<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Sports News, Sports Teams, and Scores for the Sharks, 49ers, Raiders,Giants, Bears and More]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Sun, 24 May 2015 02:30:43 -0700 Sun, 24 May 2015 02:30:43 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Is Chargers Move to LA Legal?]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 18:39:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/172*120/GettyImages-457517872.jpg

For quite some time now, the Chargers have been laying the ground work for a move to Los Angeles if the team and the San Diego government cannot come to an agreement on a new stadium in either Mission Valley or Downtown.

Carson is calling. Inglewood could be, too. But one major issue could prove to be an obstacle too large to overcome: Moving a football team from San Diego to L.A. might not be legal.

Chargers fans are dedicated to keeping their beloved team in America’s Finest City, even if it means they have to sue the NFL to do it, and they have found someone willing to help them if necessary.

“The Chargers and the NFL are basically saying give us what we want or we’re going to move the team,” says former City Attorney Mike Aguirre. “That really is a violation of the anti-trust laws.”

San Diegans who have followed the last decade and a half of stadium wrangling may have memories of Aguirre being a thorn in the Chargers’ side. He says he’s always been pro-Chargers, that he’s learned from those days and sees a constructive way of moving forward.

“It’s easy to come across as being anti-Chargers,” says Aguirre. “That’s where you have to be super, super cautious to say this is not anti-Chargers, this is pro-keeping the Chargers here in San Diego.”

The meat of the idea comes from a few different places. One is the Sherman Act. Another is the anti-trust lawsuit a group of NFL players brought against the NFL during the 2011 Lockout. Another is Boltman.

“What we would like to do here is get support and feedback from the fans that this is the best option if the Chargers turn their backs on us,” said Dan Jauregui, better known to many by his alter-ego Boltman. “The beauty of all this is it is not coming from the Mayor’s office or the city or CSAG. It’s coming from the Charger fans. No political issues from the city.”

In a written statement entitled, Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures, Jauregui outlines the idea of bringing a lawsuit against the NFL:

“We strongly feel that if the Chargers continue to threaten our city and hold fans hostage after a fair and reasonable finance plan has been submitted, we will have no choice but to prepare to make our case in court under the laws that prohibit unfair competition. I have also prepared a “demand” letter to the city of San Diego, requesting they file an injunction against the NFL to protect the rights of San Diego fans by asserting the city’s rights under anti-trust law. This demand letter has not yet been served to the city. We have arrived at this point very reluctantly, but we believe as Americans we have the duty to assert our rights under the laws that require our markets to be kept open and free. The NFL cannot be allowed to use unlawful monopoly power to deprive us of what the fans have worked and sacrificed to make possible: a very successfully NFL team.”

It is extremely difficult to win an anti-trust case in America. If any current business knows that, it’s the National Football League.

“What’s great about this issue is the NFL has already lost,” says Aguirre. “So if the city were the raise it as a serious issue and really get behind it the hope would be the NFL would see the city is serious and force everybody in to a position of, Let’s try to work this thing out.”

The case most germane to the idea came about in 2011. A group of NFL players led by Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and a few others filed a class action suit against the NFL and its 32 member teams on anti-trust grounds. Their complaint read, in part:

“The NFL Defendants comprise the only major professional football league in the United States. Together, they monopolize and/or restrain trade in, and/or have combined and conspired to monopolize and/or restrain trade in the United State market for the services of major league professional football players.”

That phrase, restrain trade in, is one of the keys here. Section 1 of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act says, in part:

“Every contract … or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal …”

That’s the verbiage that could cause serious problems for the Chargers and the NFL if an attempt is made to move the team to the Los Angeles market. The NFL lost its case in 2011 (a decision “overwhelmingly” upheld by the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals) and would face a similar argument in San Diego.

According to Aguirre, restraining trade is legal if it’s done under reasonable circumstances such as a financial hardship.

“Normally what you would say is, look we can’t make money there. We can’t make a go of it. We’re not making as much as we need to keep the team going,” says Aguirre. “None of that argument can be made. (The Chargers are) making plenty of money. They’re making more money than they’ve ever made.”

According to numbers from the statistical website www.statista.com the Chargers have seen an increase in revenue every season for the last 15 years. In fact, the team’s revenues reportedly doubled from $131 million in 2001 to $262 million in 2013.

NFL Executive Vice President Eric Grubman has even said, “We have a healthy business. We are not losing money. We have never said that.” As a fun side note, Grubman’s Twitter handle is @EricNFLMoney.

Another reason for relocating the Chargers, says Aguirre, is the possibility of giving the San Diego market another NFL franchise.

“There’s no way for them to leave under the circumstances of the NFL saying we won’t give you another team. If the NFL were to say well we’ll give you another them, that’s a different story. They’re basically exploiting the fact that the NFL controls the number of teams. If you restrain trade it’s OK if it’s reasonable. If a monopoly restrains trade, then that’s a much more difficult case to make.”

Once again, Grubman’s response to whether or not San Diego would get an expansion team was less than favorable. He told the San Diego Union-Tribune it’s a “low probability.”

So if the groundwork for the lawsuit is there, another big question is money. Attorney fees are not cheap so who pays for it? Although it could be a taxpayer lawsuit, the taxpayers could avoid footing the bill.

“The taxpayers would not pay the legal fees unless the city council decided to invest in it and do it themselves,” says Aguirre. “Then it would be a combination of the city attorney and outside counsel. It could be structured in a lot of different ways.”

Taking this approach could get messy, and would likely be used only in a worst-case scenario to help level the playing field against the financial superiority in Los Angeles.

“It would not be requiring the city of San Diego to try to match the economic abilities of a much larger market like Los Angeles,” says Aguirre. “That’s the idea, to use all the arsenal if necessary.”

Aguirre would likely not be involved in the actual litigation. He suggests the same attorneys who helped the NFL players in 2011 take the lead on a lawsuit.

So what would be the underlying motivation of such a drastic course of action? To force the Chargers and local government to work together and truly pull out all the stops to make a stadium deal in San Diego.

“We are only trying,” says Jauregui, ”to help keep the Chargers in San Diego.”

