<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Sports News, Sports Teams, and Scores for the Sharks, 49ers, Raiders,Giants, Bears and More]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Mon, 01 Sep 2014 04:14:07 -0700 Mon, 01 Sep 2014 04:14:07 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[49er McDonald Arrested for Domestic Violence: SJPD]]> Sun, 31 Aug 2014 19:44:49 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/221*120/MCDONALD_leaves_jail.jpg

The San Francisco 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald was arrested for domestic violence overnight, San Jose police confirmed.

San Jose police Sgt. Heather Randol said the 29-year-old was taken into custody early Sunday after officers responded to a domestic violence incident at a home in an upscale neighborhood at the 2500 block of Bentley Ridge Drive, SJPD said in a release.

McDonald was taken into custody without incident and booked into Santa Clara County Jail on felony domestic violence charges, according to the release. He has posted $25,000 bail and has been released from jail, police said.

So far, McDonald is not saying much about the incident.

"It's a crazy situation," said McDonald, as he walked out of the jail less than 10 hours after his arrest.

McDonald's alleged victim may have been pregnant, sources told NBC Bay Area's Damian Trujillo.

He was apparently involved in an altercation with his fiancee, who had bruises on her arms and neck, according to the Sacramento Bee. 49ers teammates Vernon Davis and Demarcus Dobbs were also reportedly present, the Bee reported.

But McDonald maintained his innocence.

"The truth will come out," he said. "Everybody knows what kind of person I am."

The 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke said in a statement Sunday that the organization is "aware of the recent reports regarding Ray McDonald and we take such matters seriously. As we continue to gather the facts, we will reserve further comment.”

McDonald, who has been playing for the 49ers since 2007, was arrested on the same street where 49ers' outside linebacker Aldon Smith was busted for a DUI last September, sources told NBC Bay Area.

The NFL has suspended Smith on Friday for the first nine games of the 2014 season for violating the league's policies on substance abuse and personal conduct.

McDonald's arrest comes after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced a tougher domestic abuse policy on Thursday. NFL players will be subject to a six-week game suspension for a first domestic violence offense and banishment from the league for a second, according to the new rules.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[49ers' Aldon Smith Suspended for 9 Games]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 18:24:29 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/aldon-smith-preason-2014.jpg

The San Francisco 49ers will play more than half the season without the team’s best defensive player.

The NFL has suspended outside linebacker Aldon Smith for the first nine games of the 2014 season for violating the league's policies on substance abuse and personal conduct.

Smith's suspension is without pay, the league announced Friday.

Smith will be eligible to return to the 49ers’ active roster on Monday, Nov. 10, following the team’s Nov. 9 game against the New Orleans Saints, the NFL announced. He'll likely be back on the field when the Niners play the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on Nov. 16.

“Our organization has known this decision would come and we have prepared for it as a team," San Francisco 49ers General Manager Trent Baalke said in a statement following the league's announcement. "Aldon has taken responsibility for his actions and has continued to show growth personally and professionally. We will continue to support him, but it is time to put this matter behind us and focus on the season ahead.”

Smith will not be able to appeal the suspension as the appeals process has already run its course, CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco reported.

The 24-year-old Smith, one of the NFL's top pass rushers, missed five games last season to undergo treatment at an in-patient facility following his DUI arrest Sept. 20.

Just before training camp began last month, the 24-year-old Smith was sentenced to serve three years of probation and to spend 11 days with a work crew after he pleaded no contest to drunken driving and weapons charges.

He has repeatedly said he has been sober since his DUI arrest last September. Smith played in a 27-7 home loss to the Colts on Sept. 22, two days after he was arrested and jailed on suspicion of DUI and marijuana possession. After the game, he publicly apologized for his behavior and later announced he would leave for treatment.

While the Niners went on a five-game winning streak without him, Smith's menacing presence was sorely missed. The team still picked up his 2015 contract option this spring.

In his latest run-in with the law, Smith was arrested April 13 at Los Angeles International Airport. Police said Smith was randomly selected for a secondary screening and became uncooperative with the process, telling a TSA agent that he had a bomb. No charges were filed.

In November, he pleaded not guilty to three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon, stemming from a June 2012 party at his home. Investigators said several shots were fired, two partygoers were injured and Smith was stabbed. In the subsequent investigation, prosecutors say detectives found five unregistered, illegal weapons in Smith's house.

Last season, Smith finished with 8 1/2 sacks and 34 tackles in 11 games with eight starts. He was initially worked back in slowly, but demonstrated he had stayed in shape while away.

Selected seventh overall in the 2011 draft out of Missouri, Smith had a franchise-record 19 1/2 sacks during the 2012 season for the 49ers, who lost to Baltimore in the Super Bowl after that season.

Read more from CSN Bay Area.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[For 49ers, It Appears Osgood is in, Lloyd is Out]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 08:32:09 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/173*120/taklekassm.jpg

There’s still no guarantee Kassim Osgood will be on the field Sept. 7 for the season-opening game vs. the Cowboys in Dallas.

But after Thursday night’s final exhibition game, the writing seems to be on the wall that the special teams standout will be a 49er for a second straight year.

Osgood, who seemingly was without a job going into training camp with a much deeper and more talented crew of wideouts fighting for jobs, was given a game ball by head coach Jim Harbaugh after the victory over the Texans Thursday night.

The three-time Pro Bowl special teams player and backup wide receiver blocked a punt for a safety against the Texans and has played hard and well throughout camp and the preseason games.

“It’s good to go out with a bang,” Osgood told Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle after Thursday night’s victory. “I’m trying to make any play I can to be on that 53-man roster. It’s a good deal to get a game ball.”

For most of training camp, the numbers seemed stacked against Osgood. Wide receivers Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree and Stevie Johnson were locks to make the roster, and second-year pro Quinton Patton and rookie Bruce Ellington have also played very well. The curveball thrown at Osgood was veteran free agent Brandon Lloyd, who was signed by the 49ers this spring after a year away from the NFL and looked excellent early in camp. But when Lloyd’s playing time diminished because of an injury, Osgood’s continued excellent play and track record appear to have won him a roster spot.

When Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com published his projected 53-man roster Friday morning after the Houston game, he placed Osgood among the six wideouts on the team, adding: “For now, Osgood and his special teams play seemingly put an end to Brandon Lloyd’s comeback.”

That should be good news for 49ers special teams, which were much improved in 2013 in part because of the addition of Osgood, who excels at covering kickoffs and punts.

Osgood obviously was excited by his performance and the way the 49ers played in their last warm-up before the regular-season opener, posting on Twitter: “It was a fun game!!”

It will be even more fun Saturday if he gets the thumbs up from Harbaugh about making the team.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders' Moore Has Earned a Spot]]> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 08:29:34 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/173*120/deemohrrr.jpg

Denarius Moore entered this Raiders training camp on the bubble.

Now that the exhibition season is over, it appears the wide receiver will get a fourth season in silver and black. And rookie quarterback Derek Carr deserves an assist.

Moore, who needed to show Raiders coaches he can be a more consistent playmaker, had a big night Thursday in the Oakland’s 41-31 victory over the Seahawks, catching three passes for 58 yards and two touchdowns, including  36-yard strike from Carr in the first quarter.

Over four preseason games Moore had nine catches for 140 yards – a 15.6 average – for two scores and had catches of 40 and 36 yards – exactly the type of big plays the Raiders want from him. He also was more reliable and made some tough catches in traffic, including an 11-yarder Thursday night on a ball thrown behind him while being guarded by Richard Sherman, one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks.

Plus, he showed great chemistry with Carr, and Carr might just have won the starting job for the regular-season opener vs. the Jets on Sept. 7.

With starters James Jones and Rod Streater given the night off, Moore put on an impressive show that should earn him a chance to stick on the roster when the Raiders have to cut to the 53-man limit on Saturday.

