49ers

Seahawks safety Earl Thomas gives the bird to sideline after broken leg

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Seahawks safety Earl Thomas gives the bird to sideline after broken leg

Earl Thomas and the Seattle Seahawks weren't on the best terms entering this weekend -- and they certainly aren't now.

Thomas sat out the majority of the preseason while seeking a new contract, but he returned to Seahawks camp without a new deal on Sept. 5. Then he wrote on Instagram that "the disrespect has been well noted and will not be forgotten."

That was before the safety fractured his left leg during Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals. 

Thomas was carted off the field with an air cast supporting his injured leg, and he lifted his middle finger in the direction of the Seattle sideline to make his feelings known. 

Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told reporters after the game that he did not "know anything about that."

"It's a big stadium," he added.

Thomas is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019, and this injury likely will affect his chances at a big payday. After Sunday, it's a bit harder to envision him back in Seattle. 

49ers' Richard Sherman shoots down possibility of 18-game NFL season

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49ers' Richard Sherman shoots down possibility of 18-game NFL season

As the NFL and the NFL Players Association work to iron out a new collective bargaining agreement, talk of a potential change to the regular-season schedule has been bandied about.

The game of football is incredibly violent, as anyone with a set of eyes knows. If the league desires to shift from a 16-game schedule to an 18-game schedule, there likely would have to be some changes made to the preseason or some series parameters put in place, Having four preseason games plus 18 regular-season plus playoff games still is a lot of football. Players bodies get beat up enough, so it seems unlikely the NFLPA would agree to a change in schedule that would put the players at an even greater risk for injury both now and later in life.

49ers cornerback Richard Sherman is a member of the NFLPA's executive board, and he is privy to the current negotiations going on between the NFL and the Players Association as they look to come to an agreement by 2021. Sherman went on NBC's Peter King's podcast this week, and he poked in the thought that an 18-game schedule would be a possibility. 

"I think it has very little chance of happening unless something astronomical is conceded," Sherman told King. "Something that would be in the best interest of the majority of our players. There's so many things that could happen. For the most part, I don't think that's on the table for our guys. There was talk about the proposal in the media talking about 60 players and 18 games and each player only playing 16 games, and people can make those suggestions but that doesn't even add up. So you say 46 active players every game. Forty-six players play 16 games so then you have 14 players to play two games, regardless of how you slice it.

"So you have 14 players to play special teams, kick-off, defense and offense,' Sherman continued. "And three of them are specialists. So you have a kicker, a holder and a snapper, that's three. You got 11 to play three phases. That's cool if we're talking about some crazy hunger games of football, but if you're talking about a reasonable person having these discussions, then you're talking about 46 players playing 18 games."

Limiting the number of games players can play also brings talk of ticket sales (should a player be inactive) and counting quarters into the equation, which Sherman thinks should be the end of the discussion for the 18-game schedule. 

"You have games where you're saying, 'We're up by 21 at the half,' and then you sit Tom Brady for the rest of the game because you want to save those two quarters for later," Sherman said. "Then you're going quarter by quarter. We've really gone in-depth about this discussion as you can see. ... It's just not football. it's math, it's science, it's understanding these timelines. It's going to deep."

[RELATED: 10 questions before 49ers-Broncos preseason game]

Everyone loves football, and the NFL wants to keep printing money.

But it sounds like the schedule is going to stick at 16 games. As it should.

49ers' Richie James focusing on consistency, not what future holds

49ers' Richie James focusing on consistency, not what future holds

DENVER – Wide receiver Richie James has settled into the 49ers’ offense after a rookie season in which he never completely got comfortable with the offensive playbook.

So the last thing he needs as the 49ers enter their second preseason game Monday night against the Denver Broncos is to be thinking about anything that could take his focus off his job.

James is one of at least eight 49ers wide receivers who figures to be on an NFL roster this season. But not all of them will remain with the 49ers when the regular season begins. James could be attractive to some team – such as the Broncos – who need a wide receiver and return man if James does not stick with the 49ers.

“You try to control what you can control -- be the best person in this offense and be the best person in any offense,” James said. “It doesn’t matter. Just be you. You kind of let it go and not let it get to you. If you let it consume you, you’re off your game and you’re not thinking about the right thing.”

James is coming off an up-and-down rookie season in which he showed flashes in every aspect of his game. He caught nine passes for 130 yards, including a 53-yarder. He also had a 97-yard touchdown on a kickoff return.

He said the main objective in his second training camp is to achieve consistency. After already being in Kyle Shanahan’s system for one year, James is gaining more confidence in his role.

“Last year, I was thinking way much more,” James said. “But now you kind of got a glimpse of the whole offense and you can think outside the box a little bit – think of the extra stuff: the coverages, who you’re going against, what you need to do, the techniques and stuff like that.”

James had a good training camp, including two solid days of work against the Broncos in practices. Shanahan said he has been impressed by what he’s seen from James.

“I think he’s done a good job and stepped it up throughout camp,” Shanahan said. “I think he’s done a real good job.”

[RELATED: 49ers Mailbag: 10 questions before Monday preseason Broncos game]

James faces stiff competition for a roster spot. Rookies Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd, the team’s second- and third-round draft picks, have two spots locked up.

Dante Pettis, Marquise Goodwin, Kendrick Bourne, Trent Taylor and Jordan Matthews also are in competition for their roles. James showed plenty of big-play potential as a rookie, and now he is looking to show that aspect of his game with more frequency with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback.

“They know I can do it,” James said. “People have seen it. The quarterbacks have seen it. They believe I can do it. It’s just about being consistent with it. That’s getting Kyle’s trust and Jimmy’s trust.”