Boltman is simply to make sure the Chargers don’t bolt, man.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Curry Sets Record With Most 3-Pointers in Single Postseason]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 19:55:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/175*120/GettyImages-474557044.jpg

Stephen Curry's terrific playoff run continues, as the Warriors' star point guard broke the NBA record for most 3-pointers in a single postseason.

Curry surpassed former Pacers five-time NBA All-Star Reggie Miller by draining his 59th bucket from beyond the arc in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals against the Houston Rockets.

Curry tied Ray Allen for the second-most in a single postseason when he hit five 3-pointers in Thursday's Game 2 win over Houston.

The 2014-15 MVP asserted himself into the No. 1 spot on Saturday, besting Miller's record, and in nine less games.

Reggie Miller is second all-time in 3-point field goals, hitting 2,560 over his illustrious career, only behind Ray Allen (2,973).

>> Read more at CSNBayArea.com



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Clock Ticks But Fortune Smiles for Federer at French Open]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 17:53:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP896641031794.jpg

There are two distinct sounds when Roger Federer graces the courts of Roland Garros. One is the pop of backhands and forehands kicking up puffs of red clay. The other, getting ever louder, is the scratchy tick of life's clock.

At age 33, with 34 bearing down in August, time is increasingly the enemy to Federer's quest to add to his already record haul of Grand Slam titles.

The count climbed to 17 with his seventh win at Wimbledon in 2012, when he was still a young 30-year-old. Then, abruptly, it stopped. In Federer's golden spell from 2004-2009, there were 24 Grand Slam finals. Federer played in 20 of them, winning 14. But since his 2012 Wimbledon win against Andy Murray, just one of the 10 subsequent Grand Slam finals featured the Swiss: an epic five-setter lost to Novak Djokovic last year.

Of all places for Federer to prove that he still has another major title in him, Roland Garros would seem the least favorable. The slow red dust blunts nuances of his game so effective on other, faster surfaces. Having one of the sharpest tactical minds and best right hands tennis has ever seen were never quite enough for Federer at the only major he's not won multiple times. He needed a sprinkling of luck, too. Federer's only victory at the French Open, in five finals, came in 2009 against Robin Soderling, who did him the favor of taking "King of Clay" Rafael Nadal out of the picture in the fourth round.

Good fortune, in the shape of Maria Sharapova's fingers, is smiling on Federer again this year. The defending women's champion, called upon to pluck out the seeded men's names in Friday's draw, delivered a road map that could hardly be more favorable for Federer.

Sixth-seeded Nadal and third-seeded Murray were both drawn in the half of top-seeded Djokovic. That means second-seeded Federer would only have to play, at most, one of those infernal three who beat him at the semifinal or final stage of majors in 2013 and 2014. And such a blockbuster match could only happen in the June 7 final, if Federer gets that far.

"There is a chance to go very deep," he acknowledged. "How deep remains to be seen depending on the level of play."

Federer opens his 62nd consecutive Grand Slam campaign, extending his record, on Sunday against a qualifier. In the women's championship, last year's losing finalist Simona Halep, seeded three, opens against Evgeniya Rodina, ranked 91. The 2008 champion Ana Ivanovic plays Yaroslava Shvedova, quarterfinalist in 2010 and 2012.

Federer has a relatively easy-looking path until the fourth round, where he could meet 13th-seeded Gael Monfils before a potential quarterfinal against his Davis Cup Swiss teammate Stan Wawrinka, seeded eight. In the semifinals, a possible meeting with either Japan's Kei Nishikori, seeded five, or fourth-seeded Tomas Berdych looms.

But all that is just on paper. The end, in the Wimbledon second round in 2013, of Federer's astounding streak of 36 Grand Slam quarterfinals or better punctured the idea that he's assured a place in the second week of a major tournament. Roland Garros last year ended in the fourth round for Federer, with a five-set loss to Ernests Gulbis. The Latvian, ranked 25, is in Federer's section of the draw again this year.

"There (are) a lot of good players out there that want to win the tournament that can win the tournament. Others that are dangerous on the day," Federer noted. "Whether it's in semis or in the finals, if you lose, you lose at one point or another, and that's not funny. So my objective is to not lose."

Nadal's seeding dropped lower than ever at Roland Garros this time, leaving him vulnerable in the draw, after the nine-time champion endured his worst season on clay in 10 years. The 14-time Grand Slam champion enters the tournament with five losses in 2015 on the surface where he used to be superhuman, accumulating a 66-1 record at Roland Garros.

Federer has been playing excellent tennis and has a 25-5 record in 2015. On clay, he lost a final in Rome to Djokovic after claiming an 85th career title in Istanbul. His previously aching back is now old history.

"I feel like I have had a great last 12 months," Federer said. "I've just got to make sure I adjust my game according to the playing conditions here, and then we will see how far it takes me."

After his Rome final, Federer returned to Switzerland for a family break before touching base with coach Stefan Edberg, the former player who has been instrumental in adjustments to Federer's game following a below-par 2013.

"2013 cost me a lot of energy," Federer said. "We now have a good momentum; 2014 and 2015 have been good. I feel much better. But that doesn't mean anything when it comes to results."

Time will be the judge of that.

]]>
<![CDATA[Golden State Warriors 2015 Fan Photos]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 11:29:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/CDFwXIdUIAAr8zZ.jpg+large.jpg Here are some fan photos, as they root on the 2015 Golden State Warriors.

Photo Credit: Victoria Hernandez]]>
<![CDATA[Tomsula Wants 49ers to Operate at a Faster Pace]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 09:00:34 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/tomtomsula.jpg

Fans of the 49ers won’t know until this fall if their revamped team will be a winner.

But win or lose, it appears the Niners offense will be moving at a faster clip.

In practices this week during the first session of organized team activities (OTAs), the 49ers offensive unit is being pushed by new head coach Jim Tomsula to be quicker between plays.

Several reporters noted that Tomsula has been yelling “Tempo! Tempo!” during drills, to get his offensive players moving as quickly as possible from the huddle to the line of scrimmage and the snap.

“All I was hearing from him was ‘Tempo! Get on the ball! Let’s go!,” wide receiver Quinton Patton told Tyler Emerick of the team’s website. Added rookie running back Mike Davis: “Man, everything is fast, fast, fast.”