Said head coach Dennis Allen: “Denarius made a couple of really nice catches.”

With Carr’s better arm and accuracy, the Raiders’ wide receivers have been much better playmakers. Moore now seems to have surpassed Andre Holmes and Greg Little and could figure as the team’s third or fourth wideout.

As Steve Corkran of the Bay Area News Group noted after Thursday’s game, a more consistent Moore – who’s had to fight to stay on the roster this summer – could emerge as one of the team’s top playmakers. Especially with a more accurate passer.

“The Raiders still lack a bona fide No. 1 receiver,” he wrote. “Moore is the one who has the skill set to be that guy, just as he showed Thursday.”

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Carr Puts On a Show, Raiders Win 41-31]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 22:31:45 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/167*120/carrandmych.jpg

Even before Thursday night’s final exhibition game, reports indicated the Raiders believe Derek Carr is primed to play quarterback in the NFL.

Albert Breer of NFL.com reported this week that the coaching staff believes “Carr is ready to start, if needed,” with anointed No. 1 quarterback Matt Schaub on the sidelines with a sore throwing elbow.

Then Carr took the offensive reins Thursday night to blitz the Seahawks in what eventually was a 41-31 Oakland victory.

Carr was brilliant, completing 11-of-13 passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns before giving way to Matt McGloin in the second quarter.

“A brilliant quarter and a half in the fourth preseason game doesn’t mean Carr is ready to be a quality NFL starting quarterback,” wrote NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal during Thursday night’s game. “But we’ve seen enough this preseason to know he’s a better option than Schaub, who simply doesn’t have arm strength or confidence.”

In fact, of the three Raiders QBs on the roster, Schaub has looked far worse than either Carr – the second-round pick from Fresno State – or McGloin, the second-year pro who is No. 3 on the depth chart.

Over his past two outings, Carr has shown a strong arm, accuracy, confidence and an ability to make plays when needed.

Early in Thursday’s game, on a third-and-10, Carr completed a 12-yarder to Brice Butler for a first down on a drive that ended with a Latavius Murray touchdown run. On the next possession, Carr hit Denarius Moore for a 36-yard TD to give Oakland a 14-7 lead. He followed that up with a 20-yard scoring pass to tight end Mychal Rivera. Even though the ball was deflected, Rivera was able to make the grab.

On his final drive of the night, Carr connected with Moore again on a 10-yard scoring throw after earlier connecting with Rivera on a 27-yard pass on a key third-down play.

Carr’s initial drives, too, came against the starting Seattle defense, the No. 1 unit in the NFL in 2013. For the night, he led four TD drives.

With the exhibition season now complete, the Raiders over the next few days face some difficult roster decisions to get down to 53 players this Saturday.

However, the decision to name Carr the starter for the regular-season opener Sept. 7 at the New York Jets seems like a no-brainer.

Carr is a rookie and there’s no telling how he’ll perform under the pressure of the regular season.

But Raiders coaches and their fans have seen enough of Schaub to know what to expect from him. And Carr certainly seems the better choice. Under Carr, the Raiders offense has come alive this month. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[49ers Defeat Texans 40-13 in Preseason Finale]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 20:16:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/185*120/asanteTD.jpg

When the 49ers took the field Thursday night for their final exhibition game of the summer, the team’s primary goal was obvious:

Don’t let anybody important get hurt.

Most of San Francisco’s starters on offense and defense never took the field against the Texans in what eventually was a 40-13 49ers victory in Houston against a team that also sat most of its regulars.

Though head coach Jim Harbaugh had said quarterback Colin Kaepernick would play, he didn’t, so struggling backup Blaine Gabbert started – and struggled some more.

Gabbert completed just 4-of-11 passes for 60 yards, with one of those passes going for a 14-yard touchdown to long-shot tight end Asante Cleveland. Gabbert’s final summer performance gave him a summer stat line of 22-of-47 passes completed for 186 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and a QB rating of 54.0.

But in a night where it was Backups vs. Backups and one final night for rookies and free agents to state their case before the final 53-man roster is set on Saturday, there were some highlights.

  • Running back LaMichael James, with his first extensive action after suffering an elbow injury that sidelined him early in training camp, carried the ball six times for 39 yards and had one 17-yard burst.
  • Speedy rookie wideout Bruce Ellington showed what kind of a threat he can be, catching three balls for 35 yards, including a 13-yard scoring pass from No. 3 QB Josh Johnson. He also returned a kickoff 26 yards and had a 44-yard punt return.
  • Rookie inside linebacker Chris Borland, locked in a battle with veteran Michael Wilhoite to replace NaVorro Bowman the first half of this coming season, returned an interception 34 yards for a touchdown.

With the final preseason game out of the way, the real drama begins – first to determine the final cuts, and then the start of the regular season.

On Sept. 7 at Dallas, the 49ers will trot out their A Team again when the game actually means something.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[PHOTOS: 49ers vs. Texans]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 20:20:20 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/200*120/454310608_8.jpg Photo highlights from the preseason matchup between the 49ers and Texans.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[USC Player Suspended for Lie]]> Thu, 28 Aug 2014 00:21:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/USC+Josh+Shaw.jpg

A USC football player and co-captain admitted on Wednesday that he lied when he said he hurt his ankles while jumping off a second-floor balcony to save his drowning nephew from a pool, the player said in a statement from his attorney.

Senior cornerback Josh Shaw first told USC's Ripsit Blog that he jumped off the balcony on Aug. 23, landed on the concrete and crawled into the pool to rescue the child, suffering the sprains as a result of the jump.

But on Wednesday, Shaw admitted that the story was "made up," and school officials called it "a complete fabrication."

"On Saturday August 23, 2014, I injured myself in a fall. I made up a story about this fall that was untrue. I was wrong not to tell the truth," Shaw said Wednesday in statement from his lawyer. "I apologize to USC for this action on my part."

"My USC coaches, the USC Athletic Department, and espcially coach Sarkisian have all been supportive of me during my college career and for that, I am very grateful," the statement continued.

The Ripsit blog has since deleted its initial story about the rescue. Shaw has been suspended indefinitely from all team activities, school officials said.

"We are extremely disappointed in Josh," USC head football coach Steve Sarkisian said in a school statement."He let us all down. As I have said, nothing in his background led us to doubt him when he told us of his injuries, nor did anything after our initial vetting of his story."Sarkisian said earlier Wednesday that the campus was looking into phone calls that disputed Shaw's account of what happened.

"I appreciate that Josh has now admitted that he lied and has apologized," Sarkisian said in the statement Wednesday. "Although this type of behavior is out of character for Josh, it is unacceptable. Honesty and integrity must be at the center of our program. I believe Josh will learn from this. I hope that he will not be defined by this incident, and that the Trojan Family will accept his apology and support him."

The football player's sister, Asia Shaw, shared her reaction with NBC4: "I support him with whatever he does 100 percent – 110 percent."

Carmen Trutanich, who represented USC football players before serving as Los Angeles city attorney, says Shaw may have felt pressured to lie.

"It was a kid afraid of telling the coach, 'Hey coach I got hurt doing something stupid,'" Trutanich said. Trutanich is not representing Shaw.

Students were surprised to hear their fellow Trojan lied.

"I'm shocked," one student said. "I didn't think he'd be capable of doing something like that."

"I think that's just really disappointing, because we all thought he was a hero," another student said.

On Tuesday, Sarkisian defended Shaw and said he had "no reason, no history to not believe Josh."

Los Angeles police told NBC4 on Tuesday they had not had any contact with Shaw, but they did take a burglary report Aug. 23, the same night of his fall, in which the victim named Shaw as her boyfriend.

"He is not listed as a suspect, and police had no contact with him," LAPD Officer Sara Faden told NBC4. "His name is just listed in the body of a police report."

