49ers

NFL rumors: Antonio Brown has 'requested a trade' from Steelers

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NFL rumors: Antonio Brown has 'requested a trade' from Steelers

49ers tight end George Kittle wants Antonio Brown in Santa Clara, and the Steelers wide receiver appearantly wants out of Pittsburgh.

According to CBS Sports writer Jason La Canfora, Brown has requested a trade from the only team he's ever known.

Brown's trade request comes on the heels of a report that he had a disagreement with a teammate and didn't show up to several practices in the week leading up to the season finale on Sunday.

La Canfora is reported that Brown "has issues" with head coach Mike Tomlin and starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Roethlisberger, for his part, denied any friction between him or any other teammate and Brown.

"If there was a blowout, I certainly didn't see it," Roethlisberger said on Tuesday, according to ESPN.

NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported that Brown appeared to be venting more so than officially demanding a trade.

Late Monday night, a few hours before the calendar flipped from 2018 to 2019, Kittle sent a tweet to Brown in an apparent act of recruiting. Brown responded with a starry-eyed emoji.

The 49ers are in need of a No. 1 receiver and Brown would easily fill that hole.

Would GM John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan be willing to pay the steep price to get Brown? That's uncertain.

But La Canfora also reports that it's unlikely that the Rooney family will fulfill Brown's trade request.

Joe Staley offered scouting report on Dee Ford before 49ers made trade

Joe Staley offered scouting report on Dee Ford before 49ers made trade

When the 49ers were shopping for an edge rusher during free agency, they sought the advice of veteran offensive lineman Joe Staley, who offered valuable information regarding Dee Ford

Staley faced off against Ford in Week 3 of the 2018 season when the 49ers traveled to Kansas City to face the Chiefs. He had first-hand knowledge of Ford's much-noted first step off the line.

“That’s what I love about this franchise,” Staley said. “The guys that we have here really reach out to the players about guys that are going against them, guys who have gone against certain players and ask for feedback. 

“I don’t know how much stock they take into to that but just the fact that they reach out to the players and ask their opinions on all that stuff.”  

When Staley was asked if Ford was truly explosive, he gave a very succinct reply. 

“That’s a correct statement,” Staley said. “He’s one of the most explosive players I’ve played against. He was definitely a challenge to go against last year and every time I’ve ever played him.”

Shortly after Ford was signed by the 49ers, he gave a similarly complementary statement about Staley and his physical ability. 

“He’s athletic and he’s strong and he has functional strength,” Ford said. “Functional strength is so important. Every offensive line is strong. They’re huge, they’re big, they’re strong. That’s a given. But he has functional strength, which is rare. He’s a pure athlete with a savvy skillset. So you’re not going to beat him a lot.”

Staley recalled one instance where he thought the Ford had taken advantage of a no-call by the referees. 

“It was a challenging game,” Staley said. "He got me early on with that sack, the first step, that quickness. I was like 100-percent certain that he was offsides, he was that fast. But going back in the film he just timed it up super right on it.

“It’s that first step, get-off. You see guys like Von (Miller) have it. Even bigger guys like DeMarcus Lawrence has that explosive first step. He’s a bigger pass rusher. That really sets up everything they can do and gets the tackles and the offensive linemen playing on their heels and reacting a little bit more than they want to.”  

It was a memorable game for Ford as well, which included banter between the two of them. 

“We talked during the whole game,” Ford said. “It was fun. It was fun. It was trash talk, but we were enjoying it. I really admire his game. And that was huge for me, because he admired my game. He’s a vet. He’s a future Hall of Famer, and it’s huge to hear that from a guy like that.”

Staley remarked that he can’t wait to pick Ford’s brain and go against him in practice every day. He thinks it will make each of them better players. 

[RELATED: Jimmy G wouldn't let down 49ers with eyes on him in rehab]

Staley is very pleased his scouting report on Ford was influential in bringing the star edge rusher to California. So much so that he may have a future in scouting.

Well, at least according to Staley himself. 

Jimmy Garoppolo wouldn't let down 49ers knowing eyes were on him in rehab

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Jimmy Garoppolo wouldn't let down 49ers knowing eyes were on him in rehab

SANTA CLARA – Jimmy Garoppolo knows there is always a chance a set of eyes are on him, and that served as motivation during his time rehabbing at the 49ers’ practice facility during the early months of this offseason.

It will be another week before the coaching staff will be allowed to work with Garoppolo on the practice field, but there was nothing keeping Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch from keeping tabs on his movements from afar.

At one point in the offseason, Lynch said he looked out his window and got fired up when he saw Garoppolo throw a pass to running back Jerick McKinnon as the two players rehabbed from ACL injuries.

“He was a couple weeks ahead of me and everything so I was trying to play a little catch-up game with him,” Garoppolo said. “But we never know when those guys are watching. The windows are hard to see through. They must put tints on them or something.”

[RELATED: Jimmy Garoppolo, Jerick McKinnon lean on each other during rehab]

Garoppolo said he likes knowing that the higher-ups in the organization might be watching from their upstairs offices, which overlook the team’s weight room and practice field.

“It actually kind of turns it into more of a practice, kind of ramps you up a little bit, gets the energy going,” Garoppolo said.

Garoppolo said he is steadily rounding into form after the Week 3 injury to his left knee. He will undoubtedly wear a brace on his left knee, he said. He said he wore a brace during his rookie season with the New England Patriots as a preventative measure.

“I never played with one before in college or high school or anything like that,” he said. “So it was different. But these new ones that they got are titanium, lightweight. It’s like you’re not wearing anything sometimes.”