Matt Barrows, who covers the 49ers for the Sacramento Bee, noted that the 49ers this week have been getting to the line of scrimmage after huddling with 22 to 23 seconds remaining on the play clock.

That could be a big improvement for the 49ers offense, which over the past two seasons often has operated at a snail’s pace. They’ve had 20 delay-of-game penalties over 2013 and 2014, Barrows noted.

Offensive tackle Joe Staley says clock management has been “pretty miserable,” and that Tomsula is making speed of play an issue this offseason so it becomes second nature during the season.

Tomsula says it’s important for the team to get used to operating at a faster pace because players “have to think in a fast-paced, stressful environment.”

Thursday’s practice was scheduled for two hours but was completed in 90 minutes, Emerick reported.



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders' Latavius Murray Eager to Build on Success]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 08:18:36 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/191*120/mhurrey.jpg

The Raiders have added running backs Trent Richardson and Roy Helu Jr. to their backfield this offseason, but neither is expected to be Oakland’s No. 1 ballcarrier in 2015.

That role is expected to be filled by Latavius Murray.

And Murray is excited by the prospect.

After two seasons in the NFL, Murray is preparing himself for a big season. He’s eager to build off the final few games of 2014 when he finally got the chance to carry the ball and showed the Raiders he can be an impact running back.

“It’s a great feeling, but every day I have to go in there knowing I need to get better every day,” Murray said this week during his team’s kickoff to the first session of organized team activities (OTAs). “I need to play like it’s a new year. Last season is just last season, and the year before that it was the year before that. Every season is a new year for me and it’s a year I have to go out and prove something.”

Last season, Murray played in 15 games. But many of those were token appearances. It wasn’t until November that he finally got a chance to start a game. Once he got his opportunity, he made the most of it. He picked up 112 yards vs. the Chiefs and had 76- and 86-yard games against the 49ers and Bills. Over his final five games in 2014, Murray carried 72 times for 370 yards, two touchdowns and a 5.1-yard average per carry.

The Raiders see Murray, 24, as a bruising (6-foot-3, 230-pound) back who’s able to gain yards after contact and also pick up big yards with his speed (he has a 4.38 time in the 40-yard dash).

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie drafted Murray in the sixth round of the 2013 draft after Murray had a standout career at Central Florida. In college, he had 2,424 yards rushing, scored 37 touchdowns and also caught 50 passes.

Now Murray has a taste of success, and he wants more.

“Getting a chance to start three games, it’s something that I definitely want to continue to build off of,” he told the team’s website. “I had that mentality in the offseason just to prepare to be the No. 1 guy and play that way and train that way.”

The Raiders brought in Richardson, once a top prospect out of Alabama, to see if he can recapture the form he once had as an All-American for the Crimson Tide. But right now, the starting running back job is Murray’s to lose.

New head coach Jack Del Rio likes what he’s seen of Murray, but isn’t ready to just hand him the job. He wants a competition.

“I think he has shown enough of the traits to make him a candidate to be that guy,” Del Rio told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I don’t know if he’s earned that yet. He’s shown that there is potential there. He’s done enough things to pique your interest. He’s got size and speed. He can go.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Edge Out Rockets, Take Game 2]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 23:29:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*132/474314210_594_screen.jpg

OAKLAND -– With the game in the balance, a Warriors team that punished itself with turnovers forced one from the Houston Rockets to secure a hard-fought 99-98 win Thursday night at Oracle Arena.

After Harrison Barnes missed an acrobatic layup with 7.9 seconds the play, the ball found the hands Rockets star James Harden who, under pressure from Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry, lost his dribble as the horn sounded.

With the victory the Warriors took a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals as the best-of-seven series moves to Texas for the holiday weekend.

The Warriors avoided their customary slow start but blew a 17-point second quarter lead before holding off the plucky Rockets in the fourth quarter.

Curry led the way, scoring a team-high 33 points. Andrew Bogut tossed in 14, with Thompson putting in 13 and Draymond Green adding 12.

Harden was otherwise spectacular, scoring a game-high 38 points. Dwight Howard, whose availability was in doubt, finished with 19 points and a game-high 17 rebounds.

Game 3 is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday. 

Visit NBC Bay Area's Golden State Warriors page for full team coverage.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors' Barbosa Dishes Out Directions in Waze App]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 17:53:13 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0521-2015-LeandroBarbosa.jpg

Waze may be the next go-to app for members of the Dub Nation heading to Warriors Ground.

The Bay Area-based app, which provides mobile users traffic and navigation information, now features Golden State Warriors Guard Leandro Barbosa dishing out directions.

Barbosa, also known as the Brazilian Blur, recently hit the studio and recorded directions for Waze in both English and Portuguese.

"We also really want to encourage people to use the voice activation and turn-by-turn navigation," said Quinn Daly of Waze.

Visit waze.com for more information.



Photo Credit: Waze
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Stephy Curry, Riley Boast Matching Sneakers]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 13:04:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/NK-Riley-1.jpg

After his daughter’s now-famous appearance Tuesday night where 2-year-old Riley told her daddy, Warriors guard Stephen Curry, to be quiet after his team beat the Houston Rockets, it would seem like nothing coud beat the cuteness factor of that moment.

But wait.

A photographer who works for NiceKicks.com took some awesome photographs of Daddy-n-Me Under Armour sneakers, one pair to fit Curry’s 12.5-feet, and one pair to fit her toddler-sized toes.

In an email from France on Thursday, Nick DePaula said he photographed the shoes in Oakland in January a week before the “Curry One” brand launched in stores.

Under Armor offers several of these Curry-themed sneakers, which are called “Dubnation,” “MVP,” and “Father to Son,” as a few examples. And DePaula's company is devoted to "provide shoe enthusiasts authoritative, accurate and credible" information about sneakers.

Under Armour, which designed the shoes in Warriors blue and gold, made Riley a tiny pair. According to DePaula, it's the only preschool pair of its kind.

The Golden States Warriors take on the Rockets again on Thursday in Game 2 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland.
 