Officers responded to the call about 11 p.m., Faden said. While officers were speaking with people outside, a resident returned and spoke to police.

They asked her about her roommates and "people in her life," and she mentioned Shaw as her boyfriend, Faden said.

Conan Nolan and Robert Kovacik contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: USC Athletics]]>
<![CDATA[Parents File Lawsuit, Seek Soccer Rule Changes to Protect Players]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 23:35:59 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0827-2014-SOCCER.jpg

A lawsuit filed in San Francisco would require soccer organizations to do a better job protecting its players.

The class-action lawsuit against the sport's governing body, FIFA, was filed by a group of parents concerned about their children's safety. It claims FIFA has been negligent in monitoring head injuries in soccer players.

The suit asks for rule changes at all levels, including limiting the amount of headers for kids under 17.

"It's important that both the players, coaches, parents are all educated in regard to concussions," said David Eberle, a coach with Almaden FC.

Eberle said all of the club's players are taught proper heading technique.

The suit also asks for advanced leagues that only allow three substitutions per game to allow a temporary fourth substitute if a player needs to be examined for a head injury.

"I don't see that harming the game," Eberle said. "I only think it would benefit."

Parent Cheryl Vinje is in favor of the lawsuit.

"I'm a nurse so I know the damage it could do if you continue playing or don't take care of yourself if you re-injure it," she said. "So I'm all for it."

Another parent, Ray Baskett, whose son is a goalie, said he sometimes worries about the dangers of the position.

"If he did get more than one head injury -- to have some rules in play of subbing him out or maybe requiring head gear for goalies," Baskett said.



Photo Credit: Ian Cull]]>
<![CDATA[Carrie, Thorpe Battling for No. 3 Cornerback Spot]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 09:57:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Carrie2atkorner.jpg

This was the season D.J. Hayden was going to become an impact player.

He had a strong offseason program, gained some strength and was totally fit. As the summer approached, he was ready to seize a starting cornerback job.

But after suffering a stress fracture in his foot, that’s not going to happen.

Hayden this week was officially placed on the physically unable to perform list, so he’s guaranteed to sit out at least the first six games of the regular season. Plus, he’s missed valuable practice and playing time. It’s possible that 2014 will be another lost season for the team’s No. 1 draft pick of 2013.

Now the Raiders enter their final preseason game Thursday night vs. the Seahawks with Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers set as the starting cornerbacks. When in their nickel package, Rogers will switch to cover the slot receiver, but that still leaves a job open for the third cornerback job. And how the candidates fare against Seattle could play a large role in determining the winner.

Chimdi Chekwa was one candidate, but he won’t play Thursday because of a minor injury. He could come back in time for the season opener on Sept. 7, or soon after, so he’s not out of the picture.

But the two leading candidates to get the call for opening day now are rookie T.J. Carrie, the seventh-round pick from Ohio University, and free-agent Neiko Thorpe, a former Auburn and Kansas City Chiefs player who last season played in the Canadian Football League with the Toronto Argonauts.

Thorpe has impressed Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver with his mental focus, saying his mindest is “what you’re looking for.” He’s also praised Carrie’s toughness and ability to bounce back from a mistake and learn.

He likes what he’s seen from both players and the competition isn’t finished.

“I think we’ve had good competition at the corner position through camp and through the preseason,” Tarver told the Bay Area media after practice Tuesday. “There’ve been some players that step up like T.J. Carrie and Neiko, and that battle will still be going on this week. … I’m excited to see these guys play, because they both did some good things last week and they’ve both done good things throughout camp.”

Tarver said he’s “excited to watch our corners play this week.”

Both Carrie and Thorpe are coming off solid games against the Packers last week. As Christopher Hansen of Bleacher Report pointed out, Carrie was assigned to cover veteran standout receiver Jordy Nelson and allowed two catches on four targets for just 19 yards – although one of those was for a touchdown. Thorpe, meanwhile, didn’t allow a catch in four throws to receivers he was covering.

Though the Raiders obviously are disappointed they won’t have Hayden to start the season, Tarver says he’s comfortable going forward with either Carrie or Thorpe because of how they’ve learned and played this summer.

“The mentally tough ones come right back,” he said. “T.J.’s bounced right back. Neiko’s bounced right back. Our young DBs have bounced right back and that’s the sign of ones that, number one, you want to play with as a coach and number two, you want them on your team.”

 

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Winston Relishing Chance With 49ers]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 09:46:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Winstonrunnn.jpg

No matter how well running back Glenn Winston plays Thursday night in the 49ers’ final exhibition game, it’s unlikely he’ll make the 49ers season-opening roster.

He’s buried on the depth chart behind Frank Gore, Carlos Hyde and LaMichael James, and Marcus Lattimore is waiting in the wings to be activated some time in 2014.

But Winston has opened some eyes in training camp and is coming off a very good performance this past Sunday against the Chargers in which he picked up 58 yards on eight carries, including a 27-yard touchdown run.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder showed both power and speed.

With another good night Thursday in the 49ers’ final exhibition game vs. the Texans in Houston, Winston could fight his way onto the practice squad or as a special teams player.

Winston, 25, was a late addition to the team’s training camp roster, signed as a free agent in early August after Kendall Hunter tore a knee ligament. Winston didn’t get any carries the first two exhibition games but made the most of his opportunities against the Chargers.

He took a roundabout route to the 49ers, coming out of Northwood University in Michigan after starting his collegiate career at Michigan State. According to multiple reports, Winston had some off-the-field issues and injury problems before landing at Northwood. In 2013 at Northwood, Winston had 717 yards rushing on 175 carries for nine touchdowns.

He says he’s just relishing the chance to show the NFL he can play.

“It means the world to me,” he told the 49ers’ website, of his opportunity. “I want everybody to know that the underdog is truly not the underdog.”

Even after this big day, he’s a realist. He know the odds are long and he has to keep working. Another good game against the Texans will help.

“I study hard, I work hard, I study the playbook every night,” he told 49ers.com. “I’m about to go in there right now and study. I love the grind. I’d rather be doing it than not doing it.”

Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh said Winston “ran physical, pushed the pile” and played well on Sunday. It’s something the coaching staff has seen since he arrived.

“He’s been good here since the day he got here, as a teammate, as a person and acquitted himself well on the field,” Harbaugh said this week. “We’ll see where it goes. But he’s done some very good things in the game, scored a touchdown. He was very excited about that after the ballgame and some of his other runs. So, I was happy for him.”

Whether Winston remains with the 49ers in Dallas for the Sept. 7 season opener, however, still seems like a long shot. But Winston’s already beaten the odds to get this far.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders to Donate $50K to Napa Schools, Red Cross After Quake]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:30:12 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/raiders-AP275899804638.jpg

As most Napa Unified students return to school on Wednesday following a significant earthquake over the weekend, their district is getting some financial support from Oakland Raiders legend and NFL Hall of Famer Willie Brown.

Brown delivered a check for $50,000 on behalf of the team to School District Supt. Patrick Sweeney Wednesday afternoon in Napa - a fitting spot, since the football team holds training camp in the city, about 45 miles north of Oakland. A spokesman said $25,000 will go toward Red Cross efforts in Napa and $25,000 will go directly toward the schools.

"We're excited," said Jennifer Stewart, executive director of the Napa Valley Education Foundation, where the annual operating budget is about $500,000. "We're going to immediately see what the teachers need."

The money is a donation and a sign of good will to students who haven't been to school since Sunday's 6.0 earthquake, which damaged more than 100 buildings. All but one of the Napa public schools are expected to re-open to students on Wednesday. Stonebridge Charter School will remain closed as engineers still need more time to investigate possible structural cracks.

According to the district, none of the schools suffered structural damage, though some need to have broken windows and cabinets replaced for fixed.

The former cornerback was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984, for his years when he played on the team between 1967 to 1978.

