<![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 Thu, 26 Feb 2015 23:28:53 -0800 Thu, 26 Feb 2015 23:28:53 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Eagles Acho Taking Va. Teen to Prom]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 13:45:32 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/228*120/2015-02-26_1345.png

A Loudoun County, Virginia, teen got the surprise of a lifetime Friday when Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Emmanuel Acho agreed to take her to prom.

Back in January, Hannah Delmonte reached out to Acho on Instagram and asked if he would take her to prom if she got 2,000 retweets on Twitter, Comcast SportsNet Philly reports. But Acho upped the ante -- Delmonte had to reach 10,000 retweets.

And she did.

Delmonte's post received over 17,000 retweets, far surpassing her goal.

Acho dropped by Woodgrove High School in Purcellville on Friday and surprised Delmonte with a customized Eagles jersey with the number 15 and the word "prom" written across the back.

Acho also plans to play piano and sing Delmonte a song on the night of the prom, according to Comcast SportsNet Philly. Prom is scheduled for May 9, according to the school's calendar.

Check out her priceless reaction in the video above.



Photo Credit: Comcast SportsNet Philly
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Return of Ricky Jean Francois to 49ers Not a Sure Thing]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 10:52:36 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/192*120/GettyImages_460467806.jpg

When Ricky Jean Francois left the 49ers after the 2012 season, he was signed by the Colts and played well in Indianapolis.

This past season, over 16 games, he had three sacks, was in on 28 tackles and had a fumble recovery. The defensive lineman was a strong player for the Colts, but became a salary-cap casualty because of the $5.5 million he was due to make in the 2015 season.

Immediately upon his release, many predicted a perfect landing spot for him would be San Francisco, where he played his first NFL seasons out of LSU as a seventh-round pick of the 49ers in 2009. He’s familiar with the system, played under Jim Tomsula and would fill a need, with one defensive end, Ray McDonald, released, and another, Justin Smith, contemplating retirement.

But that may not be a slam dunk.

Jean Francois’ agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told the Indianapolis Star this week that there is a “healthy market in free agency” for his client – which could include re-signing with Indianapolis at a lesser salary.

In addition to the 49ers – who are scheduled to meet with Jean Francois – Washington and Seattle also are reported to be bringing him in for interviews.

Seattle is looking for depth on its defensive line and Jean Francois, 28, would fit nicely as a rotational player up front. Washington, meanwhile, is facing the loss of two of its top defensive linemen in free agency, so Jean Francois could plug a hole. In addition, new Washington general manager Scot McCloughan, formerly of the 49ers, drafted Jean Francois.

Jean Francois certainly seems open to new possibilities.

After being released by the Colts, he tweeted: “Good morning. Every end has a start. Every start has a decision. Every decision has a reason. And every reason has a meaning.” Then, he followed up with more tweets about phone calls being made and re-tweeted reports of NFL teams with interest in his services.

Jean Francois may still return to San Francisco. That possibility still makes sense. But it appears there will be heavy competition for his services.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Have Alternatives if Wisniewski Walks]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 10:52:00 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/177*120/replacesteffff.jpg

One of the Raiders’ biggest decisions this offseason is whether to re-sign center Stefen Wisniewski.

After four years in Oakland, the former Penn State standout is an unrestricted free agent, and general manager Reggie McKenzie will have to decide whether to let him walk or stay.

Wisniewski, who reportedly made $978,000 in 2014, wants a significantly larger deal to stay in Oakland. But is he worth it?

Wisniewski has been reliable and durable – two qualities that have been lacking on Oakland’s revolving door of an offensive line the past few seasons. But his play has been graded as just average by some observers. Pro Football Focus graded him as the 22nd-best center in the NFL last season.

Speaking at the NFL Combine last week, McKenzie told Bill Williamson of ESPN.com “I don’t know” when asked if Wisniewski might be re-signed before hitting free agency on March 10.

“Our guys have talked to him and we’ve been talking to Wiz since last summer,” said McKenzie. “But we’re going to see how it plays out. There’s always a right price to everything.”

So, if the Raiders let him go – and there appears to be a free-agent market interested in him – who might the team bring in to replace him?

Two of the most attractive candidates are Chiefs center Rodney Hudson and Brian De La Puente of the Bears, both expected to be available.

