Matt Maiocco

49ers receiver Marquise Goodwin wins the George Halas Award


49ers receiver Marquise Goodwin wins the George Halas Award

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin was recognized nationally Wednesday morning for his breakout season while dealing with personal tragedy.

Goodwin was announced as the winner of the George Halas Award, which the Pro Football Writers of America gives to NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes the most adversity to succeed.

Goodwin and his wife, Morgan, dealt with the death of their baby boy from complications during pregnancy in October. Just hours later, Goodwin joined his teammates at Levi’s Stadium. His 83-yard touchdown reception led the 49ers to a 31-21 victory over the New York Giants. It was the 49ers’ first victory of the season.

He left the stadium immediately following the game to rejoin his wife, and later reached out to reporters via a conference call during the bye week to speak at length about his family’s ordeal.

“We do have a lot of people that are following us through our journey,” Goodwin said. “So we can maybe help people who’ve dealt with similar things that we have gone through or learn things from people who’ve been through our situation.”

In December, Goodwin’s biological father died. That week, Goodwin caught a career-high 10 passes for 114 yards in the 49ers’ 25-23 victory over the Tennessee Titans.

“It’s just been a lot, but I really didn’t let the outside negative energy affect how I play, how I approach this game or how I come to work each day,” Goodwin said. “I just kind of stayed positive and kept my mind fresh, and I relied on God to bring me through all of the situations that I’ve been through.”

Goodwin had a breakout season on the field, catching 56 passes for 962 yards and was a huge contributor to the 49ers’ season-ending five-game winning streak. He likely would have reached the 1,000-yard mark if not for a serious concussion he sustained in the season finale against the Los Angeles Rams.

Goodwin was also named the winner of the Len Eshmont Award. The honor is given annually to the 49ers player who best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous qualities of Eshmont, a former 49ers running back who died in 1957.

The 49ers rewarded Goodwin, 27, with a three year, $18.85 million contract extension in March.

Goodwin is the 50th Halas Award winner and the fifth 49ers player to win the award, joining Jimmy Johnson (1972), Joe Montana (1988 and ’94), Bryant Young (2000) and Garrison Hearst (2002).

49ers notes: Richard Sherman cleared for individual on-field work


49ers notes: Richard Sherman cleared for individual on-field work

SANTA CLARA – Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman reached a milestone in his return from Achilles surgery this week as he began performing individual drills.

The 49ers wrap up their official offseason program on Wednesday, and Sherman said he easily could have been cleared for full work by now if he was in a position to be competing for a roster spot.

“It’s right on par with what we expected,” Sherman said on Tuesday. “The body is feeling good. If I wasn’t an eight-year vet, I’d probably be out there getting more reps in. But they don’t feel I need the reps, and I don’t think I need the reps. So it works out.”

Sherman is on pace to step be practicing without any limitations at or near the beginning of training camp, which is set to open in late-July. He sustained a season-ending ruptured right Achilles in November while a member of the Seattle Seahawks. He also underwent a procedure on his left heel early in the offseason to remove bone spurs.

“There’ve been no setbacks. I know that’s the goal. That’s what we’re targeting, really what we’re expecting,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “We’re going to be very cautious, too. Not promising you it’ll be that day, but that’s what we’re looking to and there’s been no reason to think differently.”

Sherman went through drills before practice in which he backpedaled and changed direction to break on thrown passes. Once practice began, he took his standard position during organized team activities (OTAs) as a fully engaged bystander.

“It’s been fun to watch guys grow during the OTA practices, but it’s also frustrating when you know most of the plays that are coming and how they’re going to attack you but you can’t do anything from the sideline but tell guys where to be and when to be there,” Sherman said.

In other 49ers notes and observations:

--Wide receiver Trent Taylor underwent a procedure this offseason to remove bone spurs from his lower back, according to the 49ers. He has not participated in OTAs, but Shanahan said there is no concern about Taylor missing time once camp opens.

“We were patient with it and it was still bothering him right before OTAs,” Shanahan said. “So we went in and cleaned some things up. He’ll be good to go by training camp.”

--Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s favorite target during practice Tuesday was tight end George Kittle, who made four catches over the middle out of the 13 passes Garoppolo attempted. Cornerback Tyvis Powell intercepted a Garoppolo pass intended for wide receiver Aaron Burbridge.

--Rookie receiver Dante Pettis had a standout day with four catches, including a 30-yard over-the-shoulder reception of a C.J. Beathard pass. The catch came against tight coverage from Tararvius Moore. On the next play of the move-the-chains period, Beathard hit Burbridge for a 6-yard TD pass against the coverage of Terrell Williams.

--Reuben Foster and Malcolm Smith lined up as the starting inside linebackers. Smith is playing middle linebacker, which is responsible for the communication on the defense. Foster is remaining at the weakside position, at which he played last season.

“We kind of like Reuben just running around and not having to worry about as much,” Shanahan said.

Shanahan encouraged with what he's seen from 49ers RB Joe Williams


Shanahan encouraged with what he's seen from 49ers RB Joe Williams

SANTA CLARA – Running back Joe Williams led the 49ers in rushing yards during the exhibition season as a rookie, but he did not create an overall favorable impression.

Williams was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a minor foot injury heading into the regular season. He came back for the offseason program this year and has placed himself in position to compete for a roster spot.

“I think he has a different mindset – understands a little bit more the standard of the NFL and difference,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Tuesday as the club opens a two-day minicamp to close out the offseason program.

“Joe’s come a long way. I think his body looks a lot better than it did last year. He put on a lot of muscle mass and he took advantage of the year of not playing.”

Williams rushed for 130 yards, averaging 5.2 yards a carry, in the exhibition season a year ago. But his work ethic, consistency and problems with fumbling did not help his cause.

Even this year, it will be difficult to break into the 49ers’ top three running backs: Jerick McKinnon, Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert, who is one of the club’s best players on special teams.

But Williams has shown the reasons the 49ers traded up to select him in the fourth round of last year’s draft.

“When it is blocked right, he has the size and the burst to get through there as fast as anyone,” Shanahan said. “But it’s just about doing it day-in and day-out and protecting the football, and what do you do when the run doesn’t look good. What do you do without the ball in your hands?

“Joe has come a long way in a year, and I’m excited about him coming back to training camp.”