In a promotional video on the Raiders site, the team touts a beautiful train ride into wine country, saying the city is not "only optimal for grapes, but it's optimal for football."

In July, the Raiders completed the team's 19th training camp in Napa, using the Napa Valley Marriott and the adjacent Redwood Middle School as the team's summer base.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Hernandez Evidence to Be Tossed]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 18:41:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP296842589971.jpg

A Massachusetts judge has allowed some evidence to be suppressed in the murder trial of Aaron Hernandez, court documents show.

The former star Patriots tight end had asked the court to suppress the evidence — an iPhone, a Blackberry, an iPad and two iPad minis — which was obtained when his home was searched last June after the killing of Odin Lloyd.

Defense lawyers argued that that evidence was not part of the original search warrant and that a state trooper did not have the proper paperwork when he entered Hernandez's home.

Tuesday, the Bristol County Superior Court granted that motion, allowing that evidence to be thrown out.

Earlier this month, the court denied Hernandez's motion to exclude a digital video recorder, a hard drive and Hernandez's cell phone.

The hard drive allegedly contains files showing Hernandez holding the murder weapon and his movements around the time of the murder. The phone, according to prosecutors, had text messages Hernandez sent to Lloyd, as well as the former NFL star's alleged right hand man, Ernest Wallace, on the night of the killing.

Hernandez is charged with first-degree murder in the 2013 death of Lloyd. He is also charged with the murders of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado in Boston in 2012.

The Bristol County District Attorney's Office told NECN Tuesday afternoon that it cannot comment on the case, due to an ongoing gag order.

NECN will have more as this story develops.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Wilhoite Appears Ready to Step in For Bowman]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 08:33:32 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/177*120/emmwilhoite.jpg

Just a couple of weeks ago, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio called the Michael Wilhoite-Chris Borland duel to start at inside linebacker “very even.”

Now, with just Thursday night’s fourth exhibition game remaining before the regular-season opener at Dallas on Sept. 7, everything points to Wilhoite as the winner.

The good part for the 49ers, however, is that Borland looks like a co-winner.

Both have played exceptionally well, and both are coming off strong performances against the Chargers in a victory over San Diego at Levi’s Stadium Sunday.

Wilhoite, who started alongside Patrick Willis at inside linebacker, had four tackles and an assist vs. San Diego, while Borland had five tackles, an assist and a sack.

But Wilhoite was in on one of the key stops of the game, combining with Willis to stop Chargers running back Ryan Mathews on fourth-and-1 deep in Niners territory in a still-scoreless game in the first quarter.

Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group noted that the stop by Wilhoite was yet another indication that he’s working well with the first-team unit and especially well with Willis.

“Our chemistry’s good,” Wilhoite told Inman of the relationship with Willis. “We’re feeding off each other and communicating well. The No. 1 thing is chemistry.”

Added Willis: “It’s easy to communicate with Mike. … So when things get hectic or things get a little crazy, we can talk to one another and we can play whichever spot that calls for in the moment.”

Wilhoite said he hasn’t yet been notified he’s going to start in Game 1 vs. the Cowboys, and he also knows he’s just holding down the spot until NaVorro Bowman returns from knee rehab, which is expected about midseason. Wilhoite, in fact, says Bowman has been working with him to help him get better. The short-yardage play he made against the Chargers, in fact, was helped by Bowman’s input.

“It felt good because honestly, in my head, we had played that play a couple of times in practice and (Bowman) kept telling me to play a little different and shoot the gap,” Wilhoite told 49ers.com. “I did and so it felt good. And not only for me to make it, but to make it with Pat, it was even better because I’ve seen him and Bow make so many plays together in the past two years. It just felt good to share that excitement and share that play whether it had been Pat or Bow, but especially with Pat.”

Meanwhile, Borland, the rookie from Wisconsin, continues to shine and give the 49ers great depth at linebacker. Borland and fellow rookie Aaron Lynch may not earn starting jobs this season, but could make big impacts on the roster in years to come.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Carr Eager for Playing Time vs. Seahawks]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 08:32:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/DeeDKarr.jpg

With Matt Schaub unlikely to play Thursday night because of a sore elbow, the spotlight will be on Derek Carr.

After sitting out last week’s exhibition game in the aftermath of a concussion, Carr is scheduled to start at quarterback against the Seahawks in the final preseason game, and the rookie from Fresno State can’t wait.

“The more that I can be out there, the happier I’ll be,” he told reporters after Monday’s practice. “That’s why we work so hard in the offseason. That’s why you spend so many hours here before anyone’s here. That’s why you do all those things, because you want to go out there and help the team win and I’ll be looking forward to it.”

Carr is coming off a fine effort against the Lions Aug. 15, and he’s had a solid preseason, showing an ability to throw deep, be accurate and put much more zip on the ball than Schaub.

In two games, Carr is 19-for-32 (59.4 percent) for 183 yards, one touchdown and one interception and a QB rating of 72.8, and he’s looked much better than Schaub (who has a QB rating of 55.1).

So, what happens if Carr again looks good against Seattle Thursday? Would the Raiders suddenly decide to go with Carr in Week 1 of the regular season against the Jets?

Doubtful. Even if Carr has a terrific game Thursday night, the Raiders plan to go with Schaub early in the season (unless his elbow doesn’t get better) and give Carr as much time as possible to develop.

Carr even told reporters Monday that “Schaubby’s going to be fine.”

But Carr says if his team needs him in the regular-season opener vs. the Jets, he’ll be ready.

“I work as hard as I can so I know when my number, if it has to be called, I’ll be ready to help us win,” Carr said.

One of the problems for Schaub is that he needs to get as much playing time as possible with the starting offense, so he’s losing valuable time this week.

But head coach Dennis Allen is staying the course. As he’s said all along, Schaub is the starter and he believes he’ll be ready soon.

“I’m not concerned about it,” Allen said of Schaub’s injury. “But we’re going to take him day-by-day and try to make sure he’s ready to go.”

An outstanding outing by Carr Thursday night, however, could certainly turn up the pressure on Schaub and the Raiders’ braintrust to re-think the plan at quarterback.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Coach: "Conflicting Stories" Around USC Player's Injuries]]> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 13:23:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/USC+Josh+Shaw.jpg

USC's football coach said there are "quite a few conflicting stories out there" Wednesday when he addressed questions about a senior cornerback who is sidelined indefinitely after suffering ankle sprains that the player says occurred when he jumped from a second-floor balcony to rescue his nephew from a swimming pool.

Senior cornerback Josh Shaw told USC's Ripsit Blog that he was on the second-floor balcony of his cousin’s Palmdale apartment on Aug. 23 when he saw his 7-year-old nephew struggling in the pool. Shaw told the blog, which is run by USC's athletics department, that he jumped off the balcony, landed on the concrete and crawled into the pool to rescue the child, suffering the sprains as a result of the jump.

But in a press availability before practice Tuesday, coach Steve Sarkisian said he received "a few phone calls contradicting" Shaw's account.

"Josh is adamant with what occurred," Sarkisian said. "We'll continue to vet some of the other stories that have come across our desk and our phones and see where we can go from there."

Sarkisian declined to elaborate on the details of the contradictory accounts during a Wedenesday media avialability. He said the team will let the investigation by campus officials "play out."

"We're in somewhat of a holding pattern," Sarkisian said. "My main focus is on going out and playing a great football game Saturday. As much as we have the situation with Josh, I've got another 104 players in that locker room that I'm getting prepared to play.

"We've put in too much work over the last nine months to let an hour or two of social media and internet reports from us being a great football team."

A Los Angeles County fire official said the agency had no record of a call for service for a drowning either Saturday or Sunday in the Palmdale area. There was also no record of any call for service regarding a bilateral leg injury, the fire official said.