Photo Credit: Nick DePaula | NiceKicks.com
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<![CDATA[Niners' Offseason Moves Still Getting Bad Reviews]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 10:58:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/theeesmyth.jpg

The retirement of defensive lineman Justin Smith this week wasn’t a shock. Those who follow the 49ers knew Smith was near the end of the line.

Still, it’s just one more high-profile departure on a team that has had one of the most tumultuous offseasons in its long history.

As the team gathers this week to go through organized team activities (OTAs), new faces are everywhere, from the recent rookie class and the crop of veteran free agents such as wide receiver Torrey Smith, running back Reggie Bush, defensive lineman Darnell Dockett and linebacker Philip Wheeler.

But it’s not the new faces NFL observers are focusing on. It’s the faces who are gone, from head coach Jim Harbaugh to running back Frank Gore to cornerbacks Perrish Cox and Chris Culliver and inside linebackers Patrick Willis and Chris Borland.

Now, with the draft and the free-agent season now complete (for the most part), analysts are weighing and grading teams’ offseason moves – and the 49ers aren’t coming off very well.

Recently, an analyst called this offseason “disastrous.” And former 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia questioned the ownership and front-office decisions to force out Harbaugh and dismantle a coaching staff that had tremendous success.

Now Mike Sando of ESPN.com has given the 49ers the worst offseason grade in the entire NFL, a D-plus.

Sando, in consultation with ESPN analysts Bill Polian, Louis Riddick, Matt Williamson and Field Yates, pointed to the Tomsula-for-Harbaugh trade as a significant cause for concern, but cited the loss of “a long list of key players from its Super Bowl season” as the primary problem.

It’s certainly hard to argue that losing Gore, receiver Michael Crabtree, guard Mike Iupati, Cox and Culliver, Borland and Willis, Smith and defensive end Ray McDonald and linebacker Dan Skuta is good. Certainly the unexpected losses of Borland and Willis – players in their prime – were devastating.

Plus, as Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com noted, some draft analysts also knocked the 49ers for their draft strategy of ignoring immediate needs to select the best talent available and for the future – something that may not help them in 2015. They didn't select an inside linebacker, for instance.

But as some 49ers fans pointed out in response to Sando’s analysis, the 49ers will also get running back Kendall Hunter and linebacker NaVorro Bowman back from injury, have linebacker Aldon Smith and Anthony Davis back for full seasons, have Dockett to replace Justin Smith and Torrey Smith to replace Crabtree. Plus cornerback Tramaine Brock is healthy again and the offense may get a boost from a new offensive coordinator (Geep Chryst) and quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has spent much of the offseason sharpening his mechanics.

Yet things certainly look bleak now. As Gutierrez said of Sando’s assessment, “It’s hard to argue with him. At least, in mid-May.”

Fortunately for the 49ers, games aren’t played until September. By then, 49ers fans will have a much better idea how this new-look team will perform.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Carr's Agent Says Finger Injury Isn't Serious]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 10:58:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/189*120/Kahrfinger.jpg

This week, Raiders fans cringed when they learned that quarterback Derek Carr had suffered a finger injury.

The second-year pro injured the ring finger on his throwing hand and was unable to take part in the start of the team’s organized team activities (OTAs) this week, leaving the bulk of quarterback duties to Christian Ponder and Matt McGloin.

The Raiders released no details of the injury, but Chris Mortensen of ESPN reported that he was told by a source that Carr’s injury – there reportedly was numbness in the finger -- might require surgery.

But now Carr’s agent, Tim Younger, has told the San Francisco Chronicle that the injury isn’t major and it won’t require surgery. He said the injury is a “nonstory.”

“It’s a very minor situation,” Younger told the Chronicle’s Lev Facher. “I think he’s probably going to be throwing before the end of” OTAs.

Though this is valuable time for Carr to be working with his new teammates – especially some new receivers added through free agency and the draft – and getting familiar with offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave’s new system, head coach Jack Del Rio told reporters the lost time shouldn’t be a long-term problem.

“Time missed in May is better than time missing in September,” he said. “You’re often more capable of taking whatever time is necessary to make sure you put things behind you.”

Though Carr isn’t participating in on-field drills, Carr is with the team, observing practice.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Goodell: Oakland Stadium Proposal "Necessary to Have Soon"]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 19:08:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/462526376.jpg

SAN FRANCISCO – NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he hasn’t heard anything new on the status of stadium efforts to keep the Raiders in Oakland.

“Oakland I have not heard anything from,” Goodell said Wednesday at the conclusion of the NFL spring owners meetings. “I do not have any an update on that information on that. Is it a source of frustration that I haven’t heard anything from Oakland? No, I wouldn’t say that. I would certainly say it’s a source of information.”

Translation: no news isn’t good news.

It offers stark contrast to stadium efforts in San Diego, which produced a task force stadium proposal to keep the Chargers at home. It offers stark contract to stadium efforts in St. Louis, which have generated significant momentum in recent months.

The possibility of the Raiders sharing Levi’s Stadium with the 49ers was broached again this week at the Ritz Carlton hotel, and owner Mark Davis shot it down.

“Mark wants a long-term stadium solution,” Goodell said. “That’s what he’s always been focused on. He would like to have it be here in the Bay Area, in Oakland.”

The Raiders and Chargers have an alternate plan going on in Carson, which has been entitled by the city and seems to be on a fast track. Should home market efforts fail, Carson could be an option for both teams.

A separate proposal has been issued by the St. Louis Rams in Inglewood, and the NFL said that facility would be immediately housed for two teams. That is a possible landing spot for the Raiders, though it’s hard to imagine the Rams, Raiders and Chargers all playing in Southern California.

Oakland efforts seem behind other options, and the NFL has put serious heat on the East Bay to pick up the pace.

“We’ don’t have a deadline on time, but this is not a new issue,” Goodell said. “This is something where the Raiders have been working on a stadium for years. This is something that has been very publicly debated, so we need to have a proposal from the people here about how we’re going to keep the Raiders in Oakland and do it on a basis that not only helps the community but also is a good fit for the team in the long term.

