49ers

How Colton McKivitz earned 49ers' prized 'gold helmet' before NFL draft

How Colton McKivitz earned 49ers' prized 'gold helmet' before NFL draft

When general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan took over the 49ers in 2017, they established an ideal set of criteria for potential draft-eligible prospects. An array of attributes are evaluated, from off-the-field character to football IQ.

49ers vice president of player personnel Adam Peters recently told The Athletic's Matt Barrows that fifth-round pick Colton McKivitz was one of around 15 potential draftees the team deemed worthy of this "gold helmet" designation.

“Gold helmet is not something we give out a lot,” Peters told Barrows. “The person really has to be exemplary, really has to stand out.”

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

McKivitz is a unique personality to say the least, as his father became famous around the West Virginia campus for wearing various animal skins as hats at every Mountaineer game.

But McKivitz also was a National Honor Society recipient and started 47 of 50 games in his collegiate career, even earning Big 12 Co-Offensive Lineman of the Year honors in 2019.

[RELATED: Trent Williams explains why 49ers were his ideal trade destination]

McKivitz has an aggressive reputation on the field, but his former offensive line coach and family friend says the 49ers couldn't be getting a better all-around person.

“You’re not going to find a better human being as far as moral conduct is concerned,” Brion Schiappa said. “He will never embarrass the 49ers. Ever.”

San Francisco dealt with injuries across the offensive line in 2019, and will be counting on McKivitz's versatility in 2020 for depth.

Ex-49ers teammate explains why Colin Kaepernick fits in today's NFL

Ex-49ers teammate explains why Colin Kaepernick fits in today's NFL

Around the NFL, every team is looking for the next Patrick Mahomes. The next Lamar Jackson, the next Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson. 

The 49ers had exactly that in Colin Kaepernick, a game-changing dual-threat quarterback.

Seven-year pro Michael Thomas saw that firsthand back in 2012, the first year Kaepernick took over for Alex Smith as the 49ers' starting QB and led them to the Super Bowl. Thomas was a safety on the San Francisco's practice squad that year before carving out a role with the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants. He even made the Pro Bowl in 2018. 

And Thomas finds it unexplainable how NFL teams aren't fighting to get Kaepernick's skill set on the field. 

"He’s the type of quarterback that today’s NFL is built for," Thomas wrote as the guest writer for NBC Sports' Peter King's "Football Morning in America" column. "It’s built for the mobile quarterback, it’s built for the quarterback who can run but also throw. He’s that dual-threat option. He’s mobile, and he has a big arm that can hit the deep threat. He causes confusion for defenses if he gets into any kind of zone-read option. And obviously the RPO game is bigger than ever.

"Set aside for a second what the league would gain in terms of credibility by bringing him back. From a pure football standpoint, his style fits the league perfectly."

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

Over his six-year career, five as a starter, Kaepernick has totaled 12,271 passing yards and 72 touchdowns through the air. He also has 2,300 career rushing yards and another 13 TDs. 

But Kaepernick hasn't played in the NFL since 2016, the same year he began first sitting then kneeling during the national anthem as a peaceful protest against racial and social injustices. Thomas, as a member of the Dolphins, played against Kaepernick that season and the QB was dominant. 

The less talented 49ers lost 31-24 in Miami, but Kaepernick's ability as a passer and runner were on full display. He completed 29 of 46 pass attempts for 296 yards, three touchdowns and was intercepted once. He also rushed 10 times for 113 yards, his last game with at least 100 yards rushing. 

[RELATED: These Montana highlights show 1989 playoff dominance]

The 49ers were just 1-9 going into the game against the 6-4 Dolphins. Kaepernick was tackled at the 2-yard line to end the game, just falling short of completely putting the team on his back in a rough road environment.

That also was nearly four years ago. There are no guarantees Kaepernick plays another game of football in his life. To Thomas, that's baffling, and understandably so.

Why Warriors could be new Washington NFL team nickname after change

snydergetty.jpg
Getty Images

Why Warriors could be new Washington NFL team nickname after change

After starting a thorough review of its nickname July 3, Washington's NFL franchise announced it has decided on a nickname change Monday.

While the new nickname won't be revealed Monday, it might end up being one that is quite familiar to Bay Area sports fans: the Warriors.

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

Washington owner Dan Snyder previously has filed to trademark both "Washington Warriors" and "Warriors" multiple times, and The 980's Kevin Sheehan reported on his podcast that the name is the leader in the clubhouse to be the new nickname.

However, Snyder could run into some issues. Snyder owned the rights to any Arena Football League expansion in the Washington area, and was expected to name them the Warriors, but he ultimately abandoned his quest for the trademark.

In April 2019, the trademark office sent Snyder a letter saying he had six months to respond if he still was interested in the Warriors. He did not respond, and by October the trademark office issued a "partial abandonment" ruling, meaning Snyder could only use the trademark for football and not for memorabilia.

Another thing stands in the way of Snyder rebranding the team the Washington Warriors. A 61-year-old man named Martin McCaulay is a trademark squatter, a person who filed for trademarks so that larger corporations eventually will have to pay him for them. McCaulay's trademarks include the Washington Redtailed Hawks, Washington Americans, Washington Federals and Washington Monuments, per The Washington Times. McCaulay filed to trademark "Washington Warriors" in 2015. It now is suspended and under review. McCaulay said Snyder will have to "get in line" if he wants to use it.

[RELATED: Kittle questions how football players can socially distance]

"Warriors" also seem to be a popular choice among fans, with several logo and uniform mockups hitting Twitter in recent weeks.

Washington opened a review of its nickname after Snyder began to face pressure after protests for social justice and racial equality began in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody in May. Snyder previously has said he would sell the team before changing the offensive nickname.

But after FedEx said it would pull all signage from the stadium unless it was changed by 2021, and Nike pulled all gear from the website, it was clear a change was imminent. By the time the franchise announced the nickname was under thorough review, Snyder reportedly already had been in talks with the NFL about a name change, per ESPN.