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Kaepernick facing pressures as QB on and off field

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Kaepernick facing pressures as QB on and off field

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) He was adopted as a newborn, has a fully grown pet tortoise named Sammy, and sports 10 or 11 tattoos by his own count covering much of his upper body.

Colin Kaepernick is finding out fast that just about everything becomes fair game - and very much public - when you're a starting quarterback in the NFL. Personal, professional and otherwise. Since the second-year pro took over as San Francisco's starter three games ago, further details of his life have emerged.

``I get tattoos because I like them, not for anybody else,'' Kaepernick said when asked if he understands the intrigue of a tattooed quarterback. ``I don't know. I don't worry about that.''

Kaepernick said Wednesday he understands there are pressures on and off the field with his job, but prefers to move forward this week from a disappointing loss at St. Louis and get ready for Sunday's home game against the Miami Dolphins.

Kaepernick accepts the added attention and scrutiny that comes his way, along with the successes.

``That's something that I don't worry about,'' he said. ``I'm here to play football. I don't pay attention to what the media's writing or what people are saying. I'm here to play, and go out and perform on Sundays.''

And Kaepernick knows he had better help the Niners (8-3-1) bounce back from a 16-13 overtime loss on the road to the Rams - because coach Jim Harbaugh still will only go as far as to say Kaepernick is the starter again this week, nothing beyond there. The reigning NFL coach of the year hasn't ruled out returning to Alex Smith before season's end.

``It's a situation, whatever Coach Harbaugh chooses, that's the guy we're rolling with,'' left tackle Joe Staley said. ``We're all worried about getting W's, we're worried about doing our jobs to the best of our ability. We don't have time to worry about favorites. Kaepernick's our guy. We support him 100 percent. That's how it is.''

Harbaugh again accepted blame Wednesday for an errant pitch in the fourth quarter that was fumbled by Kaepernick deep in 49ers territory and that allowed St. Louis to tie the game with a touchdown and two-point conversion.

Harbaugh said Kaepernick still can learn as much from plays that go awry as from those that work. Even Rams coach Jeff Fisher wondered afterward why San Francisco called such a risky play in that situation.

``The play we called in the huddle was a loser, and we didn't have an audible for that play,'' Harbaugh said. ``The way it turned out, that's a low-hanging fruit, `What the heck are they doing?' You learn from it. It feels like somebody reached into your chest and stomach and started pulling the innards out without using any anesthesia.''

Not that Harbaugh actually called that one - that was offensive coordinator Greg Roman - but he did relay the call to Kaepernick through the headset and took full responsibility for it.

Kaepernick isn't blaming anybody. He will be the first one to acknowledge he has plenty of flaws to go with his big, playmaking arm.

Now, Kaepernick is back to work getting ready for what has turned into a key game with the Dolphins considering Seattle won at Chicago in overtime Sunday to put pressure on the NFC West-leading Niners. San Francisco plays at the Seahawks (7-5) on Dec. 23.

``Can't make mistakes. That's the biggest thing,'' Kaepernick said of what he took from Sunday. ``For the most part I felt my reads were good, got through progressions well. That's something I want to continue to do going forward.''

There haven't been many miscues so far. Kaepernick took over as starter in the second half of San Francisco's first game with the Rams, a 24-24 tie on Nov. 11, after Smith suffered a first-half concussion and the 2011 second-round draft pick has kept the job even after Smith was medically cleared to return.

Kaepernick is 69 for 106 for 888 yards and three touchdowns with one interception and a 96.7 passer rating.

``We've got faith and trust in Colin in the way he's played,'' Harbaugh said. ``Therefore, another start this week.''

Notes: WR Mario Manningham wasn't practicing during the open portion of the Wednesday afternoon session, along with CB Tarell Brown, who was on last week's injury report with a knee issue but played every snap at St. Louis.

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Wizards release 2018-19 preseason schedule, including two games vs. Knicks

Wizards release 2018-19 preseason schedule, including two games vs. Knicks

The Wizards released their 2018-19 five-game preseason schedule on Tuesday and it looks quite a bit like last year's did.

Once again, they will play the New York Knicks twice, once at home and once on the road. And once again, they will host the Guangzhou Long-Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association.

It all begins on Oct. 1 when the Wizards host the Knicks. Three of their five preseason games will be played at Capital One Arena.

Here is the full preseason schedule:

10/1 vs. Knicks

10/5 vs. Heat

10/8 at Knicks

10/10 at Pistons

10/12 vs. Guangzhou Long-Lions

The preseason schedule release comes on the heels of the full 82-game regular season reveal. That came out last week. You can see it here.

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    D.C. artist turns her love for the Washington Capitals into works of art

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    @tkopaintings on Twitter

    D.C. artist turns her love for the Washington Capitals into works of art

    Local artist Taylor Kampa has taken her love for the Washington Capitals and turned it into works of art. 

    You can find paintings done by Kampa of Alex Ovechkin, Tom Wilson, Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, John Carlson and Braden Holtby on display at Circa Chinatown – a restaurant neighboring Capital One Arena – along with other D.C. celebrities.

    A professional artist for the last decade, Kampa told NHL.com that the pictures were "passion projects," and took about eight hours to finish. She became a fan of the Caps after she began dating her now-husband back in 2009.

    Her work has even caught the eye of The Great Eight. After posting a video to Instagram of her painting Ovechkin hoisting the Stanley Cup, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner liked and commented on it. 

    "I almost died," Kampa said.

    "It has been amazing sharing something that I am excited about that resonates with the people in my city," Kampa said. "I've been painting these portraits for a long time, so it's awesome to have them seen by so many people."

    Kampa will also create paintings for the Capitals foundation's annual Casino Night fundraiser next year. 

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