of difficulties when it comes to trying to operate a standard NFL game while adhering to California's social distancing guidelines.

The NFL unveiled one idea on Monday, the Oakley Mouth Shield, which hypothetically would be worn on the field and help reduce the spread of the virus.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

The NFL's chief medical officer hasn't formally mandated the use of face masks for players just yet, but he is encouraging the concept.

"That's certainly what we're going to encourage," Dr. Allen Sills told ESPN. "And we hope that we're going to land on a product design that's something that everyone would want to wear, because they'll see the value and want that additional protection without any detriment to performance."

The masks already are being put into practice with the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, two teams who train nearby Oakley's international headquarters.

49ers tight end George Kittle recently questioned how players will be able to stay safe between the lines this fall during a conversation with NBC Sports Bay Area.

"Whether your lockers are six feet apart or not, you still have to get in a huddle and I still have to block Nick Bosa and I still have block Arik Armstead in camp," Kittle told Matt Maiocco on the "49ers Insider Podcast." "It's hard to social distance when you're on the line of scrimmage. That's the one thing I'm most interested in seeing how it plays out."

[RELATED: Ex-49er sees Jamal Adams as next Richard Sherman-type face of NFL]

Some players around the league already have expressed their doubts about the proposed face masks.

"My second year in the league I thought it'd be cool, I put a visor on my helmet," Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt told ProFootballTalk. "I was like, 'It looks so cool, I wanna put a visor on.' I had it on for about three periods of practice and I said, 'Take this sucker off -- I'm gonna die out here.' ... So now you're gonna put something around my mouth? You can keep that. If that comes into play, I don't think you're gonna see me on the field."

Just like the countrywide pushback we've seen to mask mandates in the U.S., an NFL directive for players to apply these masks to their helmets likely would be met with mixed feelings. We've seen numerous players from the NBA and MLB withdraw from their season restarts over safety concerns, there could begin to be NFL players entertaining the same idea if they don't feel protected from potential contamination

49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo snubbed in Madden 21 top quarterback rankings

49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo snubbed in Madden 21 top quarterback rankings

This is getting ridiculous. No love for Jimmy Garoppolo … again?

That’s right -- the 49ers’ quarterback was left of the top 10 ranking list at the position for Madden NFL 21, as some details have been leaked Monday. 

Sure, it’s tough to share company with Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson, but come on.

The guy helped lead the 49ers to 13 wins and Super Bowl LIV last season -- and that was one year after a torn ACL injury. 

This comes off Jimmy G only receiving only two top-10 votes during a poll on ESPN where NFL executives, coaches, scouts and players were asked to pick their top-10 quarterbacks currently in the game. JUST TWO.

A veteran coach did give him a compliment saying Jimmy G probably has a ceiling, and he thinks “he’s a really good quarterback in this league.”

This week, ESPN will be revealing the player ratings beginning Monday. The ratings are decided by the Madden NFL Ratings Performance Adjustors which calculates a number of ratings in every player which for quarterbacks include speed, acceleration, agility rating, awareness rating, throw power rating, break sack rating, throw under pressure rating, play-action rating and throw on the run rating. 

This isn’t the first time Garoppolo has been overlooked either, not by far. His teammates have come to his defense before because they were the ones who see him put work in.

George Kittle specifically has spoken against some of the criticisms

Kittle also was snubbed in the recent Madden ratings having not been made a member of the prestigious “99 Club” despite being the best tight end in the league.

Garoppolo was one of the leaders of the team that began the 2019 season 8-0 and also was the only quarterback to rank in the top five in yards per attempt (8.4), passing touchdowns (27) and completion percentage (69.1). 

[RELATED: Kittle questions how football could be played while social distancing]

In his first full season under coach Kyle Shanahan, Garoppolo accumulated 3,978 passing yards, 102.0 passer rating and just three interceptions.

Put some respect on the name.