It is possible that both Shaw and the nephew were driven to the hospital, in which case there would be no 911 record, a fire official said.

The nephew was physically ok, but reportedly "traumatized," the blog reported.

"I would do it again for whatever kid it was, it did not have to be my nephew," Shaw told the blog Monday. "My ankles really hurt, but I am lucky to be surrounded by the best trainers and doctors in the world. I am taking my rehab one day at a time, and I hope to be back on the field as soon as possible."

Shaw was named a team captain Saturday evening, just hours before he was hurt, the blog reported.

Sarkisian told reporters he believes his player.

"Josh Shaw, first and foremost, is a good person, he's a good kid," Sarkisian said. "He came to us with what had occurred Saturday night, and I have no reason, no history to not believe Josh and his story of what has occurred."

Sarkisian said they would look into the calls about what happened.

Los Angeles police said Tuesday they had not had any contact with Shaw, but they did take a burglary report Aug. 23 in which the victim named Shaw as her boyfriend.

"He is not listed as a suspect, and police had no contact with him," LAPD Officer Sara Faden told NBC4. "His name is just listed in the body of a police report."

Officers responded to the call about 11 p.m., Faden said. While officers were speaking with people outside, a resident returned and spoke to police.

They asked her about her roommates and "people in her life," and she mentioned Shaw as her boyfriend, Faden said.

Andrew Blankstein and Jonathan Lloyd contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: USC Athletics]]>
<![CDATA[Secret Poll: Raiders Are NFL's Least-Desirable Team]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 07:37:36 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/raidersk.JPG

Oakland truly is a black hole--for the players.

The Oakland Raiders have the dubious distinction of being the NFL's least-desirable employer, according to a secret poll of NFL players conducted by ESPN.

The scientific method used to define O.co Coliseum as the workplace to be avoided for football professionals was to ask "100-plus players" to fill in the following blank:

"The only way I'd play for [blank] is if they doubled my salary."

And 23 percent of the 82 players who responded said that it was the Raiders, according to ESPN.

Could it be the string of losing seasons? The commitment to excellence that's seen signings of the likes of JaMarcus Russell?

Also on the "do not trade me here" list: Buffalo, Cleveland, and, oddly, the beloved Green Bay Packers.

The Raiders last had a winning season in 2002 and have become known as a last stop of last resort for some players on their way out of uniform. Or, if you're Carson Palmer, a place to fail up before posting one of your best statistical seasons after leaving.

In the Raiders' defense, future Hall of Fame candidate Charles Woodson -- a once and current Raider, having begun his career here before heading to Green Bay and returning last year -- called the poll "skewed," saying that he's never heard a player utter a discouraging word.

Maybe just not in his presence.



Photo Credit: Joe Kukura]]>
<![CDATA[Niners' Offense Still Missing in Action]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 07:38:05 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/dulloffffns.jpg

A year ago, Colin Kaepernick had a terrific exhibition season. In four games, he completed 15-of-23 passes, connected for two touchdowns and had a quarterback rating of 116.4.

After three games this summer, Kaepernick has yet to lead the offense to a touchdown, has completed 12-of-22 throws and has a QB rating of 69.3. And, on Sunday in the 49ers’ exhibition victory over the Chargers, he was hit early and often, looked out of sync and had two passes batted down.

After so much optimism built up during the offseason, with the 49ers beefing up the receiving corps, many fans and 49ers observers are wondering what’s happened. Where’s the offense? What’s wrong with Kaepernick?

Peter King of Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback expressed doubts about the Niners after the victory over the Chargers at Levi’s Stadium in which the first-team offense did very little.

“We all knew the Niners weren’t the Broncos in terms of offensive explosiveness, but San Francisco still was a team that ran for 2,200 yards and scored 25 points per game last year,” he wrote. “But there will be alarm bells going off today with offensive coordinator Greg Roman, particularly in protection, as the Niners get ready to go to Dallas in 13 days for the opener. Look at the Niners – what can you have faith in right now on offense?”

Indeed, the numbers are ugly. The first-team offense has produced just three points against the Ravens, Broncos and Chargers. And the offense as a whole ranks last in the NFL this summer in points, yards per game and passing yards per game and near the bottom in rushing yards per game and third-down percentage, according to ESPN.

The 49ers have just one more game left, an exhibititon at Houston vs. the Texans Thursday night, before the season opener at Dallas on Sept. 7.

So, are the 49ers worried? Not really.

Kaepernick told reporters after Sunday’s game that it’s “just preseason.” In other words, nothing counts. And head coach Jim Harbaugh also brushed off questions about the struggling offense, saying that he saw positive strides Sunday from the first-team offensive unit, particularly in a 55-yard drive in the second quarter that produced a field goal.

“Had some plays that were cleanly blocked,” Harbaugh told the media. “We had some passes thrown and caught. And the runners were seeing holes. Just all 11 playing together in a more precise way.”

Though the offense hasn’t looked good, judging a unit by its performance in meaningless games can be dangerous.

The game plans are vanilla, not all key players are on the field and there’s little sense of urgency for front-line players just trying to get ready for the regular season.

Tight end Vernon Davis, for one, believes 49ers fans will see a different result when the real games begin.

“Once we get rolling, once we get into our zone, then it’s all downhill after that,” Davis told Mark Purdy of the Bay Area News Group. “We can do whatever we want, whatever we put our minds to. But it’s just about getting into that zone. You have to find that zone. And it’s hard to find sometimes.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders' Jones-Drew Looks Renewed]]> Mon, 25 Aug 2014 08:25:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/169*120/MJDvPack.jpg

Maurice Jones-Drew took the handoff from Matt Schaub and headed toward the middle of the Packers’ defensive line.

But when that avenue was closed, Jones-Drew bounced to the right, made his way through a crowd and then burst into the open field, pulling away for a 40-yard touchdown run.

Though there is still much to question about the Raiders’ offense after three exhibition games, Jones-Drew appears to have regained the form that made him one of the NFL’s best and most versatile running backs for the Jacksonville Jaguars for eight seasons.

In the 31-21 loss to Green Bay Friday night, Jones-Drew carried the ball three times for 45 yards. This preseason he’s carried 11 times for 67 yards and has three catches for 36.

After averaging a career-worst 3.4 yards per carry in 2013 for Jacksonville, he appears to have regained his quickness and speed, and looks fit once again.

A trio of Jones-Drew, Darren McFadden and Latavius Murray has given the Raiders a potentially formidable group of ballcarriers for 2014.

Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson said recently that Jones-Drew “looks like a different player” than he did in Jacksonville.

Jones-Drew is about 15 pounds lighter than he was in 2013 and feels completely healthy again in his shoulders, knees and legs after injuries in recent years.

As he demonstrated against the Packers, the 5-foot-7 Drew can run inside with power yet still have breakaway speed once he gets through traffic.

“He’s got such a low center of gravity,” Olson told Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group.  “He’s extremely difficult to tackle because of his height and his power. He’s got ridiculous power in those legs.”

Jones-Drew obviously is looking forward to running the football this season with McFadden. On Twitter recently, he posted a picture of himself with McFadden, labeling it “The Dash Brothers.”

While the Raiders still have some big question marks about their passing game – No. 1 quarterback Matt Schaub has been largely ineffective and now has a sore throwing elbow – the running game looks as if it might be much more dangerous in 2014.

When he posted his “Dash Brothers” photo, in fact, Jones-Drew added this message: “More to come.”

The Raiders have one remaining exhibition game, this Thursday against the Seahawks at O.co Coliseum at 7 p.m., with the season opener now just around the corner on Sept. 7 at the New York Jets.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Niners Have Some Bright Spots in Win Over Chargers]]> Sun, 24 Aug 2014 16:38:20 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GabtoMcDfortd.jpg

It was a strange week for the 49ers, who had to replace the bad turf in their brand new stadium and then woke up to an earthquake early Sunday morning.