According to Williamson, Hudson might be the best replacement – but come with a high price tag, perhaps as much as $7 million or more per season.

“Hudson is considered one of the best centers available and could fit in the Raiders’ plan of using more no-huddle offense,” wrote Williamson.

Hudson is coming off his best season in 2014 when he was ranked as the No. 3 player at his position by Pro Football Focus. He will be 26 by opening day. Hudson’s agent met with Chiefs representatives at last week’s NFL Combine, and Kansas City has expressed interest in re-signing him. But the Chiefs are reported to be just about $4.5 million under the salary cap, and may not be able to meet Hudson’s price while also keeping other free agents on the roster.

De La Puente, 29, has played both center and guard in the NFL. He’s coming off  an ankle injury that ended his season in November. His grade at center by Pro Football Focus wasn’t close to Hudson’s, but his price tag would be significantly less. 

If Wisniewski is allowed to walk, Raiders fans may still see him twice a year with the Broncos. Adam Caplan of NFL.com has reported Denver is likely to have strong interest in him.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors' Curry Talks Hoops, Malaria, Cauliflower]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 09:18:07 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Stephen-meets-Bo-and-Sunny-at-the-White-House.jpg

Hard to say who might have been more thrilled this week, Stephen Curry or the president of the United States, an avid hoops player himself who once called the Golden State Warriors guard the best shooter he had ever seen.

But Curry, who lives in Oakland, did not officially visit the White House on Wednesday to show Barack Obama how to make a three-pointer. He was there to speak about the president’s Malaria Initiative, something he became passionate about after visiting Tanzania in 2013 and seeing how children were affected by the disease.

"That hit home to me as we traveled through the camp to hear stories of how malaria impacted all those families," Curry told the Mercury News. A father himself, Curry said he was moved to act. He and his wife, Ayesha, have two children.

"Let's keep the fight going," he said after the meeting.

Curry for the past three seasons has donated three insecticide-treated mosquito nets for every 3-pointer he makes as part of the United Nations Foundation's Nothing But Nets campaign. Since he started in 2012, Curry has donated 1,599 bed nets, according to the organization.

The goal of the group is to find athletes who are willing to find “fun, creative ways” to raise awareness and money to buy a $10 bednet to combat the disease by protecting people from mosquito bites. Since 2006, Nothing But Nets has delivered more than nine million nets to families in 29 countries across Africa. Malaria kills more than 600,000 people worldwide each year.

But Curry’s charitable works don’t end with malaria. On Thursday, he and San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick are pushing the benefits of cauliflower as part of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative, which has been nicknamed “FNV,” a supposedly catchier title for fruits and vegetables.”

NBC Universal's Jennifer Vasquez contributed to this report.
 



Photo Credit: Nothing But Nets
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[2-Year-Old Son of NFL Long Snapper Sings National Anthem]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 02:48:08 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/AP828165311104.jpg

Forget football! The 2-year-old son of Cincinnati Bengals' long snapper showed he is ready for the stage when he belted out the National Anthem at a high school basketball game.

The NFL player, Clark Harris, held son Trent's hand as he led him to the court for the tot's performance.

Decked out in a blazer and with hair reminiscent of his father's mane, Trent sang in front of a packed gym ahead of a matchup between the Southern Regional High School and Pinelands Regional High School boys' basketball teams.

Clark's wife and proud mom, Jessica, posted Trent's rendition to YouTube, captioning the video: "My sons first performance!! ... I'm so proud!!!" 

Watch the full video below.



Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[NFL Stadium Proposals ]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 11:41:02 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/carson-stadium.gif

Ever since the Rams and the Raiders left Los Angeles in the mid-1990s, there have been attempts to bring an NFL team back to the city.

The football league approved an expansion franchise for Los Angeles as early as 1999, but no agreement was reached and a team went to Houston. The NFL requires a three-quarters vote of the 32 teams for any team to move.

There are now four proposals on the table. Here they are:


Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers to Share a Stadium

The Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers have announced that they will together pursue a new home at a $1.7 billion stadium in Carson, in Los Angeles County,  but only if both teams cannot find alternatives in their home markets. The stadium, which would require voter approval, would have more than 72,000 seats and with 18,000 parking spots, room for tailgating. It would be built on the site of an old municipal landfill at the intersection of the 405 Freeway and Del Amo Boulevard. Right now, the Jets and the Giants are the only NFL teams to share a stadium.

