49ers

Teammates vote Kaepernick winner of prestigious Eshmont Award

Teammates vote Kaepernick winner of prestigious Eshmont Award

SANTA CLARA – If there was any doubt about how Colin Kaepernick’s protest this season was received inside the 49ers’ locker room, that question was answered on Friday.

Kaepernick’s teammates voted him as the winner of the Len Eshmont Award as the 49ers player who best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous play of Len Eshmont. The award is considered the most prestigious team honor on which players vote.

Eshmont was an original member of the 49ers. The team was established in 1946 as part of the All-America Football Conference. Eshmont, who coached at Navy and Virginia following his career in San Francisco, died in 1957. The award was established that year in his honor.

Kaepernick gained national attention with his protest of racial inequality in America. His decision to kneel for the national anthem sparked a national debate. Kaepernick was featured on the cover of TIME magazine in September.

“I think what Kap did will be talked about for years to come – an NFL player using his platform for what he wanted to use it for,” 49ers veteran safety Antoine Bethea said Thursday on the CSN Bay Area's "49ers Insider Podcast."

Bethea added: 

When it first came out, obviously, there were probably some guys straddling the fence or on opposite sides. But at the end of the day, I think we did a good job as a team nipping it in the bud at the beginning. We came together as a team. Kap spoke to the team. He explained why he was doing that. He also explained if anybody didn’t agree or agreed or wanted to come talk to him, feel free to do that. A couple of guys did that. . . As far as the outsiders, of course, they have a lot to say about it. But I think we handled it well as a team.

A lot of times people don’t sit back and try to understand why he did it. Traveling and being on the team, you hear people when is taking a knee during the national anthem. You hear a lot of fans saying some different things. But if they really cared and really sat down and dove into the situation – I’m not going to say everybody would see it – but it’s a really a serious cause. He’s not saying he doesn’t love America. He’s not saying that he doesn’t support the troops. He’s saying, in that song, we’re saying one thing but the actions that are happening in this world are completely different.

Teammates Eric Reid and Eli Harold joined Kaepernick in the protest. Kaepernick said it was meaningful to have the support of his teammates.

“It’s very impactful and I think they are people who have very strong character,” Kaepernick said recently. “And to have the ability to really recognize what’s going on, how it not only affects them, but it affects their families and affects other people that look like them is something that’s very powerful and I’m very happy to have teammates like that, that have that type of character, that have those type of ethics and humanity.”

ESHMONT AWARD WINNERS
1957 QB Y.A. Tittle
1958 FB Joe Perry
1959 HB J.D. Smith
1960 S Dave Baker
1961 DT Leo Nomellini
1962 DE Dan Colchico
1963 T Bob St. Clair
1964 DT Charlie Krueger
1965 QB John Brodie
1966 HB John David Crow
1967 LB Dave Wilcox
1968 LB Matt Hazeltine
1969 CB Jimmy Johnson
1970 S Roosevelt Taylor
1971 LB Ed Beard
1972 DE Tommy Hart
1973 S Mel Phillips
1974 T Len Rohde
1975 CB Jimmy Johnson
1976 DE Tommy Hart
1977 S Mel Phillips
1978 RB Paul Hofer
1979 RB Paul Hofer
1980 DT Archie Reese
1981 TE Charle Young
1982 WR Dwight Clark
1983 RB/ST Bill Ring
1984 LB Keena Turner
1985 FB Roger Craig
1986 QB Joe Montana
1987 WR Jerry Rice
1988 NT Michael Carter, RB Roger Craig
1989 QB Joe Montana
1990 DE Kevin Fagan, LB Charles Haley
1991 WR John Taylor
1992 QB Steve Young
1993 WR Jerry Rice
1994 QB Steve Young
1995 FB William Floyd
1996 DT Bryant Young
1997 DT Dana Stubblefield
1998 DT Bryant Young
1999 DT Bryant Young
2000 DT Bryant Young
2001 RB Garrison Hearst
2002 S Tony Parrish
2003 LB Julian Peterson
2004 DT Bryant Young
2005 DT Bryant Young
2006 DT Bryant Young
2007 DT Bryant Young
2008 WR Isaac Bruce
2009 TE Vernon Davis
2010 LB Takeo Spikes
2011 DT Justin Smith
2012 DT Justin Smith
2013 LB NaVorro Bowman
2014 RB Frank Gore
2015 WR Anquan Boldin
2016 QB Colin Kaepernick

 

 

Jimmy Garoppolo calls learning from Tom Brady on Patriots 'invaluable'

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Jimmy Garoppolo calls learning from Tom Brady on Patriots 'invaluable'

Jimmy Garoppolo spent three-and-a-half seasons as Tom Brady's backup quarterback in New England. Over that span, the 49ers' QB appeared in only 17 games, starting two. 

