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.

Rookie LB Fred Warner is setting the tone for 49ers, but he might be a little too loud

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AP

Rookie LB Fred Warner is setting the tone for 49ers, but he might be a little too loud

When the 49ers selected inside linebacker Fred Warner of BYU in the third round of the draft, it was easy to see how he fit into the team's plan with the degree of uncertainty surrounding Reuben Foster.

While Foster remained away from the team’s offseason program for five weeks, Warner felt a need to get up to speed quickly if he was needed to be a starter for Week 1 of the regular season. Warner said he was determined to learn as quickly as possible at whatever position he lined up.

“They want consistency over a guy who can make a play here and there,” Warner said on The 49ers insider Podcast. “Because if you’re a liability and you’re out there missing assignments, stuff like that, that’s going to get you cut. You have to be able to retain this information very quickly and be able to produce on the field and put a good product out there. That’s the biggest thing.”

The 49ers consider the middle linebacker (mike) and weakside linebacker (will) positions as nearly interchangeable. The major difference is the mike position is the player who communicates in the huddle. Malcolm Smith is lining up with the first team at mike, while Foster is at will. Warner is leading the second team at mike.

Foster joined the 49ers’ offseason for the final four weeks after a judge dismissed two felony charges of domestic violence. Warner knew all about Foster, the player, before meeting him as a teammate.

“He’s a very physical player, and something I didn’t know about him that I know now, he’s probably the smartest guy in the room,” Warner said. “This dude has the memory of an elephant. He doesn’t have to write notes down. He just retains things very quickly. And I think that’s what allowed him to play at such a high level as a rookie last year, aside from his physical talent.”

Warner has also learned a lot from Smith, who played six NFL seasons before sitting out last year with a torn pectoral.

“We’ve worked after practice on man coverage on tight ends and running backs.,” Warner said. “Even though that might not be something we touch on in practice or a meeting, he just wants to touch on that with me because he said, ‘If you can do this, you can play on any team in the NFL.’ “

One of the few critiques of the rookie during the offseason program is that Warner, who said he was a quiet kid as a youngster, has been a little too loud.

“He’s very smart and he plays like it on the field,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said during the first week of OTAs. “He doesn’t hesitate. He’s a rookie out there, but he’s calling the plays maybe even too loud because I can hear him from the offensive side. But, he doesn’t mind speaking up. He’s confident in what he’s doing.”

Warner said he wanted to win the confidence of his teammates, so that might have contributed to his increased decibel level.

“I want to make sure that when I get in that huddle and I’m talking to these guys, that they know that I know what I’m doing and I’m ready to go,” Warner said. “I’m the one who’s going to set the tone in the huddle before the play even happens.”

Former 49ers lineman Keith Fahnhorst, 66, passes away

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AP

Former 49ers lineman Keith Fahnhorst, 66, passes away

Keith Fahnhorst, who played 14 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and started on two Super Bowl-winning teams, died on Tuesday. He was 66.

Fahnhorst was among a large group of players from the 49ers’ first Super Bowl championship team that gathered at Levi’s Stadium in October in a celebration of Dwight Clark. Fahnhorst and Clark were teammates for the 49ers’ Super Bowl-titlle teams of 1981 and 1984. Clark passed away on June 6 from ALS.

Fahnhorst, who was in a wheelchair during his trip to the Bay Area last season, battled many physical ailments since his career ended in 1987. He was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease and underwent a kidney transplant in 2002. Fahnhorst was also later diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis.

A second-round draft pick of the 49ers in 1974 from the University of Minnesota, Fahnhorst was a mainstay at right tackle as the organization struggled in the mid-to-late 1970s, then found success in the 1980s under coach Bill Walsh.

“Everybody knew they could count on Keith,” Walsh said in the 2005 book, “San Francisco 49ers: Where Have Gone?”

Fahnhorst appeared in 193 regular-season games, ranking behind only Len Rohde among offensive linemen in 49ers history. He started 170 games, including all 10 postseason games in which he appeared. He was named to the NFC Pro Bowl team and was selected as a first-team All-Pro after the 1984 season. He was a two-time winner of the Bobb McKittrick Award for best representing the courage, intensity and sacrifice displayed by the longtime 49ers offensive line coach.

Keith Fahnhorst and his younger brother, Jim, were 49ers teammates for the final four years of Keith’s career. Jim Fahnhorst, a linebacker, played for the 49ers from 1984 to 1990. Neither Keith nor Jim Fahnhorst played for any NFL team other than the 49ers.