49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo braces for full practice at start of 49ers training camp

Jimmy Garoppolo braces for full practice at start of 49ers training camp

SANTA CLARA – Jimmy Garoppolo expects to wear a brace on his surgically repaired left knee for the entire 2019 season.

The 49ers franchise quarterback can only hope everything this season is as simple as finding the right protective device.

“Yeah, I love it,” Garoppolo said after his second day of going through 7-on-7 drills during 49ers organized team activities.

“That was actually the first one I tried. It fit like a glove the first time, so shout out to the training staff for finding that.”

Garoppolo is working his way back slowly from a torn anterior cruciate ligament that ended his season in Week 4 of his first full year with the 49ers. He is now taking part in his second offseason program with the 49ers.

When he entered the 49ers’ starting lineup for the final five games of the 2017 season, he knew only as much of the offense to enable him to get through each week’s game plan. A year ago, when he reported back for the team's offseason program, he was learning the offense from the beginning – like a rookie.

“(It’s) much smoother, that’s for sure, the installs and everything,” Garoppolo said. “Last year, it was really my first time sitting down and learning it from an OTA point of view rather than cramming for a test. It’s been smoother and a lot more simple in the mornings.

“The majority of our offense that we do right now is the bulk of the stuff. It’s stuff that we do 75-percent of the time. We’re not really game-planning for our defense. You more so want to get the reps in to help you as an offense. It’s getting guys comfortable, the new guys, the young guys, getting them all comfortable and getting us all on the same page.”

Garoppolo appears on pace for a return to 11-on-11 work at the start of training camp in late-July. Until then, he is taking part in the more controlled passing sessions that do not involve a pass rush.

“The training staff and coaches have put together a nice plan and just getting the reps of 7-on-7 and seeing the defense, safeties, things like that," Garoppolo said. "It’s good to be back out there and being able to see all that stuff again."

[RELATED: Sherman is impressed with how Jimmy G is throwing the ball]

During 7-on-7 drills on Tuesday, Garoppolo completed 15 of 20 pass attempts to 12 different receivers. Making high-velocity throws down the field and the quick, improvisational movements within the pocket to create room to throw are the last pieces of the puzzle for Garoppolo.

“The ropes down the field, the movement, escaping the pocket and things like that, just the awkward movements that you can’t really predict in practice,” Garoppolo said. “Yeah, it’s coming together nicely, though.”

Roger Goodell says NFL didn't listen, doesn't mention Colin Kaepernick

Roger Goodell says NFL didn't listen, doesn't mention Colin Kaepernick

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admitted Friday that the league was wrong for "not listening to NFL players earlier" and that they "encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest," but his 81-second video didn't mention former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick first sat, then kneeled during the playing of the national anthem before games in the 2016 season to protest police brutality and institutional racism. The QB's protest has recently received renewed attention, as demonstrations against the same issues spring up around the globe following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, in Minneapolis police custody last Monday.

"We, the [NFL], believe black lives matter," Goodell said Friday. "I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country. Without black players, there would be no [NFL] and the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff.

"We are listening. I am listening. And I will be reaching out to players who have raised their voices and others on how we can improve and move forward for a better, more united NFL family."

The commissioner's comments came shortly after the league shared a video of players asking for the NFL to "listen" and admit they were "wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting." Multiple players, including star New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, first shared the video Thursday.

"We will not be silenced," the players said. "We assert our right to peacefully protest."

Protests have taken place nationwide in each of the 10 nights following Floyd's death prior to this story's publication. Floyd pleaded that he couldn't breathe as Derek Chauvin, a since-fired officer who is white, pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. The 46-year-old's death occurred within months of Breonna Taylor, 26, and Ahmaud Arbery, 25, dying, all as the coronavirus pandemic continues to disproportionately affect African Americans. Louisville police fatally shot Taylor in her home while reportedly performing a "no-knock" warrant, and two white men allegedly shot and murdered Arbery as he jogged around his Georgia neighborhood.

Demonstrators have taken the streets to protest the same issues Kaepernick highlighted, nearly four years after he first began protesting. Kaepernick, who agreed to kneel during "The Star-Spangled Banner" after consulting with former Seattle Seahawks long-snapper and Green Beret Nate Boyer, faced criticism for disrespecting the American flag and the country's veterans. Goodell said he didn't "necessarily agree with what [Kaepernick was] doing" in his first public comments after Kaepernick's protest.

“We have to choose respectful ways of doing that so that we can achieve the outcomes we ultimately want and do it with the values and ideals that make our country great,” Goodell told The Associated Press on Sept. 7, 2016. “I think it’s important to have respect for our country, for our flag, for the people who make our country better; for law enforcement; and for our military who are out fighting for our freedoms and our ideals.”

Goodell said in 2017 players had a "responsibility" of demonstrating "at the right time and in the right way." The NFL owners approved a national-anthem policy in May 2018 that would've required players to stand on the sideline as "The Star-Spangled Banner" played, but the league and the NFL Players Association announced in July there would be no new policy.

[RELATED: 49ers' Shanahan wants NFL to fix coaching diversity issue]

Kaepernick argued his protest cost him his career in a collusion lawsuit he settled with the league last February. The quarterback opted out of his contract ahead of the 2017 season, when the 49ers told him he'd otherwise be released, and has not been signed since. The NFL organized a workout for Kaepernick at the Atlanta Falcons' facility last November, but Kaepernick pulled out of the workout after the league barred media access and his lawyers deemed a liability waiver "unusual."

"I've been ready for three years, and I've been denied for three years," Kaepernick told reporters after moving the workout to a high school outside of Atlanta. "We all know why I came out here and showed it today in front of everybody -- we have nothing to hide. So we're waiting for the 32 owners, the 32 teams, Roger Goodell, all of them to stop running. Stop running from the truth, stop running from the people."

Goodell said in December that the NFL had "moved on" from Kaepernick after he "chose not to take" the opportunity the NFL gave him by moving the workout.

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

49ers' George Kittle reveals which NFL players are toughest to block

49ers' George Kittle reveals which NFL players are toughest to block

George Kittle has never kept his love for run-blocking a secret. Any opportunity to drive a defender into the turf is embraced by the 49ers tight end the same way kids greet the arrival of Christmas morning.

During a recent appearance on the “Bussin’ With The Boys” podcast with fellow NFL players Will Compton and Taylor Lewan, Kittle revealed two blocking assignments he doesn’t exactly live for.

“Khalil Mack’s tough,” Kittle said. “He’s pretty good. (Jadeveon) Clowney is pretty good too.”

Kittle and Mack faced off late in the 2018 season, during a low-scoring dogfight at Levi’s Stadium between the 49ers and Chicago Bears. Mack got three hits in on quarterback Nick Mullens, but didn’t end up with a sack among his five tackles.

[RELATED: Ranking top 49ers plays in franchise's storied history: No. 5-1]

Clowney was a difficult assignment for the Niners in both matchups last season, although Kittle was inactive for the Seattle Seahawks’ win on "Monday Night Football" in Week 10.

The current free agent had six tackles and five QB hits over those two games against San Francisco, not to mention scoring one of his two touchdowns on the season after scooping up a fumble.

Mack and Kittle could face off when the 49ers and Bears meet during the 2020 preseason on Aug. 29, but it remains to be seen where Clowney will wind up signing in free agency. 

Some have even postulated he could be a fit for the 49ers, if no team is willing to meet a reportedly exorbitant asking price.

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