But the strangest twist may have come in the 49ers’ 21-7 exhibition victory over the Chargers at Levi’s Stadium, when backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert – who had looked awful this exhibition season against the Ravens and Broncos -- posted better stats than starter Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick played just into the second quarter, completing 6-of-12 throws for 59 yards while also losing a fumble while being sacked.

Kaepernick – who was under consistent pressure and hit four times -- and the first-string offense struggled against the Chargers until the second quarter, when Kaepernick got his rhythm and completed five straight passes to drive the 49ers to the 21-yard line. From there, Phil Dawson kicked a 39-yard field goal.

Gabbert then took over and looked sharp.

The No. 2 QB completed 7-of-11 passes for 66 yards and connected with tight end Vance McDonald on a 6-yard TD pass in the second quarter to put the Niners up 10-7. On the drive, Gabbert completed 5-of-6 throws for 58 yards. Twice, he came up with third-down completions to keep the offense moving. One pass, a slant to rookie wideout Bruce Ellington, hit Ellington perfectly in stride for a 19-yard pickup.

Just when it looked like Gabbert may be losing his hold on the backup job to Kaepernick, Gabbert made a complete turnaround Sunday. Going into the San Diego game he had completed just 44 percent of his throws and had the lowest passer rating (17.9) of any QB in the NFL who had attempted at least 15 passes. Against the Chargers, his passer rating was 110.4.

“For the first time this preseason, Blaine Gabbert looks NFL-quality,” tweeted Eric Branch, who covers the 49ers for the San Francisco Chronicle. “Played big role on 10-play, 68-yard drive.”

Of course, Gabbert’s surprise rebound in the third exhibition game wasn’t the only positive for the 49ers.

No. 1 pick Jimmie Ward, starting at nickel corner, made an interception on a tipped ball; second-round choice Carlos Hyde continued his impressive running, picking up 38 yards on six carries; and rookie Chris Borland and veteran Michael Wilhoite – each competing to replace NaVorro Bowman at inside linebacker – both had outstanding days. Borland had a sack and a tackle for loss, and Whilhoite had five tackles. Another rookie, linebacker Aaron Lynch, had a sack and tipped the ball intercepted by Ward.

Now the 49ers have just four days until their final exhibition game, against the Texans in Houston, and a lot of decisions to make with the first roster cuts scheduled this week.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ledecky Sets World Record in 1,500 Freestyle]]> Sun, 24 Aug 2014 02:48:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP973055938873%281%29.jpg

U.S. teenager Katie Ledecky sliced almost six seconds off her own world mark in the women's 1,500-meter freestyle on Sunday, winning in 15 minutes, 28.36 seconds to post her second world record in as many nights at the Pan Pacific championships.

The 17-year-old Ledecky improved her record in the 400 freestyle on Saturday. She collected her fifth gold medal of the meet in convincing fashion in cool but clear conditions on the last night of competition.

It was the third time in 13 months she's set the mark in the 1,500, and the second in three months since her 15:34.23 at Shenandoah on June 19.

Ledecky holds world records in the 400, 800 and 1,500-meter freestyle events.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[49ers Prepare for Final Dress Rehearsal at Levi's Stadium]]> Sun, 24 Aug 2014 09:51:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0821-2014-LevisTurf2.jpg

The San Francisco 49ers get one more dress rehearsal Sunday before their first regular season home game.

With stadium parking and turf still needing some tweaking, it is unclear what kind of experience the fans or the players will have.

The Young family from Milpitas are lifelong 49ers fans. They came to see Levi’s stadium Saturday night before Sunday’s game, and they said they believe events here have gone pretty well.

"It was a lot of traffic, but I think it was much better than San Francisco," Howard Young said.

At Great America Parkway, Tasman and 237 did get jammed last weekend. When drivers exited the freeway, they had to make their way past the pedestrians.

"It was about an hour-and-15 to an hour-and-30-minutes from the time we got off the highway until we actually got into our parking lot," Joe Durrenberger of Brentwood told NBC Bay Area last week.

More than 60,000 people attended the first 49ers preseason game at Levi's Stadium last Sunday. Security lines moved quickly, and because of a painful defeat, many fans left early which may have eased congestion.

But Sunday is a new game--a new test to be played out on new turf. The 49ers replaced the original because they felt like it was too slippery.

Pictures were taken Saturday by a fan on a tour at Levi’s Stadium, and he tweeted these photos:

The 49ers said the turf is twice as thick as before and is laid down with an improved process to help it stick.

Young said he thinks it will all work out. He is just ready for a win.

"Nothing’s perfect," he said. "They got it 99 percent perfect, so 1 percent is no big deal."

The 49ers sent NBC Bay Area this statement about the turf:

"The turf has been set, but there is no way to know if the turf is 'holding up' until you play in it. We are confident it will be ready for the game."

Kickoff is at 1 p.m. against the San Diego Chargers.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Dan Marino Returning to Dolphins]]> Sun, 24 Aug 2014 15:26:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DanMarino14.jpg

Dan Marino is coming back to the Miami Dolphins. The Hall of Fame quarterback has agreed to accept a position with the team.

The Dolphins released a statement Sunday from team owner Stephen Ross and Marino confirming the story, which NBC 6 broke Saturday night.

“Dan is and will always be an important part of the Miami Dolphins and we are excited to get him involved in a more formal way,” Ross said. “Dan is unquestionably one of the greatest players in NFL history and his enthusiasm and passion for the Dolphins is inspiring to everyone here."

"I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve in this role. I have always considered myself a Dolphin for life and I look forward to supporting the organization anyway I can,” Marino added. “Stephen Ross is a passionate guy who is committed to building a first-class, winning organization. I'm excited about the future of the team and where the organization is headed.”

Marino will serve as a special advisor to Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and C.E.O. Tom Garfinkel. The team says Marino will work with the organization in a variety of different capacities. Marino has been more visible at Dolphins camp lately, watching practice Thursday as well as being in Davie for the ALS ice bucket challenge the week before. For 17 years, Marino was the face of the franchise and both the team and the 52-year-old have had mutual interest in finding a role for him within the organization.

In his career with the Dolphins, Marino played in 242 games (240 starts) and was 4,967-8,358 (59.4 percent) for 61,361 yards, 420 touchdowns and 252 interceptions for an 86.4 passing efficiency rating. Marino holds 31 Dolphins regular season team records (43 overall, including playoffs) and is tied for three others (seven, including playoffs). Marino also holds five NFL regular season records and is tied for six others. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on February 5, 2005 and enshrined on August 7, 2005. Marino’s No. 13 jersey became the second Dolphins uniform number to be retired, on Sunday, September 17, 2000, at halftime of the Dolphins-Baltimore Ravens game at Sun Life Stadium, where he was inducted into the Dolphins Honor Roll. He was also a charter inductee in the Dolphins Walk of Fame on December 4, 2011.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Chicago Beats Las Vegas in LLWS]]> Sun, 24 Aug 2014 07:56:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/245*120/jrw+win+us+title.jpg

Chicago's Jackie Robinson West All-Stars took the U.S. title in the Little League World Series with a 7-5 win over Las Vegas' Mountain Ridge Saturday.

The team started off strong, matching Nevada's three-run start and taking the lead in the second inning. The team maintained their one-point lead, keeping Nevada from scoring in the second, third, and fourth innings.

Nevada regained their lead following a home run in the fifth inning, but Jackie Robinson West tied the score with a hit from Joshua Houston. Chicago then scored again later in the fifth inning, bringing the score to 7-5, which ultimately brought them to victory.

“Throughout the Little League World Series, Jackie Robinson West has played with enthusiasm, energy and a whole lot of heart," Gov. Pat Quinn said in a statement. "While they have already won the hearts of fans across the country now they are officially the U.S. Champions."

