49ers

Jay-Z dedicates song to Colin Kaepernick at NYC concert

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AP

Jay-Z dedicates song to Colin Kaepernick at NYC concert

NEW YORK — Jay-Z performed his first headlining concert in three years in his hometown of New York City on Friday, a show that featured his popular hits and a dedication to outspoken NFL player Colin Kaepernick.

The Brooklyn rapper kicked off the first of three days of the Meadows Music and Arts Festival at Citi Field in Queens, performing a 90-minute set that included his well-known songs as well as political moments.

“I want to dedicate this song to Colin Kaepernick tonight,” Jay-Z said of “The Story of O.J.,” a song about blackness and managing money that also references O.J. Simpson.

“I want to dedicate this to Dick Gregory. I want to dedicate this song to anyone that was held back and you overcame,” he added about the song from his personal and revealing album, “4:44.”

Kaepernick became a polarizing figure among NFL fans for his decision to sit, and then kneel, during the national anthem last season to protest police brutality. Gregory, who died last month, was a comedian and activist who broke racial barriers in the 1960s and used his humor to spread messages of social justice and nutritional health.

Jay-Z’s performance, though full of energy and excitement, had some other serious tones.

When the beat for the Kanye West-produced 2003 song “Lucifer” came on — which samples Max Romeo’s “Chase the Devil” and includes the lyrics “Lucifer son of the morning, I’m gonna chase you out of Earth” — Jay-Z told the mostly young audience: “I promise we won’t take people out of this country.”

Jay-Z also said to the crowd, several times, that “love always trumps hate.”

At the show, the 47-year-old icon wore a white T-shirt featuring the artwork of the 1965 Beatles film and album, “Help!” Jay-Z said he wanted to transform the show into rock ‘n’ roll territory when he played his collaborations with Linkin Park, even paying tribute to the band’s lead singer Chester Bennington, who hanged himself in July.

“If you know this song, I want you to sing it so loud he can hear you in heaven,” Jay-Z said before performing the Grammy-winning mashup “Numb/Encore,” standing still and holding the microphone close with both of his hands.

Jay-Z’s set also included big hits from his 21-year-old career, from “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” to “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” to “Empire State of Mind.” His last main show in New York was part of his 2014 On the Run Tour with Beyonce, though he’s had some performances for his Tidal streaming service and surprise appearances.

Reggae artist Damian Marley joined in for “Bam” from “4:44,” which was released in June and features songs about Jay-Z’s personal life and work as an entrepreneur.

The Meadows festival, in its second year, will also play Saturday and Sunday, featuring performers like Gorillaz, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nas, Weezer, Future and LL Cool J across four stages. Migos, Run the Jewels, Two Door Cinema Club and 21 Savage also performed Friday.

Throughout his set, Jay-Z offered concertgoers encouraging words.

“If anybody got a dream, you chase that (dream) with everything you got,” he said at one point.

When one fan was eager for Jay-Z to sign something, the rapper asked if the fan had a pen.

The fan did not.

“How am I going to sign your (stuff) without a pen?” Jay-Z asked.

“Got to be prepared,” he told the fan.

Frank Gore admits he still keeps in touch with 49ers organization

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USATSI

Frank Gore admits he still keeps in touch with 49ers organization

The NFL is business, and often times that leads to hurt feelings.

Teams draft players, run them into the ground on the cheap and then decided to either trade them, cut them or not re-sign them when the time comes. Being used breeds animosity, and a lack of loyalty can burn bridges built through years of trust. 

But when it comes to Frank Gore and the 49ers, no such animosity exists.

The 49ers drafted Gore out of Miami with a third-round pick of the 2005 NFL Draft. Gore played 10 seasons in the Bay Area, rushing for 11, 073 yards and 63 touchdowns. After the 2014 season, Gore signed a three-year contract with the Colts after the 49ers elected not to offer him a long-term deal.

Gore has gone from the Colts to the Dolphins and now finds himself with the Bills, but he still keeps in touch with the organization that gave him his first shot. 

“I still talk to Jed (York), talk to Paraag (Marathe), I still talk to Scot McCloughan," Gore told KNBR's Al Sacco. "I played 10 years there. I was blessed to play 10, and I know the business of it but I respect Jed. He let his guys make the decision on whether to bring me back and I respect it. Like I said, his mom calls me, his dad texts me here and there. It’s like a family over there.”

[RELATED: Where 49ers, Raiders stand in latest NFL power rankings]

Gore recently eclipsed the 15,000-yard mark for his career. He has said he wants to retire as a member of the 49ers when the time comes.

But for now, Gore plans to keep on racking up the yards for the Bills, or whoever else wants him toting the rock,

Why 49ers' Robbie Gould could get boost from Kyle Nelson's return

Why 49ers' Robbie Gould could get boost from Kyle Nelson's return

Sunday's 9-0 win over Washington did not start well for 49ers kicker Robbie Gould, who pushed a 45-yard field-goal attempt wide to the left in a scoreless game in the first half.

But things got a lot better for him and the team in the second half. Gould made field-goal attempts of 28, 22 and 29 yards to provide all of the 49ers' points Sunday in a steady downpour at muddy FedEx Field.

The news keeps getting better for Gould, who should benefit from the return of Kyle Nelson, who has served as the 49ers’ primary long-snapper since 2014.

Nelson completed his 10-game suspension on Sunday for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. The long-snapper is eligible to return off the NFL’s reserve/suspended list to play on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers at Levi’s Stadium.

“Just got to get back to work,” Gould said on Sunday. “Obviously, we got to get consistent. We got to get back into a rhythm. I think that’s been the most challenging part over the last six weeks is there have been a lot of moving parts.

“You know, two-thirds of our operation hasn’t been around. And you’re going back and teaching yourself different things and going through different situations, where those situations were pretty easy in the last two years.”

Gould was nearly automatic with the 49ers after signing a two-year contract on the first day of free agency in 2017. Nelson was the long-snapper for all but the final four games of last season, and punter Bradley Pinion served as the holder.

Gould made 72 of 75 field-goal attempts in 2017 and ’18. It was the most-accurate two-season span for any kicker in NFL history with at least 50 attempts.

But after returning to the team after a contentious contract situation that resulted in Gould signing a four-year, $19 million deal, he has been forced to adjust to three different long-snappers and new holder Mitch Wishnowsky, the 49ers’ rookie punter.

The 49ers determined there were timing issues with the first long-snapper they signed, Colin Holba, and released him. Then, veteran Jon Condo retired after just one game. Garrison Sanborn took over the duties for the past three games.

Now, the 49ers hope Nelson's return will be a boost toward Gould returning to the form of his first two seasons with the team.

[RELATED: 49ers, Raiders stand pat in power rankings following Week 7]

Gould already has more single-season misses than during any time in his 15-year career. He is 12 of 19 on field-goal tries. He is 0-for-3 from 50-plus yards, 2-for-4 from 40 to 49, and 4-of-6 from 30 to 39.

He entered the season as the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history, but Gould has fallen to No. 4 on the all-time list behind Justin Tucker, Josh Lambo and Stephen Gostkowski.

“It’s been a growing experience for me,” Gould said. “I think it’s definitely been an experience where I can take the first six weeks and it’ll help me down the stretch, for sure.”