"That proposal is necessary to have soon."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Top French Open Stars, and 1 Who Missed the List]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 10:28:27 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/thumb-458711872.jpg

NBC’s coverage of the 2015 French Open begins this Sunday, May 24, at 1 p.m. ET. Follow along for live opening-round coverage, and don't miss the the live Women’s Final on June 6 and the live Men’s Final on June 7.

TV SCHEDULE

Sunday, May 24 1 - 3:30 p.m. ET First round (LIVE)
Monday, May 25 12 - 3 p.m. (all) First round (LIVE ET)
Saturday, May 30 12 - 3 p.m. ET Third round (LIVE)
Sunday, May 31 12 - 3 p.m. ET Fourth round (LIVE)
Thursday, June 4 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. (all)  Women's semifinals (LIVE ET)
Friday, June 5 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. (all) Men's semifinals (LIVE ET)
Saturday, June 6 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. ET Women's final (LIVE)
Sunday, June 7 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. ET Men's final (LIVE)



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Curry Fined $5,000 for Flop in Game 1 vs Rockets]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 12:36:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/2015-05-20-warriors-curry-flop.jpg

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry has been fined $5,000 by the NBA for violating the league's anti-flopping rules against the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.

The NBA made the announcement on Wednesday. The league says the flop occurred after Curry's 3-pointer with 3:07 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Warriors' 110-106 victory on Tuesday night.

Curry made the shot and fell to the court after getting bumped by defender Terrence Jones. The 3-pointer gave the Warriors a 106-97 lead.

>> Read more on this story at CSNBayArea.com



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants vs. Dodgers on NBC]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 11:35:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/179*120/469261074_594_screen.jpg

It's Giants vs. Dodgers tonight at 7 p.m. on NBC Bay Area!

Tim Lincecum (3-2, 2.43 ERA) takes the mound for San Francisco against Brett Anderson (2-1, 3.50 ERA) for Los Angeles.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter as we live-tweet the game on @NBCBayArea and @GiantsCove!

Because tonight's game is airing on NBC Bay Area, you can watch regularly scheduled NBC programming on COZI TV (Comcast Ch. 186) or on broadcast channel 11.2.

Here's the Wednesday night primetime schedule:

7:00 p.m. -- San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers on NBC Bay Area

8:00 p.m. -- "Mysteries of Laura" on COZI TV (Comcast 186), over-the-air Channel 11.2 and NBC.com/live

9:00 p.m. -- "Law & Order: SVU" on COZI TV (Comcast 186) and over-the-air Channel 11.2 and NBC.com/live

10:00 p.m. -- "Chicago PD" on NBC Bay Area (following the conclusion of the Giants game). PLEASE NOTE: In the event that the Giants game runs long (past 10:15 p.m.), "Chicago PD" will air Saturday at 9 p.m. on NBC Bay Area.

You can also watch tonight's episodes of "Mysteries of Laura," "Law & Order: SVU" and "Chicago PD" at NBC.com/video/full-episodes tomorrow or on the NBC app.

For full Giants coverage, visit The Cove.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Williams May Be Key to 49ers' Defensive Line]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 10:16:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/ianwmsfittt.jpg

Justin Smith will be gone from the 49ers’ defensive line in 2015, but Smith says the cupboard isn’t bare.

As he spoke with the media this week about his retirement and the state of the Niners, Smith noted there is plenty of talent remaining on the defensive line, specifically singling out Glenn Dorsey and Ian Williams.

Dorsey, Williams, Tank Carradine, Darnell Dockett, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Quinton Dial, Kaleb Ramsey and this year’s No. 1 draft choice, Arik Armstead, will be part of what appears to be a wide-open competition for positions at the two defensive end spots in the 49ers’ 3-4 alignment, and at nose tackle.

Dorsey and Williams have held down the position at nose tackle the past two years, each stepping in for the other after injuries. This season, it’s possible that Williams will be the nose tackle, with Dorsey playing across the line at two or three spots. Dial also has played the position.

In speaking to 95.7 The Game this week (as transcribed by David Fucillo of SB Nation), Smith said: “Dorsey’s really come along, developed since he got here from Kansas City. I think a guy that’s not talked about much because he’s got injuries is Ian Williams. I think he’s one of he best nose guards in the league if his leg’s healthy.”

In 2013, Williams won the starting job at nose tackle after a competition with Dorsey, and appeared on the verge of becoming an impact player.

At that time, inside linebacker Patrick Willis raved about “his natural ability” and strength, the way he could hold his ground, tie up blockers and allow the linebackers to make plays.

But in the second game of the season against the Seahawks, Williams suffered a season-ending ankle injury and Dorsey filled in. In 2014, Williams took over for an injured Dorsey and started eight games before again going on injured reserve in November with a broken leg. In nine games, he was in on 22 tackles, had a sack and batted down a pass.

It’s possible that the 49ers defensive line in 2015 could be fluid, with new defensive coordinator Eric Mangini using players in different ways and in alternating positions depending on circumstances and the opposing personnel. That may be especially true now that defined defensive-end starters Smith and Ray McDonald are gone.

Mangini hinted at that this spring when he talked to Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group about his approach.

“Every player is different,” Mangini said. “You can’t just try to have a cookie-cutter approach. You’ve got to give them thngs that help them specific to their learning style. You have to find the best way to allow them to be successful and put them in position to succeed.”

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders' Hayden Says He's Ready to Go]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 10:07:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/haydenokkk.jpg

Finally, this could be DJ Hayden’s year.

After missing half of his rookie 2013 season because of injury and then wading through more injury problems that set him back at the start of the 2014 season, the cornerback is penciled in as a possible starter in 2015.

On Tuesday, after the first day of organized team activities (OTAs), Hayden indicated he’s completely healthy.

“Exellent,” he told reporters, when asked about his fitness. “Everything is good.”

And that’s good news for an Oakland defense that is counting on young cornerbacks such as Hayden, TJ Carrie, Keith McGill and Neiko Thorpe to take some big steps forward in 2015.

Hayden, the team’s No. 1 pick in the 2013 draft, began to show his potential over the second half of last season when he started eight games. Over that span he had an interception, 10 passes defensed  and was in on 42 tackles.

His performance prompted former head coach Tony Sparano and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver to be enthusiastic about his progress.

