49ers

Jerry Jones backs Greg Hardy after disturbing photos surface

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Jerry Jones backs Greg Hardy after disturbing photos surface

IRVING, Texas -- Dallas owner Jerry Jones showed support for Greg Hardy on Friday after photos of the bruised ex-girlfriend from the defensive end's domestic violence case were released by Deadspin.

Jones said the team hadn't seen the photos before signing Hardy to an incentive-laden $13 million free agent contract in March, but the Cowboys "were and are aware of the serious nature of this incident."

"We do not condone domestic violence," Jones said in a statement released by the team about eight hours after the photos were posted online. "We entered into the agreement with Greg fully understanding that there would be scrutiny and criticism."

As he was leaving the locker room Friday, Hardy ignored a reporter who asked repeatedly if he wanted to address the release of the photos showing various injuries to Nicole Holder.

Deadspin didn't say how the photos were obtained, and the website's account included some previously unreported details from police reports.

Hardy was convicted by a judge over the 2014 incident in North Carolina, but the case was tossed on appeal when Holder couldn't be located to testify. The incident was expunged from Hardy's record this week. Prosecutors have said Holder reached a financial settlement with Hardy.

The NFL sued for access to some of the photos used at Hardy's trial, eventually reaching a settlement. The league suspended him for 10 games while saying that evidence suggested Holder "was severely traumatized and sustained a range of injuries."

Hardy's suspension under the personal conduct policy was reduced to four games by an arbitrator. He has played three games for the Cowboys (2-5), who have lost five straight games going into a home game against Philadelphia (3-4) on Sunday night.

Before his Dallas debut against New England, Hardy made headlines again with comments about Tom Brady's wife. He also caused a stir with an inappropriate tweet about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks during this year's draft.

When the Cowboys gave up a decisive kickoff return in a loss to the New York Giants two weeks ago, Hardy barged into special teams coach Rich Bisaccia's huddle before the next kickoff and had a physical confrontation with the assistant coach.

Through it all, Jones has supported Hardy.

"We have given Greg a second chance," Jones said in his statement. "He is a member of our team and someone who is grateful for the opportunity he has been given to move forward with his life and his career."

Hardy missed the last 15 games with Carolina in 2014 because of the domestic case but still collected his $13 million salary. He was accused of choking and grabbing Holder and throwing her on a futon that had at least four semi-automatic rifles on it.

The NFL announced a tougher personal conduct policy in August 2014, three months after Hardy's incident and following widespread criticism over its handling of the domestic case involving Ray Rice.

The former Baltimore running back was suspended two games after his arrest for assaulting his then-fiancee on an Atlantic City casino elevator, but before video surfaced on his punch that knocked her out.

The league waited to gain evidence from Hardy's case before suspending him, but arbitrator Harold Henderson ruled the 10-game ban was too long because the tougher policy had established six games as the initial punishment in domestic cases.

What 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan learned from his first football job

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AP

What 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan learned from his first football job

Kyle Shanahan is the son of two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach Mike Shanahan and widely is considered one of the brightest young minds in football.

But before the younger Shanahan could help build some of the best offenses at the NFL, he got his start in coaching at UCLA as a graduate assistant at the ripe age of 23.

"Back then, I was right out of college, so everything I wanted to show, I would put cleats on and try to demonstrate it," Shanahan told ESPN's Nick Wagoner. "You are still wanting to play, and it's neat because you are close in age to all those guys, so you can relate with them a lot more. But you're learning so much more, so you can help bring stuff to the table to them that you don't always have that connection as you get a lot older."

During the 2003 season, Shanahan spent time around running back Maurice Jones-Drew, tight end Marcedes Lewis and quarterback Drew Olson.

But Shanahan only spent one season with the Bruins before being hired by Jon Gruden to be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offensive quality control coach in 2004.

"But I also didn't know as much then," Shanahan told Wagoner. "I was a GA and just getting into it. But I think you start to realize when you can help people and teach them stuff, and you can answer questions that help people, it doesn't matter whether you're a GA, a head coach, a quality control, a coordinator or whether you're talking to a walk-on or Maurice Jones-Drew or Marcedes Lewis. If you can say something that helps people and makes sense to them, they will respect you and listen to you.