Still, he learned plenty behind the six-time Super Bowl winner. 

More than anything, Garoppolo witnessed the immense amount of preparation Brady put into his game every day. Garoppolo recently told The Ringer's Kevin Clark that it was "invaluable" to was the legendary signal-caller as a rookie. 

"I can barely put it into words. What you learn is playing the game within the game, that’s a big part of Tom," Garoppolo said. "I don’t even know if he told me that [directly], but he would always talk about the game within the game." 

The story has been told time and time again. Brady beat the odds years ago as a sixth-round draft pick who ran the 40-yard dash in quick sand. Garoppolo emphasized it's the little things that make the Patriots legend an all-time great. 

"The little details and how he ties them all together -- that’s what separates you," Garoppolo said. 

[RELATED: Why Peter King thinks Jimmy G is key to 49ers' playoff hopes]

The two QBs have remained friends after Garoppolo was traded to the 49ers on Halloween in 2017. They were even seen together at the Kentucky Derby this year.

As much knowledge as Garoppolo soaked up from Brady, the 49ers hope it shows in a healthy year this season.

Why Peter King thinks Jimmy Garoppolo key to 49ers making NFL playoffs

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Why Peter King thinks Jimmy Garoppolo key to 49ers making NFL playoffs

Jimmy Garoppolo has started and ended a season as the 49ers' starting quarterback, but never in the same year.

He joined San Francisco in a midseason trade in 2017, ending the year on a 5-0 run and signing a lucrative contract extension the following offseason. He tore his ACL in Week 3 last year -- his eighth start with the 49ers -- and missed the remainder of the season. 

The 49ers went 3-10 in Garoppolo's absence, turning to both C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens to fill the void for their franchise QB. Garoppolo is set to take the reigns under center once more, and NBC Sports' Peter King believes a healthy season from the quarterback is enough for San Francisco to end its five-year playoff drought.

"I think the 49ers are going to make the playoffs," King said Tuesday on "The Damon Bruce Show" on 95.7 The Game. " ... It's hard to say that in a vacuum. If Jimmy Garoppolo slips on a banana peel in September, they're not making the playoffs. But, I don't think you look at Jimmy Garoppolo [or Philadelphia Eagles quarterback] Carson Wentz necessarily and say, 'Well, they're doomed to a life of being injury-prone.'"

Because of last year's injury and his time backing up Tom Brady with the New England Patriots for the first three-and-a-half years of his career, a 16-game season in 2019 would be a first for Garoppolo. In fact, Garoppolo has only started 10 regular-season games in his career. 

Five starts -- and six appearances -- for San Francisco in 2017 were enough for the 49ers to commit to Garoppolo long-term, but the sample size of his NFL career as a starter remains small. King noted that Garoppolo's torn ACL made him an outlier among starting QBs last season, given how much time he missed. 

As long as Garoppolo remains healthy, King thinks the 49ers will learn a lot about him this season. 

"This is a golden year for the 49ers, in my opinion, because we're going to be able to see what Kyle Shanahan has in Jimmy Garoppolo, and what Jimmy Garoppolo can do over the long haul." King said. " ... To me, they were the outlier last season, and if they had Garoppolo for 16 games, I think they would've been knocking on the door in December." 

[RELATED: How 49ers' offense stacks up against NFC West rivals]

The 49ers undoubtedly missed Garoppolo last season, but making the playoffs won't depend upon him alone. San Francisco addressed some of its defensive shortcomings in free agency and the draft, and a pass rush that accounted for the 22nd-most sacks in the NFL (37) looks much-improved on paper. There still are question marks in the secondary, however, after the 49ers allowed more passing touchdowns (35) than everyone other than the Raiders. 

In other words, the 49ers will have to worry about positions other than the one under center, whether or not Garoppolo hits the ground running.