In December, Tarver talked about Hayden’s improvement in all areas – including his strength, which had been a problem -- and his continued need to pay attention to his technique.

“When he stays in his technique, he’s been very, very, very good,” Tarver said.

On Tuesday, Hayden referenced the physical setbacks he had in his final season at the University of Houston and first two years in the NFL.

“In the past, some stuff has happened that I can’t control,” he said. “But I’m focused on the future right now. I pray that nothing happens.”

New head coach Jack Del Rio has spoken highly of Hayden, and believes he can be a very good NFL cornerback. In February, Del Rio said Hayden has “special (cornerback) feet.” The key, said Del Rio, will be for Hayden to stay healthy, get in his reps and exhibition snaps, and be able to settle in for a long period.

Now, Hayden says he and the other young cornerbacks are ready to make their mark, and he believes new defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. will have a strong unit in 2015.

“We are going to be a pretty tough defense,” Hayden said. “I like what (Norton) brings to the table, him and all the coaches. I fell like we definitely are getting better each and every week.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Blackhawks Offer Late-to-Work Note After Longest Game in Team History]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 04:46:15 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/blackhawks-ducks-G2-3.jpg

Can you call in "hockey" to work? The Blackhawks say so. 

Following the Blackhawks' triple overtime win in Game 2 against the Anaheim Ducks, a game that is now the longest game in Hawks history, the team shared their latest excuse note for fans who stayed up late to watch the game. 

The note, signed by the Chicago Blakchawks, asks for employers and teachers to excuse fans from their "lateness" or "sleepiness" Wednesday.

"He/she was up too late celebrating the win," the note reads.

But fans won't have much time to recover. The Blackhawks will look to defend home ice when the series resumes at the United Center Thursday night. The puck will drop at 7:00 p.m.



Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn, Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Blackhawks Beat Ducks 3-2 in Triple Overtime]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 00:53:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/474027552.jpg

The Blackhawks tried just about everything to get a puck past Frederik Andersen while Game 2 of the Western Conference finals wound through three overtime periods and deep into the night, eventually becoming the longest game in Chicago's 89-year history.

Andrew Shaw even headed the puck into the net — which was amazing, but illegal.

After nearly 110 consecutive scoreless minutes by Chicago, Marcus Kruger got it done with plain old work in front of the net, ending a landmark game and evening a series that's already the endurance test everyone expected.

Kruger batted home Brent Seabrook's shot 16:12 into the third OT, and the Blackhawks earned a 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 2 on Tuesday night.

"I got lucky," Kruger said. "Happy to see that go in."

Shaw and Marian Hossa scored power-play goals in the opening minutes, but Chicago couldn't score again in the longest game in Honda Center history until Kruger got in front and forced a ricochet past Andersen, who made a career-high 53 saves.

The Blackhawks celebrated with more relief than excitement, realizing they only had about 42 hours until the puck drops for Game 3 in Chicago on Thursday.

"I just hope we don't have any more like that," Shaw said. "I think this helps us, and showed us what can happen if we keep sticking to it and competing. We'll find a way to win."

Corey Crawford made 60 saves as the Blackhawks finally handed the Ducks their second loss of the postseason.

The game was the 17th-longest in NHL history, and the longest since Dallas and San Jose went four overtimes on May 4, 2008.

Shaw attempted to end it during a power play 8:47 into the second overtime by knocking a high-arching rebound of Patrick Kane's shot into the net with his helmet in a stunning soccer-style play, but the goal was illegal. The officials briefly conferred before waving it off — NHL rules prohibit players from deliberately knocking the puck into the net with anything except their sticks.

"It was just a reaction right there," Shaw said. "You do whatever you can to get that puck across the line. But we just kept working and competing, and we got lucky. ... Overtime goals are huge, so I tried to sell it as much as I could. It was just exciting, the reaction at the net. I was just out there using my head, I guess."

Corey Perry tied it late in the second period for the Ducks, who dropped to 9-2 in the postseason with their first home loss in seven games, missing numerous chances to end it. Andrew Cogliano also scored for Anaheim, which was shut out over the final 78:42.

"There were a few posts, a few crossbars," Perry said. "It's a tough one to swallow, but you get right back at it, put it behind you and get ready for the next one."

These Western powers came into the series with ample rest after easily winning their second-round series, but they used up much of that extra energy in a marathon Game 2.

Anaheim hadn't played a game with multiple overtimes since May 3, 2009, while Chicago won two multiple-overtime games in the first round against Nashville. The game was the second-longest in Ducks history, trailing only a five-overtime game at Dallas in 2003.

Two days after Anaheim comfortably won the series opener to improve to 6-0 at Honda Center in the postseason, Kruger's fortunate goal ended a nail-biting rematch.

"You just try to limit the mistakes as much as possible," Cogliano said. "You're drained. I think both game plans on both teams get a little lax, because you're out there for so long. Physically it's tough. Guys cramp. You're out there for so long, going through so many hits, and the game is so fast-paced, especially against this team. It's a tough pill to swallow right now, but you've just got to get over it. We've got to recover."

Perry put a shot off the crossbar roughly 10 minutes into the first OT, and Sami Vatanen hit the posts behind Crawford twice in extra time. Andersen made two enormous saves early in the second overtime, and Crawford matched him with a handful of stunners late in the period.

The Blackhawks never led in Game 1 while struggling to match the Ducks' depth and going scoreless on three power plays. Chicago kept its bench short in Game 2, largely playing only four defensemen — Duncan Keith logged just under 50 minutes of ice time, while Niklas Hjalmarsson and Brent Seabrook both topped 47 minutes — and relying on its top-end talent.

In the end, Kruger came up with his second goal of the postseason.

Chicago capitalized twice in the opening 6:19 after poor penalties by the Ducks. Shaw and Hossa both scored their second goal in three games after nine-game droughts to open the postseason.

Anaheim played a dominant second period, outshooting the Blackhawks 17-1 in the final 13 minutes. Perry finally evened it late, deflecting a long shot from captain Ryan Getzlaf for his eighth goal in 11 games.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Steph Curry's Daughter, Riley, Takes Over Press Conference]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 18:38:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0519-2015-RileyCurry.jpg

Few, if any, can steal the spotlight away from Steph Curry during this year's jaw-dropping, MVP season.