Meanwhile negotiations over a new stadium for the Raiders in the Bay area could be facing a 30-day deadline, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle. Oakland Mayor Libby Scaaf has said she would be wiling to spend taxpayer money to help pay for a new stadium, which could total up to $300 million, according to columnists Phil Matier and Andy Ross. But issues over using public money could be insurmountable, they report.


Replacing Hollywood Park Racetrack

Stan Kroenke, the owner of the St. Louis Rams, wants to build a new $2 billion stadium on the site of the now closed Hollywood Park racetrack in Inglewood, California. The proposal is for an 80,000-seat stadium, 6,000-seat performance venue, 300-room hotel, and 1.5 million square feet of retail, office and residential space.

The developer, not the public, would pay for the cost of building the stadium, according to a consultants' report.

The Inglewood City Council unanimously approved the plan on Feb. 24.

Kroenke has partnered with Stockbridge Capital Group and is the first NFL team owner to control a site large enough for a new stadium. The Rams are playing at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, but are unhappy with the conditions. The Inglewood proposal will put pressure on St Louis to reach a deal for a new stadium or watch the team return to Southern California, where it played from 1946 to 1994.

Farmers Field

The Anschutz Entertainment Group or AEG agreed in 2012 to build a football stadium at the L.A. LIVE complex downtown and renovate the Los Angeles Convention Center. In October, the city granted AEG a six-month extension. AEG plans to commit $600,000 to development, but it is also offering alternatives to a stadium, meaning a large hotel might be built in its place.
 
Grand Crossing

Developer Ed Roski Jr., the president of Majestic Realty Co., in 2008 announced plans to build an $800 million stadium in the city of Industry near the interchange of the 60 and 57 freeways. The project is being called Grand Crossing.



Photo Credit: MANICA ARCHITECTURE]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Reported to be Very Interested in Randall Cobb]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 09:22:05 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/190*120/packkcobbb.jpg

Reggie McKenzie is a Raider now, a former linebacker in silver and black who’s been the general manager in Oakland since January of 2012.

But McKenzie has deep roots in Green Bay, where he worked for the Packers for nearly 18 years, moving up to director of football operations, and he’s often returned to those roots in Oakland, bringing in such former Packers as wide receiver James Jones, quarterback Matt Flynn and safety Charles Woodson.

So, as the free-agent season approaches, it’s no shock that McKenzie and the Raiders have been linked to another Packers player, wide receiver Randall Cobb. McKenzie was still a Packers decision-maker in 2011 when Green Bay made him a second-round pick.

This week, Bill Williamson of ESPN.com reported, “No shock, but hear expectation around NFL is Raiders will make a run at Cobb.”

Cobb would be one of the most desired free-agent receivers on the market if the Packers decide not to re-sign him. The 5-foot-10 speedster from Kentucky has played four seasons in the NFL, all with Green Bay and has been an impact player, both as a receiver and punt/kick returner.

This past season, Cobb had 91 catches for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns in 16 starts. He also had an 80-catch season in 2012, before losing 10 games to injury in 2013. This past season he was ranked as the NFL’s top wide receiver by Pro Football Focus and the No. 4 receiver in the league by Football Outsiders.

Wrote Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk this week: “Should the Packers not be willing to get close enough to convince Cobb to sign before free agency opens, the Raiders would be one of the teams with both the cap space and the receiver need to be at the front of the hunt for Cobb’s services.”

However, Cobb wouldn’t come cheap. It’s believed he’s seeking as much as $9 million per season.

The prospect of adding a player such as Cobb in free agency – while also adding a receiver in the draft – could suddenly take the Raiders’ weak wideout corps to much higher levels. In addition, Oakland should get back its No. 1 receiver from 2013, Rod Streater, who missed most of 2014.

 

]]>
<![CDATA[Market Could be Strong for 49ers' Culliver]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 09:21:29 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/181*120/Cculleye.jpg

Cornerback Chris Culliver has had four seasons of promise and disappointment with the 49ers since being drafted in the third round out of South Carolina in 2011.

He showed great progress in 2012 as the nickel corner as the Niners advanced to the Super Bowl, but then lost all of the 2013 season to injury. Then, last season, he worked his way into the starting lineup because of injury and had a decent season. In 14 starts he had four interceptions, forced a fumble, had 15 passes defensed and was in on 38 tackles.