"That's why I don't think appearance or age or whatever matters. It's if you know what you're talking about. That's why I don't think you have to be a guy who MFs people if you know what you're talking about. And I feel like I've always taken that from a young age and tried to be consistent with it."

[RELATED: Kocurek's craziness resonating with 49ers]

Before taking the 49ers head coaching job in 2017, Shanahan spent two seasons in Atlanta and built the Falcons into an offensive juggernaut. He hasn't been able to replicate that success in Santa Clara just yet, but the 49ers are trending upwards.

At just 39 years old, Shanahan has plenty of time left to leave his mark on the game of football.

New 49ers D-line coach Kris Kocurek might be right amount of crazy

New 49ers D-line coach Kris Kocurek might be right amount of crazy

During position drills at the beginning of each 49ers practice, defensive line coach Kris Kocurek’s gravelly voice can be heard from across the practice field. His antics may be seen as crazy to some, but to many of the players, it’s just the kind of crazy they need. 

At Arik Armstead’s Charity Gala in Sacramento during the offseason, several defensive players spoke to NBC Sports Bay Area about Kocurek and what he brings to the defensive line room. DeForest Buckner explained that Kocurek’s brand of crazy meshes perfectly with their group.

“We all got to be crazy to play this game,” Buckner said. “I’m just going to say that. We all got to have that little crazy in us. He’s a perfect fit for our room.

“It’s about consistency. He’s the same guy every day. We all know he’s passionate in everything he does. All he wants is to see is us succeed, so we respect it, we love it, we feed off of it when we go out there and practice. We want to be the best that we can be every day. That’s what he expects from us, that’s the standard and he’s just an amazing coach.”  

Armstead is heading into his fifth NFL season and notes that Kocurek has brought a new energy into the room. 

“It’s been great,” Armstead said. “He’s an amazing coach. He’s really passionate about the game, he wants us to be successful. He does seem a little crazy, but in a good way. He’s really motivating and pushing us to reach our full potential and be the best we can be. We’re really excited to have him and have him leading us.”  

Fellow lineman Ronald Blair detailed that what Kocurek brings isn’t just about football. He is helping the group in all aspects of their lives. 

“It really just changes the outlook for all of us as young guys,” Blair said. “He’s bringing something different. It’s not just about football with him. It’s about outside life, it’s about dealing with your family, it’s about everything that you put in, to just get to this point. 

“I’m just grateful to have him as a coach. He’s already done numbers in just the month or two being here. I've got nothing but respect for him. I’m looking forward to the future with him.”  

Defensive tackle Sheldon Day explained how Kocurek's intensity has changed the mood of the 49ers' defense line.

“He’s changed our room completely,” Day said. “He’s made us be more competitive with each other than we ever have been before. Every day is a competition, everyday we want to be our best, every day we’ve got to be better than the day before. 

"He’s making sure we stay on task, he’s making sure that we detail our work. He’s just bringing the best out of us. We’re definitely grateful to have him in the room.”  

Richard Sherman might not be a defensive lineman, but he already has seen a change in the defensive line group since Kocurek arrived. Kocurek’s yelling might seem brash to outsiders, but Sherman believes it’s specific and purposeful. 

“I've never met a person great at anything who wasn’t a little crazy,” Sherman said. “People look at the yelling and screaming as a negative thing. It’s not like he’s just yelling and screaming at guys, and that’s the difference between him and a lot of coaches who kind of take that style. 

“He’s yelling techniques. He’s yelling 'get off.' He’s yelling run to the ball. He’s not yelling M.F. and cursing at guys for making mistakes, he’s just yelling effort. The effort he’s giving, the guys are just trying to match. And that’s something you can get behind and something you can go with. 

“He’s teaching incredible techniques and every one of the D-linemen is saying they are benefitting from it. So you can just appreciate the energy and the amount of time that he spends and amount of effort that he spends every day just to get his guys ready.” 

[RELATED: 'Different Solomon' Thomas impressing 49ers teammates]

The addition of edge rushers Dee Ford and Nick Bosa already has raised the expectations for the defense. Kocurek's ability to fit all of the moving pieces together will be tested once the season begins.