But 2-year-old Riley Curry did just that Tuesday night after the Golden State Warriors defeated the Houston Rockets in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals.

Curry, who dropped 34 points en route to the 110-106 win, brought along his daughter to the post game press conference.

Riley instantly stole the spotlight, waving to the media and telling her All-Star dad to "be quiet" after he was talking "too loud."

At one point during the press conference, Riley got off Curry's lap and disappeared from the camera's view while her father fielded questions from reporters.

But moments later she re-appeared under the press table and again waved at the audience.

Riley Curry, you are the real MVP.

Visit NBC Bay Area's Warriors page for more team coverage.


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<![CDATA[Warriors Take Game 1, Beat Rockets 110-106]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 23:33:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/183*120/474021764_594_screen.jpg

In their first Western Conference Finals appearance since 1976, the Warriors did what they usually do when things turned tight this season. 

They locked down on defense and leaned on MVP Stephen Curry.

Curry scored 34 points and the Warriors held the Rockets to 42.2 percent shooting over the final three quarters to post a 110-106 victory in Game 1 Tuesday night before a roaring sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.

The Rockets came out sizzling early, leading by as much as 16 in the first half, before the Warriors cranked up the defense. Houston made 21 of its first 33 shots but only 19 of its last 53 (35.8 percent) over the final two-plus quarters.

Four other Warriors scored in double figures, as Shaun Livingston scored 18 points, Klay Thompson had 15, Harrison Barnes put in 14 and Draymond Green finished with 13.

Houston center Dwight Howard bruised his knee in the first quarter and tried to play through it before giving up with 11:09 left in the game. He finished with 7 points and 13 rebounds.

James Harden led Houston with 28 points, including 21 in the second half.

Visit NBC Bay Area's Warriors page for more team coverage.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bruce Bochy Pens "A Book of Walks"]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 16:36:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/bochy-book.jpg

Bruce Bochy knows walks — on and off the baseball field.

The San Francisco Giants manager released "A Book of Walks" on May 15 and will join "Baseball Maverick" author Steve Kettmann for an appearance at Book Passage in Corte Madera on Wednesday.

Walks are both a great source of exercise and refuge for Bochy, no matter how his team is performing.

"Every city I go to, I get away, particularly after a game that didn't go well. I can say, 'I don't wanna sit in the bus. I'm gonna walk back by myself.' It is still kind of my therapy, I guess," Bochy said in a 2013 interview with San Francisco Magazine

Bochy told the publication, outside of his regular walks up and down San Francisco's waterfront, he thinks that Cincinnati and Milwaukee are two of the best Major League walking cities.

The book's cover highlights Bochy's regular hometown route, from AT&T Park to Fisherman's Wharf.

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<![CDATA[Patriots Won't Appeal Punishment]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 13:17:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/vlcsnap-2015-05-19-13h12m20s15.jpg

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said Tuesday that the team will not appeal the penalty handed down by the National Football League in the wake of the Deflategate controversy.

Speaking from the NFL owners' meetings in California, Kraft said he decided to accept the punishment in an effort to "end the rhetoric." He said that while he still believes the penalty handed down was "unreasonable and unprecedented," he respects Commissioner Roger Goodell.

"The entire process has taken way too long," he said. "I can try to end it, or extend it."

Kraft also acknowledged that his position on how to handle the situation has changed.

"I think maybe if I made the decision last week it would be different than it is today," Kraft said.

The NFL fined the Patriots $1 million and took away two draft picks as punishment for the deflation of footballs below the league-mandated minimum for the AFC championship game. 

Quarterback Tom Brady was also issued a four-game suspension, which he has already appealed. His appeal must be heard within 10 days of its filing on May 14.

The NFL Players Association formally requested Goodell recuse himself as an arbitrator in Brady's appeal later Tuesday afternoon and asked for a neutral party to set in.

"If the NFL believes the Ted Wells report has credibility because it is independent, then the NFL should embrace our request for an independent review," the union said in a statement.

If it is upheld, Brady would miss the first four games. The Patriots open the NFL season at home against Pittsburgh on Sept. 10, then travel to Buffalo before a home game against Jacksonville. After a bye week, their fourth game will be in Dallas.

Brady would be eligible to return for the fifth game on Oct. 18 at Indianapolis. The probe began after the Colts complained that Brady used deflated footballs in their 45-7 loss to the Patriots in the AFC title game.

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<![CDATA[Niners Expect Fierce Competition to Replace Smith, McDonald]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 08:54:37 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/tankatDE.jpg

Unlike the recent retirements of inside linebackers Patrick Willis and Chris Borland, the end of Justin Smith’s career was expected.

Though the 49ers hoped their former All-Pro defensive end would return for one more season, they prepared for the worst.

In fact, now that Smith has announced his retirement, the Niners have several players to compete for his position because they’ve been stockpiling defensive linemen for three to four seasons.

Will any of them be as good as Smith in 2015? Certainly not. Smith was a disruptive force, a supremely strong defensive lineman in the 49ers’ 3-4 scheme who could tie up blockers, stuff the run and allow the team’s mobile and talented linebackers to make tackles.

But as the 49ers head into their first of three OTAs (organized team activities) that begin Tuesday (May 19-21), San Francisco is sure to have a lively battle to earn the spots at left and right defensive end vacated by the release of Ray McDonald (left side) and retirement of Smith (right side).

Veteran Darnell Docket, signed from the Cardinals, is the likely starter at one spot. He has yet to participate in offseason workouts with the team following surgery last year, but says he’s right on target to compete in training camp.

According to Matt Barrows, who covers the 49ers for the Sacramento Bee, No. 1 pick Arik Armstead, Quinton Dial and Tony Jerod-Eddie are competing for the job on the left side. Glenn Dorsey and Carradine are penciled in to duel for Smith’s former job on the right side, with Dockett.

New head coach Jim Tomsula, the longtime former defensive line coach, told Barrows that the team is deep at the position.

“For four years – you see the D-linemen we’ve brought in – we’ve been making preparations,” Tomsula said earlier this spring. “This isn’t a this-year thing for us. We’ve been making preparations. A guy (Smith) gets to 12 years in the National Football League … you better start making preparations. That started a while ago.”