Mayor Rahm Emanuel applauded the players for becoming only the third team ever from Illinois to reach the championship game of the Little League World Series.

"The City of Chicago could not be prouder of them," Emanuel said in a statement. "Their positive attitude and success on the field has rallied people from every neighborhood to support these kids and they continue to demonstrate why they are the pride of Chicago. What a comeback. What a win!"

Supporters, including Emanuel and Quinn, gathered Saturday at an official watch party for the team, held at the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center, located at 1250 W. 119th St.

Chicago's Chance the Rapper also came to cheer on the team.

Despite rain, fans also gathered on State Street, in front of the Chicago Theater, between Randolph and Lake Streets, to watch the game live on a big screen.

Two more watch parties are scheduled for 2 p.m. at both locations for Sunday's game.

The little league team from the South Side faced off against Philadelphia Thursday, winning 6-5 against the team that made national headlines for their star female pitcher Mo'ne Davis.

The team continued its historic run with Saturday's rematch against Las Vegas. The West champions beat JRW in four innings in a mercy-rule game last Sunday behind five homers.

Chicago now moves on to the World Series Championship game against South Korea Sunday. Saturday's losing teams will play in a consolation game Sunday morning.

The success of Jackie Robinson West, comprised of all black players, marks the team's first appearance in the Little League World Series in 31 years.

Their popularity has continued to grow throughout their journey, sparking support from Major League Baseball players and even Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.

After Thursday's game, Emanuel said win or lose, the city will hold a parade for the team.

"No matter what happens these kids are champs," Emanuel said. "We will have a parade respectful of them because they are winners whatever the score is."

]]>
<![CDATA[Boy With 1 Arm Is Golf Prodigy]]> Sat, 23 Aug 2014 14:48:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/one+arm+3+year+old+tommy+morrisey.jpg

Summertime for 3-year-old golf prodigy Tommy Morrissey means days spent hitting 100-yard drives over lakes at an Atlantic County country club. He steps up to the tee, lines up his driver, hesitates for just a moment, and cracks the golf ball over the water…all with one arm.

Tommy was born missing his right hand and part of his right arm below the elbow.

As he grew up in his hometown of Juniper, Fla., Tommy would watch golf on television with his father Joe and mother Marcia Lee. When he was about 18 months old, Tommy’s parents noticed that he was very interested in the sport, standing in front of the television and mimicking the golfer’s swings.

They gave him a set of plastic golf clubs, brought him out on the range, and saw he was a natural from his first perfect contact.

“His true ability is to look and learn,” Joe said. “I have given him very little instruction.”

When he was a little over 2-years-old, Tommy began using an iPad to look up golf tutorial videos on his own.

“I walked in, I asked what he’s doing, and he said, ‘Daddy, I’m taking a golf lesson’,” Joe said.

At night, teddy bears would not accompany Tommy to bed. Instead, he was tucked in with an array of at least 7 clubs.

“One time he refused to go to bed, and [I] finally got him to go to sleep and he insisted on this club or that club,” Joe said. “I put him down, and my wife and I heard him yelling, ‘Mommy, Daddy, you forgot my putter!’”

Tommy has since switched to real clubs, having torn apart multiple sets of his old plastic ones. The weight of the clubs is a challenge for him, but Jeff LeFevre, Golf Director for the Linwood Country Club where Tommy and his father play during their summers at the Jersey Shore, says that difficulty does not hold the prodigy back.

“It’s such a difficult game with two hands, two arms,” LeFevre said. “And here we are, a 3-year-old with one arm with absolutely great rhythym, great set-up…truly, truly a golf prodigy.”

Tommy doesn't see himself as different than other children his age. He simply calls his shorter arm “Nemo” after the fish with one small fin in Finding Nemo.

In addition to his love of golf, Tommy plays many other sports, punting a football or hitting a baseball out of the park.

Joe and his wife say that while having one arm has been a challenge for Tommy, in the end it is also a gift.

“He has been able to bring grown men to tears on the driving range. . .In his short life, he has been able to inspire many, make people second guess their own capabilities,” Joe said. “…He is doing it with probably one of the most powerful tools, and that is the innocence of a child.”

In the end, Tommy is just a kid wanting to have fun playing the sport that he loves.

“He does like to hit the ball in the water, but that’s ‘cause he’s 3,” Joe said. “He doesn’t understand that’s bad yet.”

]]>
<![CDATA[Levi's Stadium to Host First Wedding]]> Sat, 23 Aug 2014 08:57:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/levis_stadium_wedding_couple.jpg We've seen soccer, football, and even a concert at Levi's Stadium. Plenty of firsts--but how about a marriage? It's about to happen. Here’s NBC Bay Area's Ian Cull with the first couple.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Schaub Again Shaky in Raiders' Loss]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 21:29:10 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/170*120/Schauberr.jpg

In his third preseason game for the Raiders Friday night, Matt Schaub looked much like he did in Games 1 and 2.

And that’s not good.

Schaub completed 13-of-27 passes for 110 yards – just over 4 yards per attempt – in Oakland’s 31-21 loss to the Packers in Green Bay.

Schaub still looked fragile in the pocket, didn’t challenge the Packers defense downfield and showed a less-than-rifle arm.

At one point he threw a pass into the end zone intended for a well-covered Denarius Moore that could easily have been intercepted, prompting Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle to tweet: “Decision-making sometimes fails him more than his less-than-powerful arm.”

Even luck was against Schaub Friday night. He appeared to connect with James Jones for a touchdown, but it eventually was overruled. And Marcel Reece also dropped a pass that could have gone for a TD.

As Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group noted on Twitter during the game, “Schaub should be looking more comfortable … he’s not.”

So, through three games, Schaub – anointed the opening-game starter – has had three shaky appearances. Rookie Derek Carr, the No. 2, was held out because of a concussion and rib injury last week. And No. 3 Matt McGloin again looked very good, completing 10-of-17 for 162 yards and two TDs – but against the Packers’ second- and third-teamers at the end of the game.

So, while the Raiders roster appears to be much better than it was at this point last year, the quarterback position remains a giant question mark.

By now, Schaub is looking like Matt Flynn II, the anointed starter of 2013 who flamed out. Once Carr is cleared to play, it seems only a matter of time before the former Fresno State standout is starting.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[49ers Install New, Deeper Turf at Levi's Stadium]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 17:33:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/08222014-levi-turf-roll-out.jpg

Grounds crews for the San Francisco 49ers laid down a new, thicker field Friday at the $1.2 billion Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara after the team halted its practice there Wednesday.

The grass turf that had been installed in April was removed and prepared for new rolls of sod on Thursday. The new field was being installed about 48 hours prior to Sunday's preseason game against the San Diego Chargers.

On Wednesday, an undisclosed problem occurred as players were practicing on the Bandera Bermuda grass field inside Levi's and coaches decided to have players move to the team's practice field next to the stadium, the team said. The new sod put in place Friday is deeper with more soil, providing a thicker base that takes root better than the previous field and can be ready for football within a day or two, officials said.

A source with the City of Santa Clara told NBC Bay Area the issue was not with the grass but with the sand surface underneath. Team officials said they know why the turf didn’t take properly, but they declined to disclose that information.

The rolls of sod were placed on the ground by a machine that compresses the turf so there are no gaps between them and then a roller machine is driven over the field to make the new grass firm on the ground, the team reported. It’s not yet clear whether this is a permanent or temporary fix. Team officials said they would re-evaluate after Sunday’s game. Niners coach Jim Harbaugh expressed optimism at Friday morning's press conference: "The field is going in. It'll be ready for Sunday."

COO Al Guido told CSN Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco ‏the 49ers have no contingency plan in case the field isn’t ready for Sunday, but “it’ll be ready,” he said.

