Nick Mullens shows he's with 49ers for a reason in win over Raiders

Nick Mullens shows he's with 49ers for a reason in win over Raiders

SANTA CLARA -- Nick Mullens looked calm while taking his first NFL snaps in his first NFL start Thursday night.

He led the 49ers' offense down the field and threw touchdown passes on his first two drives of the game. But he said he never really felt at ease until the clock ran out and the 49ers had secured a 34-3 win over the Raiders at Levi’s Stadium.

“I was on edge until the clock hit zero, to be honest,” Mullens said. “I was just ready to win and ready to just keep going. The O-line, we worked together with the skills guys, and thought we worked well as a unit.”

Mullens was thrust into the spotlight in front of a national television audience with C.J. Beathard still limited with wrist and thumb issues. Mullens found out Wednesday he would be the starter against the Raiders.

How did he sleep?

"I slept good, except I woke up every hour,” Mullens said without a hint of irony.

While Beathard came to the 49ers as a third-round draft pick in 2017, Mullens signed with the 49ers as a free agent from the same draft class.

Mullens took one pre-draft visit a year ago after the completion of his record-breaking career at Southern Miss. He visited the 49ers. When he went undrafted and other teams called to ask him to sign, he made the easy choice to join the 49ers.

He spent his entire rookie season on the 49ers' practice squad. Finally, Mullens moved up to the 49ers’ 53-man roster this year after starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo sustained a season-ending knee injury in Week 3.

“I think I’m here for a reason, and this was my opportunity to prove that I can play,” Mullens said.

And that is exactly what he did.

Mullens became the first player to throw two or more touchdown passes in his first NFL start with the 49ers. He completed 16 of 22 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. His passer rating was 151.9.

Mullens said he prepared for his opportunity through hard work and study. He even did some out-of-the-box thinking to help himself.

After a college career in which he took snaps exclusively out of the shotgun formation, he used video instruction to familiarize himself with how to take snaps under center before preparing for the East-West Shrine Game.

Then, after coming to the 49ers, he downloaded crowd noise on Apple Music and practiced reciting play calls, as if he were in the huddle at a raucous road stadium.

Mullens describes himself as “chill” in the locker room, but he said he relished the opportunity to speak to his teammates before Thursday’s game.

“On game day, I love to compete,” Mullens said. “That’s what’s it’s all about. So I was ready to go, and the whole team was. We brought great energy and played with great energy on offense, defense and special teams.”

Mullens said he also was appreciative of his teammates for not tuning him out. He said he talks a lot in the huddle, giving constant encouragement to the 10 players around him.

“I appreciate that they listen in the huddle,” he said. “I’m probably pretty annoying sometimes, to be honest. But I appreciate that they listen and respected me and gave me a chance to lead the offense.

“Everybody worked well tonight. I think we distributed the ball well. We ran the ball well, and they blocked their butts off up front. I thought everybody worked well together.”

It was an all-around great night for Mullens.

During the game, Mullens received Twitter verification and picked up thousands of new followers.

“I guess, it's pretty cool," Mullens said. "(But) I was really excited about a lot more things than that.”

That's understandable. After all, he received a pre-game text from Southern Miss alum Brett Favre. Afterward, on the NFL Network set, Favre congratulated Mullens in a phone call.

“He just told me how proud of me he was," Mullens said. "He sent me a message before the game. He said, ‘No pressure. Just be yourself,’ and that’s what I tried to do before the game and during the game. So (I) just tried to stay calm out there and lead the offense."

Eric Reid, Torrey Smith react very differently to 49ers' $1M donation


Eric Reid, Torrey Smith react very differently to 49ers' $1M donation

With protests taking place in numerous cities nationwide, 49ers CEO Jed York announced Saturday night that the team would be making a $1 million donation to local and national organizations seeking social change.

Two former 49ers teammates had different responses to York on Twitter shortly after the announcement was made.

Wide receiver Torrey Smith, who played for the 49ers in 2015 and 2016, praised York for his commitment to fighting injustices.

York even responded to Smith.

But safety Eric Reid, who was drafted by the 49ers in 2013 and played with the team through the 2017 season, was not a fan of York's donation.

Smith and Reid were teammates on the Carolina Panthers during the 2018 season.

Reid and former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick led the charge in 2016 to take a knee during the national anthem to protest social injustices plaguing the United States.

Kaepernick opted out of his contract after being told he would be released, and the 49ers didn't re-sign Reid, who would join the Panthers early in the 2018 season.

Smith defended York's handling of Kaepernick's protest, but Reid wasn't having it.

Smith could only agree with what Reid said.

The protests across the nation are in response to recent deaths of George Floyd in Minnesota and Breonna Taylor in Louisville at the hands of police.

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

49ers' Jed York donates $1M to local, national organizations for change


49ers' Jed York donates $1M to local, national organizations for change

CEO Jed York announced Saturday night the 49ers will be donating $1 million to local and national organizations committed to social change.

In September 2016, the 49ers made a $1 million donation, matching the commitment of the-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, to two Bay Area charities that address social issues in collaboration with law enforcement.

Along with the organization's latest donation, York also committed support for the Players Coalition, which was co-founded in 2017 by Anquan Boldin and Malcolm Jenkins. The coalition’s goal is to make an impact on social justice and racial equality at the federal, state and local levels through advocacy, awareness, education and allocation of resources.

York’s announcement comes as protests take place across the nation. George Floyd, 46, died after being arrested by Minneapolis police on Monday. Video later surfaced that showed an officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he told officers he was struggling to breathe.

“People throughout our country are hurting,” York wrote in a statement. “Emotions are raw, and rightfully so. Heinous acts have been committed in recent weeks. Before we are able to realize impactful change, we just first have the courage and compassion as human beings to come together and acknowledge the problem: black men, women, children and other oppressed minorities continue to be systemically discriminated against.

“The 49ers organization is committing to support the legislative priorities of the Players Coalition and to donating $1 million dollars to local and national organizations who are creating change.”

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