But Culliver, 27 – who also had his share off off-the-field issues as a 49er -- is now an unrestricted free agent, and it appears more and more likely that his days in San Francisco are over.

The 49ers, with salary-cap issues, may decide to let Culliver go elsewhere – and there apparently is high interest in him from several teams.

Culliver is ranked among the best free-agent cornerbacks on the market, behind the Seahawks’ Byron Maxwell, the Chargers’ Brandon Flowers, the Texans’ Kareem Jackson, the Cardinals’ Antonio Cromartie and the Packers’ Davon House and Tramon Williams. But with some of those players expected to be re-signed by their teams, Culliver’s stock has risen.

As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wrote this week, “There could be a very significant market” for Culliver. Pro Football Focus graded Culliver as the third-best free agent corner available.

The Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans and Chicago Bears are reportedly among the teams who might make a run at Culliver.

The 49ers, meanwhile, could have some big holes to fill in the secondary, if both Culliver and Perrish Cox – who started alongside Culliver for much of 2014 – leave in free agency.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Council Rams Through NFL Stadium Proposal]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 07:49:32 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/194*120/2-25-2015-RamsCouncil.JPG

The Inglewood City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve plans for a $2 billion, 80,000-seat stadium proposed by St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke.

The move, which is part of the redevelopment of the former Hollywood Park racetrack, could see the franchise relocate to Los Angeles.

Kroenke's stadium proposal had received enough supporting petition signatures to force the council to take action, and rather than opting to hold an election on the issue or another hearing within 10 days, the measure was passed at a noisy meeting, which was so well-attended it had a second room for overspill.

The measure puts Inglewood in the driving seat for bringing professional football back to Los Angeles according to NBC4 sports anchor Fred Roggin.

"Inglewood has pocket aces, so they are in the lead at this point in time," Roggin said. "First shovel in the ground will win the game, and by Inglewood doing what they're doing, they have the opportunity now to start digging."

Development is already underway on a 238-acre retail, office, hotel and residential project at the Hollywood Park site, which is just over 12 miles from Downtown LA, and that effort will continue. The 4 million-square-foot project was approved by the city in 2009.

At the meeting one member of public said the stadium would be an economic boon for the area, with developers estimating it would generate at least $25 million in new revenue annually for the city.

"Think about all the revenue that's going to come, think about Super Bowls, think about the Olympics, think about hotels, shopping, concerts," he said.

There was some dissent however, particularly about the effect increased travel on game days would have on the area.

"To pretend we will have no traffic issues when it will be larger than... Dodger Stadium is slightly ridiculous," one detractor told the council.

Although Kroenke is behind the stadium effort, the Rams have not announced any plans to move to Southern California. 

However city documents noted that approving the stadium "would provide the city with a unique ability to attract a National Football League franchise to Southern California.''

One Rams fan had traveled all the way to attend the meeting, and said he would move to the city if a move goes ahead.

"No, I'm not in Inglewood, but as soon as the Rams relocate and make that announcement, I'll be housed here," he said.

The Rams have been pushing for a new stadium to replace the Edward Jones Dome, where the team has played since 1995. Kroenke's Inglewood plans will likely increase pressure on St. Louis to either strike a deal for a new stadium or watch the team return to Southern California, where it played from 1946 to 1994.

According to the initiative presented to Inglewood, the stadium project "would be funded entirely with private funds provided by the property owner developing the project. Inglewood residents and the city would pay no taxes or subsidies for stadium construction."

In addition to the Rams, Kroenke's company Kroenke Sports Enterprises also owns the NBA's Denver Nuggets, NHL's Colorado Avalanche, the MLS's Colorado Rapids. He is also the largest shareholder of English football club Arsenal.

The announcement follows hot on the heels of the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders announcing  they were working together on a possible $1.7 billion shared stadium in Carson.

]]>
<![CDATA[Boston Olympics Criticism OK: Mayor]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 14:02:07 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/Walsh+Olympics.jpg

It's now OK for city workers to criticize Boston's bid for the 2024 Olympics, thanks to a change to the city's deal with the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Mayor Marty Walsh announced the change Tuesday, saying that the agreement with the USOC had been revised to remove any language discouraging city employees from criticizing the Olympic bid. Walsh had earlier defended the stipulation, which civil liberties advocates had criticized.