Armstead and Carradine may have the most upside of the young players on the line. Carradine, who lost his rookie season to injury rehab, played well late in 2014, getting seven tackles and three sacks from Weeks 15 through 17. And Armstead excites the 49ers with his size and athleticism after a career at Oregon.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Eager for OTAs to Begin]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 08:53:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/190*120/kuperotas.jpg

For the first time, the Raiders’ 2015 draft class will be on the field with veterans Tuesday with the start of organized team activities (OTAs).

New wide receiver Amari Cooper, the team’s No. 1 draft choice, will get  a chance to learn from Michael Crabtree and test himself against veteran safety Charles Woodson. Second-round pick Mario Edwards Jr. will get the opportunity to pick up tips from veteran defensive end Justin Tuck.

No live contact is permitted during OTAs, but teams can run 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.

OTAs will be held in three sessions, May 19-21, May 26-28 and June 1-4. Following OTAs comes the full-squad mandatory minicamp June 9-11. The full-squad minicamp will be the final team activity before the start of full-squad training camp in July.

For quarterback Derek Carr, this week’s OTAs will give him a chance to throw in a formal setting to new receivers Cooper, Crabtree and former Fresno State teammate Josh Harper – who signed as an undrafted free agent – as well as Clive Walford, the rookie tight end from the University of Miami.

Expectations are high that the additions of Cooper, Crabtree, Walford and Co., plus a new offensive scheme from coordinator Bill Musgrave, will give Carr many more options than he had in his rookie season.

By drafting Cooper with the fourth overall pick, the Raiders have sent a message that they intend to be much better offensively in 2015. This week, Cooper – who’ll be matched against veteran defensive backs for the first time in drills – will get his opportunity to show what he can do.

New head coach Jack Del Rio, for one, is eager to watch.

“The expectations should be high for a young man that comes in that is selected that high in the draft,” Del Rio told reporters recently. “But he’ll need to prove it on the field and earn it.”

 

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Former South Carolina QB Faces Long Odds to Make 49ers]]> Mon, 18 May 2015 09:03:22 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/dylantheQB.jpg

At South Carolina, quarterback Dylan Thompson was a success story.

As a senior in 2014, Thompson led the Southeastern Conference with 3,564 yards passing (a school record) and had 26 touchdown passes.

But Thompson, who is 6-foot-3 and 218 pounds, went undrafted.

He was signed by the 49ers as a free agent and has impressed the coaching staff with his work ethic and skills.

But can he make the 49ers roster?

That seems a long shot.

Barring an injury, Thompson ranks No. 3 on the current roster behind starter Colin Kaepernick and backup Blaine Gabbert. Plus, the 49ers could add another veteran free agent between now and the starting of training camp in July for an extra arm and added experience.

Yet the 49ers are intrigued by Thompson.

“He’s got those intangibles,” said new head coach Jim Tomsula after a recent 49ers practice. “Then you watch the tape (and) this guy can throw a football around. He spins it. We’re excited about him. We really are.”

His draft profile by Lance Zierlein on NFL.com, however, points out that Thompson still has much to learn. Although he’s credited with having a strong arm, an ability to throw deep and has good size, his footwork is described as being “an absolute mess.”

“Has issues getting feet set on many throws and compounds issue by short-arming throw. Inaccurate, with tendency to sail the ball or throw behind receiver. Below average (in) leading receivers to give them a chance to pick up yards after catch.”

Thompson was the only quarterback on the field for the 49ers’ recent three-day rookie minicamp. According to Tomsula, Thompson’s arm held up well to the challenge.

But his real test will come soon, during organized team activities (OTAs), full-roster minicamp and summer camp. If he can work out his footwork and technical problems with offensive coordinator Geep Chryst and quarterbacks coach Steve Logan, he could prosper and perhaps earn a spot on the 49ers’ scout team.

His former South Carolina teammates – rookie running back Mike Davis, rookie tight end Busta Anderson and second-year wideout Bruce Ellington – all believe in Thompson as a player and person.

“Dylan is a great guy,”Anderson told Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com. “A great guy. … We’ve built a close relationship over the last four years. So just being able to be here with him and my other teammates is just a blessing.”

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Hope Valles Can Grow into Pass Rusher]]> Mon, 18 May 2015 09:02:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/186*120/MavVal.jpg

The Raiders are eager to find anyone who can add pressure on opposing quarterbacks this coming season.

In 2014, the Raiders defense had just 22 sacks, tied with Atlanta for 30th in the NFL.

That’s one of the reasons the Raiders used a sixth-round pick on Virginia defensive end Max Valles, a 6-foot-5, 251-pounder who had 13 sacks in two seasons for the Cavaliers – including nine this past season.

Valles was selected as a third-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference player this past season, but is considered a talented but raw prospect. One scouting service reported that Valles is more “an athlete and not a football player” at this point, having played multiple positions since high school, including wide receiver and safety.

But, one AFC defensive line coach, who chose to remain anonymous, told NFL.com that, “If it starts to click for him and he starts to put the tape work together with the talent – look out, buddy.”

In fact, he’s been compared in some ways to 49ers linebacker Aaron Lynch, who showed good pass rush skills as a rookie in 2014.

Of course, making an impact as a sixth-round pick is a long shot. Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was a sixth-round pick, of course, and is bound for the Hall of Fame (despite Deflategate). But a better comparison might be Grady Jackson, whom the Raiders took in the sixth round of the 1997 draft from Knoxville. Grady played five seasons with Oakland and from 1998-2001 had some good seasons, his best coming in 2000 when he had eight sacks. He eventually played 185 NFL games through 2009, and had 35½ sacks in his career.

Valles is a project pick. The Raiders are hoping his skills and better coaching will allow him to prosper. But his progress may be slow.

“Valles can develop, but it will take time,” wrote Bill Williamson, who covers the Raiders for ESPN.com.

Just before the draft, Valles sounded optimistic about his NFL career.

“I’m only going to get better,” he told one reporter at his Virginia pro day. “I still haven’t really grown to my full potential. I feel like my ceiling’s very high. I’m definitely going to get much better.”

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>