49ers

Owens, new 49ers GM Lynch do not make 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame

Owens, new 49ers GM Lynch do not make 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame

HOUSTON – Terrell Owens, who ranks second all-time in receiving yards behind former 49ers teammate Jerry Rice, will be kept out of the Pro Football Hall of Fame for at least another year.

Neither Owens nor new 49ers general manager John Lynch, a nine-time Pro Bowl safety, received the necessary votes Saturday to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“When you align expectations with reality you will never be disappointed,” Owens wrote on Twitter. “To my family, fans & friends I'm a Hall Of Famer. #FlawedProcess”

The Hall of Fame Class of 2017 includes first-ballot choices running back LaDainian Tomlinson and defensive end Jason Taylor, as well as quarterback Kurt Warner, running back Terrell Davis and kicker Morten Andersen, the leading scorer in NFL history.

Also, seniors committee nominee Kenny Easley, a Seattle Seahawks safety in the 1980s, made it into the Hall of Fame, along with contributor Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys owner.

Former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who was also nominated from the contributors committee, did not receive the 80-percent required vote to be selected into the Hall of Fame.

The newest class will be formally enshrined into the Hall of Fame on Saturday, Aug. 5, in Canton, Ohio.

Owens was a finalist for the second year in a row. But for the second year in a row, he did not make the cut from the 15 finalists to the 10 candidates to be considered for the maximum of five modern-era inductees.

Owens has Hall-of-Fame credentials, but he did not garner the necessary votes in his first two years of eligibility – most likely due to the perception he was not a good teammate and was divisive in the locker room.

On the field, there was no doubt.

Owens was named to six Pro Bowls during his career and was a five-time first-team All-Pro. He was an All-Decade selection for the 2000s. Owens ranks second in league history with 15,934 receiving yards; third with 153 receiving touchdowns; fifth in overall touchdowns; and eighth with 1,078 career receptions.

After eight seasons with the 49ers, the club traded him to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2004.

Owens thrived during his first season in Philadelphia. He returned to play in the Super Bowl, just seven weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament and a fractured lower leg. He caught nine passes for 122 yards in the Eagles’ 24-21 loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX.

The following season, Owens’ relationships with quarterback Donovan McNabb and team management soured. The Eagles eventually suspended him after he appeared in just seven games in 2007 while declining to renegotiate his contract.

He appeared in 47 games the next three seasons with the Dallas Cowboys before getting released following the 2008 season after he became critical of quarterback Tony Romo’s reliance on tight end Jason Witten and then-offensive coordinator Jason Garrett’s play-calling.

Quarterbacks Jeff Garcia, McNabb and Romo produced their most single-season wins with Owens as their No. 1 wide receiver. In Owens’ 13 seasons with the 49ers, Eagles and Cowboys, his teams had a .640 win percentage in the 189 games in which he appeared.

Lynch advanced to the final 10, but was not selected into the Hall of Fame in his fourth year as a finalist. Lynch likely split the vote with another safety, Brian Dawkins, who also made it into the final 10 but was not selected.

Lynch played 15 NFL seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Denver Broncos. After spending eight seasons as a FOX television analyst for NFL games, Lynch was hired this week as 49ers general manager.

Lynch entered the NFL in 1993 as a third-round draft pick from Stanford. He was selected to nine Pro Bowls and earned first-team All-Pro recognition in three consecutive seasons.

Known as a hard-hitting safety, Lynch recorded 26 interceptions in his career. He was a key member of the Buccaneers team that rolled to a 48-21 victory over the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII on Jan. 26, 2003.

George Kittle tweeted at Antonio Brown on dare from Jimmy Garoppolo

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AP

George Kittle tweeted at Antonio Brown on dare from Jimmy Garoppolo

Early on, it appeared to be at least a possibility that Antonio Brown would eventually be headed out of Pittsburgh and to the Bay Area to play with the 49ers.

Once reports surfaced that the seven-time Pro-Bowl receiver might want out of the Steel City, 49ers tight end George Kittle immediately sprang into action, tweeting "Sup?" at Brown on New Year's Eve. 

Well, the star tight end revealed Wednesday that he sent the tweet on a dare from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

"Jimmy totally dared me to do it,” Kittle said, via Pro Football Talk. “And I am not going to say no. [I] threw it out there, and I thought it was going to be completely meaningless, and I got a response in about 10 minutes. I was like, ‘Oh, that’s exciting.’ It was fun.”

Brown responded back about 20 minutes later and the rumors started to spread like wildfire.

49ers general manager John Lynch admitted that his team was interested in acquiring Odell Beckham Jr., but wasn't really involved in the trade talks for Brown, who eventually wound up across the Bay with the Raiders. 

[RELATED: Game-by-game predictions for 49ers' 2019 season]

As for Garoppolo, he would neither confirm nor deny that a New Year's Eve dare sparked the tweet.

“It depends who you ask,” Garoppolo said. “He said it was (me)? I’d take it with a grain of salt then.”

As it stands, the 49ers still are looking for a top-tier wide receiver to take their passing game to the next level. 

While San Francisco is expected to take Nick Bosa with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, there are a number of wide receivers Lynch and Kyle Shanahan could look to take in the second round.

49ers' George Kittle reveals he had rib injury while setting NFL record

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USATSI

49ers' George Kittle reveals he had rib injury while setting NFL record

You likely were impressed with George Kittle's sophomore season with the 49ers, in which he set the NFL single-season record for most receiving yards by a tight end.

But perhaps you'll be even more impressed upon learning Kittle set that record after fracturing his rib cartilage midway through the season.

Kittle said he suffered the injury on the third play of the 49ers' Week 9 win over the Raiders, in which he caught four passes for 108 yards and a touchdown. One of those receptions was with one hand for a 71-yard gain.

Despite the injury, Kittle still played in all 16 games and was on the field for nearly 88 percent of all snaps. Over the final five contests, he averaged 110.8 yards on 6.4 catches per game.

"It was fun, I guess," Kittle said of overcoming the injury. "I don't know, it's just something you play with."

[RELATED: Biggest games, narratives to watch in 49ers' 2019 schedule]

Given how he performed with the injury, the 49ers have to be feeling great about what a fully healthy Kittle could provide in the season ahead.