The Boston Globe reported last month that the "joinder agreement" between the city and the USOC banned city employees from badmouthing the 2024 Olympic bid. The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts said the agreement was a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech.

"This revised agreement is the result of positive negotiations with the United States Olympic Committee to reach a consensus that accurately represents how Boston is moving forward with our Olympic bid," Walsh said in a statement.

"I want to thank those who have already offered their thoughts on Boston's bid and I continue to encourage all residents, including city employees, to share their opinions over the coming months. My top priority is to ensure an open and transparent process, and it is important that any proposal is shaped by the input and ideas of people from every neighborhood in order to offer the greatest benefit to our city," Walsh continued.

Walsh's statement characterized the original ban on employee criticism of the Olympic bid as "boilerplate language that all cities have historically signed regarding city employees and their participation in the Olympic process."

Rich Davey, Boston 2024's CEO, said the new agreement "will strengthen Boston's efforts to work with communities to build a stronger Olympic bid."

The next citywide Olympic discussion is scheduled for Tuesday night at 6:30 at the Condon School Cafeteria in South Boston. 

Additional citywide meetings are scheduled for March 31, April 28, May 19, June 30, July 28, Aug. 25 and Sept. 29.



Photo Credit: FILE - NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Top Sports Photos 2015]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 13:57:54 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/topSports-GettyImages_464247590.jpg Click to see dramatic sports photos from the NFL, to basketball, baseball and more.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Madison Bumgarner Poses as Paul Bunyan With Bull]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 13:29:22 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*125/madbum2.JPG

World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner is getting some new attention after he posed as Paul Bunyan for a photo shoot.

Yup, that’s him in red suspenders and an ax posing for the cover of the first issue of the Season’s Giants magazine.

MadBum was born in Hickory, North Carolina where he still lives on a farm during the offseason.



Photo Credit: San Francisco Giants]]>
<![CDATA[Wash. NFL Football Team: Canceling Trademark Violates Free-Speech]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 09:54:50 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/1104-redskins-generic.jpg

Lawyers for the Washington NFL football team are telling a judge that the team's free-speech rights will be infringed upon if a federal panel's decision to cancel the team's trademarks is allowed to stand.

A board of the U.S. Patent And Trademark Office ruled last year that the trademark of the "Redskins" should be canceled because the name is disparaging to Native Americans.

The team is suing in federal court in Alexandria to have the board's decision overturned. In court papers filed Monday, the team says the law barring registration of disparaging trademarks is unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

The government has intervened in the civil lawsuit to defend the law's constitutionality. Government lawyers say the law doesn't ban disparaging speech; it just denies the protection of a federal trademark.
 

]]>
<![CDATA[Some Believe 49ers Could Take Cornerback With First Pick]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 13:30:19 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/jhayKolns.jpg

The 49ers have a need at wide receiver, and many NFL writers and analysts believe they’ll use their No. 1 pick on a fast, field-stretching pass catcher or a pass rusher.

But the Niners also have much uncertainty at cornerback and now, after the NFL Combine has been completed, some believe they’ll use their top selection, the 15th overall, on a corner.

Veteran cornerbacks Chris Culliver and Perrish Cox are free agents who might go elsewhere in 2015. And Tramaine Brock, the team’s No. 1 corner entering 2014, has struggled with injuries.

This is considered a subpar crop of college cornerbacks, but there are some corners with first-round talent, including Trae Waynes of Michigan State, Jalen Collins of LSU, P.J. Williams of Florida State and Marcus Peters of Washington.

Waynes got plenty of attention at the NFL Combine last week by running a 4.31 40-yard dash, the fastest time among this year’s corners. Also opening eyes was Byron Jones of Connecticut, who set a Combine record with a 147-inch broad jump and had a 44.5-inch vertical leap.

But the corner who might best suit the 49ers is Collins of LSU.

In his most recent NFL mock draft, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com has the 49ers selecting Collins with the 15th pick, and at the Combine, Collins was impressive. The 6-foot-1, 203-pounder has the size NFL teams now are looking for in pass coverage, and he ran a strong 4.48 40 time. Wrote Jeremiah: “Collins doesn’t have a lot of experience, but he has a big upside because of his size/athleticsm.”

