Kelly supports Kaepernick using 49ers platform to speak out


Kelly supports Kaepernick using 49ers platform to speak out

SANTA CLARA – Colin Kaepernick is on the cover of TIME magazine.

Obviously, the 49ers’ backup quarterback has drawn national attention, not for his play on the field, but for his protest that has inspired more dialogue into racial inequalities in America.

Coach Chip Kelly said Kaepernick’s stance on social issues has not impacted his work with the 49ers.

“When he’s here, he’s going full-bore,” Kelly said on Thursday. “We’re here until 8:15, when we get here in the morning, until 5, when we leave. He’s at every meeting. He’s done everything.

“There hasn’t been any, ‘Hey, coach, I need some time because I got this going on.’ He hasn’t done that. He understands what his job is. He’s balanced it really well, and he’s managed it really well. He’s focused. He’s dialed-in when we’re at practice. He’s dialed-in when we’re at meetings.”

Kelly has previously supported Kaepernick’s right to express himself with his protest during the national anthem. In the first three games of the exhibition season, Kaepernick retreated to the bench and sat down. In the past three games – the final exhibition game and the first two regular-season games – Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid have taken a knee during the national anthem.

[RATTO: What if Steve Kerr, who expects protests in NBA, takes a knee?]

As Kaepernick’s movement has gained momentum among professional and amateur athletes, his message has transcended sports.

“I think it’s an issue – you look at what’s gone on in Tulsa and Charlotte in the last two nights,” Kelly said. “It’s an issue that’s at the forefront of our country and it needs to be addressed, needs to be taken care of, because what’s going on is not right.

“I think he’s shedding light on a situation that is heinous. It shouldn’t happen in this country. We all have inalienable rights as a citizen of this country that are being violated. That’s what I think Colin is standing up for.”

Kelly also supported Kaepernick taking advantage of his platform as an employee of the 49ers and the National Football League to enable his message to reach a larger audience.

Columnist Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press Democrat told Kelly during his press conference that he believes Kaepernick took over the locker room to hold a question-and-answer session on the subject after the 49ers’ season-opening win against the Los Angeles Rams.

“He’s asked questions about a subject and he’s answered those questions,” Kelly responded.

Kelly said he felt it was appropriate for Kaepernick to make himself available to the media’s questions -- on whatever topic.

“When he’s asked a question, I think he should answer what his feelings are on those questions,” Kelly said.

Cohn said he disagreed that Kaepernick should be using the 49ers’ locker room to voice his societal concerns. Kelly responded, referencing their right to disagree and debate the subject, “(That’s the) great thing about this country, isn’t it?”

The 49ers said Kaepernick has turned down repeated requests from national media organizations for one-on-one interviews. NFL players must be made available to speak to the media regularly, and Kaepernick has made himself available for questions approximately once a week since he went public with his protest.

On Tuesday, Kaepernick began speaking informally with a handful of reporters near his locker. When the conversation turned more serious, Kaepernick spent 15 minutes speaking on non-football matters on the record for his media availability for the week.

49ers injury report: Game-time decision if Dee Ford will play vs. Steelers


49ers injury report: Game-time decision if Dee Ford will play vs. Steelers

Defensive end Dee Ford is feeling better after sitting out the second half of the 49ers’ game last week against the Cincinnati Bengals with discomfort in his knee and quadriceps, coach Kyle Shanahan said.

“Hopefully, he’ll be feeling good on Sunday,” Shanahan said. “He said he felt good. He looked good walking through. But I know that’ll go all the way up to Sunday.”

Ford, who is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, sat out practices Wednesday and Thursday. He was scheduled to take part in limited practice on Friday, but the 49ers dialed back their planned practice to a walk-through at their Santa Clara facility because of the high intensity of the practices earlier in the week.

“I know he’s feeling better now than he has the last few days, but he’s still not fully there, yet,” Shanahan said of Ford. “We’ll see how these last 48 hours go. Hopefully, they go well. If it does, I know he feels confident to go out there, especially with time off the following week.”

The 49ers face the Steelers on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium. After the game, the club will have a bye week before returning to action on Monday, Oct. 7, against the Cleveland Browns.

Rookie defensive end Nick Bosa (ankle), and safeties Jaquiski Tartt (toe) and Jimmie Ward (hand) are also listed as questionable for Sunday’s game. Bosa and Tartt are expected to play, while Ward is likely to miss his third consecutive game to open the season.

Shanahan said he expects rookie wide receiver Jalen Hurd to be available after the bye week. Hurd has sat out five weeks with a back condition.

“He’s on track,” Shanahan said of Hurd. “We’ll see how it is once we get back from the bye week. I know he has a lot of work to do when we all get away from here a little bit for the four days. It’ll be big the work he puts in when we’re away. We expect him to be ready when we get back.”

The 49ers will not have the services of wide receiver Trent Taylor for at least eight weeks after he underwent surgery to repair a Jones fracture on his right foot. The bone has healed, Shanahan said, but there were issues with some of the soft tissue around the bone on the outside of his foot that has caused a flareup. Taylor is eligible to return to action on Nov. 17 against the Arizona Cardinals.

[RELATED: 49ers place Taylor on IR, re-sign Young]

The 49ers placed Taylor on injured reserve and signed veteran offensive tackle Sam Young. Shanahan said he does not think Young will be active and in uniform for Sunday’s game.

49ers injury report

RB Tevin Coleman (ankle)
WR Jalen Hurd (back)
OT Joe Staley (leg)
WR Trent Taylor (foot) – injured reserve

DE Dee Ford (quadriceps
S Jaquiski Tartt (toe)
DE Nick Bosa (ankle)
DB Jimmie Ward (hand)

Steelers injury report

FB Roosevelt Nix (knee)
LB Vince Williams (hamstring)
LB Anthony Chickillo (foot)

49ers place Trent Taylor on IR, re-sign veteran tackle Sam Young

49ers place Trent Taylor on IR, re-sign veteran tackle Sam Young

The 49ers on Friday signed veteran offensive tackle Sam Young to a one-year contract and placed wide receiver Trent Taylor on injured reserve.

Taylor, who underwent surgery Aug. 10 to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot, must sit out for at least eight weeks before he is eligible to return to the 49ers’ 53-man roster and appear in a game.

Originally, the 49ers placed Taylor's timetable to return at four to six weeks. As recently as last week, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said he hoped Taylor would be able to return to action after the 49ers' Week 4 bye.

Taylor was expected to be one of the team’s leading pass-catchers this season before he sustained the fracture to the fifth metatarsal on his right foot. Since the 49ers selected him in the fifth round of the 2017 draft, Taylor has appeared in 29 games and caught 69 passes for 645 yards and three touchdowns.

The 49ers re-signed Young, who was among their final cuts before the start of the regular season. The 49ers require more depth at offensive tackle after Joe Staley broke his left fibula, an injury that is expected to keep him sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Rookie Justin Skule is scheduled to start Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers at left tackle.

[RELATED: Jimmy G headlines 49ers to watch in Week 3]

In his nine-year NFL career, Young has appeared in 88 games with 21 starts with Dallas, Buffalo, Jacksonville and Miami. Young will wear No. 65 for the 49ers.