The replacement of fields is common in the NFL and the 49ers expected to do it at some point this year, although not necessarily this early, according to the 49ers. According to the 49ers, on Sunday and Monday, the Philadelphia Eagles removed its turf at Lincoln Financial Field following two earlier practice sessions by the Eagles and three outdoor concerts on the field last week.

The Eagles were able to replace the field by Monday night and the team played a nationally televised game on Thursday night on it without any difficulties, 49ers officials said.

The NFL will likely wait until the last minute to decide whether the field is safe for Sunday's preseason game. If the league does decide to cancel the game, it would not be the first time field problems stopped play. Back in August 2001, a game between the Ravens and Eagles was called off due to an "unplayable field." In August 1995, a Chargers-Oilers game was canceled because the field at the Astrodome was deemed “unsafe."

Scott Budman and Bay City News contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area Meteorologist Takes on Ice Bucket Challenge]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 14:15:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/coco-water.jpg

NBC Bay Area meterologist Christina Loren may have started a trend: substitute ice water for coconut water during your Ice Bucket Challenge.

Loren and NBC Bay Area reporter Robert Handa both accepted a request from the San Jose Giants Thursday to take on the challenge. While Handa went with the traditional ice water, Loren opted for coconut water. The crowd cheered her on, and later Loren joked that she had compressed the video footage so "you couldn't spot the mascara running down her face."

"Christina did the responsible thing as a metereologist dealing with the drought, " NBC Bay Area anchor Laura Garcia Cannon commented on air Friday morning. "Maybe she should have used cucumber water, because she was as cool as a cucumber out there."

The Ice Bucket Challenge has so far raised nearly $42 million to help raise awareness about ALS, and some say inspired non-profits to re-think how they should connect with potantial donors. But it has also garnered its share of critics who consider the challenge wasteful, especially in the current drought conditions.

Still, celebrities, media personalities and even the average person continues to take on the challenge. The California Water Board says the challenge is not violating any regulations, even in a drought.

NBC Bay Area reporter Scott Budman accepted a challenge from 8x8 CEO Vik Verma Friday. Last week, NBC Bay Area sports anchor Geraud Moncure took on a challenge from Yahoo Sports Talk host Jim Kozimor's.

"Doesn't look fun, it's very cold – but it's for a good case," Moncure said while getting dunked in icy cold water on TV.

Any guesses who's going to be next?

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

]]>
<![CDATA[49ers Among NFL's Most-Valuable Teams]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 14:30:30 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/levisgrand.jpg

When it comes to money, the Bay Area's NFL rivalry is one-sided. The San Francisco 49ers are worth far more than the Oakland Raiders, according to the Forbes annual list of NFL franchises' values.

And that's despite the Raiders making more money than their red-and-gold counterparts.

The Niners kicked off their new era as full-time Santa Clara residents this year and have a market value -- theoretical, of course, as Jed York doesn't appear to be shopping the team around to Arab oil sheiks anytime soon -- of $1.6 billion, Forbes reported.

It's a few steps down from teams like the Dallas Cowboys, which Forbes pegs as worth almost double that, but the 49ers' value is still good for ninth place in the league.

The Raiders, on the other hand, are worth $970 million, which puts them in 28th place. Which, to Raider-haters, sounds just about right (sorry, Black Hole).

This is despite the Raiders making more profit that the Niners: Forbes says that the Niners pulled in $25 million in operating revenue last year compared to $43 million for Mark Davis's franchise. Just profit, baby.

The two teams play each other in December in Oakland. 



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Osgood Facing Numbers Game with 49ers]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 09:46:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/170*120/kassimpic.jpg

Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin are in, of course. That’s two.

So are veteran Stevie Johnson and draft pick Bruce Ellington.  That would be four.

Then there are second-year man Quinton Patton and veteran free agent Brandon Lloyd. That would make six.

And six wide receivers is pretty much the limit for an NFL team to carry.

So as the 49ers prepare for their third exhibition game Sunday against the Chargers en route to the regular-season opener Sept. 7 in Dallas, where does that leave Kassim Osgood?

Right now, it would seem that Osgood – one of the best special teams players in the NFL – is in danger of not making the 49ers' 53-man roster.

Osgood, who had an outstanding season for San Francisco in 2013, re-signed with the Niners in March for one year.

His addition made a big difference on special teams last season. He’s terrific on covering punts and kickoffs. In 2013, the former Pro Bowl special teamer had 12 special teams tackles, recovered a muffed punt for a touchdown and blocked a punt.

But Osgood’s listed position is wide receiver – though he just had one catch last season for 17 yards.

Can the 49ers afford to keep him on the 53-man roster? Or, can they afford not to, knowing what an impact he made last season?

In his most recent projection of the team’s opening-day roster, Bill Williamson of ESPN.com listed Boldin, Crabtree, Johnnson, Lloyd, Ellington and Patton as making the team – but not Osgood. Also on the outs would be receivers David Reed, Devon Wylie, L’Damian Washington and Lance Lewis.

“The 49ers are so much deeper here this season than last,” wrote Williamson. “That means they will likely have to keep six receivers. Lloyd might look good and Patton has too much potential to give up on. That means it could be tough for Kassim Osgood to make it, even though he is a special teams cog.”

Still, with two games to go this month, the 49ers aren’t making any decisions yet. And head coach Jim Harbaugh is content to let things play out.

Recently, Harbaugh talked about the consistent, strong work put in on special teams by players such as Osgood and cornerback Darryl Morris.

“They’re all fighting for those jobs, they like their jobs,” he said. “And then vice versa, young football player, rookie football player, somebody trying to make the team – David Reed – they’ve got to go take another man’s job away from them, and that’s powerful motivation. And then you have the player that really likes that job, and these guys do, they really like their jobs and they want to keep them. …. It’s iron sharpening iron, it’s constantly pushing each other higher.”

That might be good for the 49ers, but not so good for Osgood.

Last season, Osgood didn’t make the 53-man cut, but was re-signed soon after. But last year’s wide receiver corps was significantly weaker and thinner.

With two weeks left in the preseason, it appears Osgood’s path to opening day is significantly rockier.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Carrie, Moore Giving Raiders Some Nice Returns]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 08:23:09 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/CarrievLions.jpg

In his final college season at Ohio, cornerback T.J. Carrie was a dangerous player with the ball in his hands.

He returned two interceptions for touchdowns, averaged 12.7 yards per punt return and was selected the punt returner on the All-Mid-American Conference first team.

When the Raiders selected Carrie in the seventh round of the draft in May, they did it with the knowledge that Carrie might give them a standout special teams performer.

So far, so good.

With two exhibition games remaining this summer – including Friday night’s against the Packers in Green Bay – Carrie is still battling veteran wide receiver Denarius Moore for the job as No. 1 punt returner.

Both have played well, and both are coming off strong games against the Lions last week. Moore had the big play, a 50-yard return in which he picked up a bouncing ball, weaved his way behind some strong blocking and darted down the sideline. He also had a 13-yard return.

Moore also impressed with some great moves on an 11-yard return, flashing the shiftiness he’s shown as a receiver.

“I think both him (Carrie) and Denarius Moore have done a nice job,” head coach Dennis Allen told reporters after Wednesday’s practice. “Both of them had effective returns in the game the other night. We’re going to continue to look at both of those guys as poential punt return options, and aagin we’ve got a couple more games to look at that, but I feel more comfortable now with where we’re at from a punt-return standpoint than I did coming into training camp, that’s for sure.”

Oakland ranked near the bottom of the NFL in 2013 with an average of just 8.2 yards per punt return.

Carrie has shown he has breakaway ability as a returner, which could go a long way in 2014 to helping the Raiders win field-position battles. He’s also a solid player on other special teams units and has shown some potential in pass coverage.

The job is still up for grabs, but it appears either Carrie or Moore will make the Raiders much more effective returning punts in 2014 than in recent seasons.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>