Collins started just 10 games at LSU, but had three interceptions and 25 pass breakups. NFL.com analyst Mike Mayock calls him “a long press corner” because of his size, but isn’t certain what he can do. “We’ve got a lot of questions to answer on this kid,” he said at the Combine.

Collins also has the long arms (32 1/8) that 49ers GM Trent Baalke covets.

Two other factors could be new 49ers receivers coach Adam Henry, who comes to the team from LSU where he coached the wide receivers – and went up against Collins every day in practice – and Niners safety Eric Reid, a former LSU standout. Both could vouch for Collins.

Collins has been ranked as the No. 3 cornerback in this draft, behind Michigan State’s Waynes and Washington’s Peters.

Though Mayock wants to see more of him, he says, “I want to like him” because of his potential and toughness.

“He’s not afraid at the line of scrimmage,” he said. “He’s not bailing out. He’s just sitting right there and saying, ‘Bring it.’ ”

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders Need to Find Replacement for Roach]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 13:30:39 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/rhhoachhhh.jpg

In 2013, the Raiders found a gem in veteran linebacker Nick Roach.

The ex-Bear was signed as a free agent and earned the starting job at middle linebacker. He became a leader and a solid performer, leading Oakland in tackles (112) while also forcing four fumbles, getting 5½ sacks and an interception.

He also was durable, playing every defensive snap of the season.

At just 28 years old with seven seasons in the NFL, Roach was coming into his own. The defense around him wasn’t very good, but Roach appeared to be a player on the rise.

But Roach lost all of the 2014 season because of a concussion suffered in an August preseason game.

Though he’s signed through 2016, it’s now becoming more apparent that Roach may also miss the 2015 season, as well – which means Oakland will again have to find a replacement for him.

Recently, Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Roach is still experiencing headaches from last year’s consussion. General manager Reggie McKenzie said the decision about when Roach will be able to play again will be up to Roach and the team’s medical staff.

“I am not going to rush him to play when mentally he’s not ready,” said McKenzie, who added that the team will need to look out for Roach’s welfare.

“As much as we’d love him to be our signal caller on defense, I don’t want to risk lifelong injury if he goes out there,” McKenzie told Tafur.

In Roach’s absence, the Raiders had to make due with Miles Burris, who made the switch from outside to the middle, and struggled at times. A recent Pro Football Focus report cited Burris as missing more tackles than average at his position.

The Raiders are likely to look for a linebacker in free agency or the draft who can come in to compete with Burris for the spot.

One possibility might be Nate Irving, wrote Bill Williamson of ESPN.com Tuesday. Irving, 26, was the starting middle linebacker of the Broncos for the first half of the 2014 season until he suffered a torn ACL and was lost for the final eight games. In playing for Jack Del Rio, the Broncos’ defensive coordinator who now is the Raiders’ head coach, Irving was in on 46 tackles in eight games, with one sack. The 6-foot-1, 245-pounder from North Carolina State was in his fourth season with Denver but is now a free agent. As Williamson noted, Irving’s history with Del Rio and his likely low price tag (in coming off an injury) could make him a good fit in Oakland.

Josina Anderson of ESPN reported that several teams “are showing interest” in Irving.

If the Raiders address the need through the draft after the first round, some inside linebackers who might be available in the second through third rounds include Benardrick McKinney of Mississippi State, Stephone Anthony of Clemson, Hayes Pullard of USC, Taiwan Jones of Michigan State, Paul Dawson of TCU, Mike Hull of Penn State, Jake Ryan of Michigan and Ramik Wilson of Georgia.

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Niners May Have Big Hole in 3-4 Defense]]> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 12:42:23 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/fffoowwlleerr.jpg

New 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula and defensive end Justin Smith have a good relationship, having worked together since Smith came over from the Bengals for the 2008 season.

So when the two of them get together soon to discuss Smith’s future – or, as Tomsula told reporters, to “shoot the baloney” – it will have an enormous impact on what the Niners do in the draft and free agency.

If Smith decides to retire, the 49ers suddenly will have gaping holes at both defensive end spots. Smith’s departure would follow the release of Ray McDonald because of off-the-field issues.

And, Tomsula told the media at the NFL Combine in recent days that the 49ers are sticking with the 3-4 defensive alignment – and not switching to the 4-3 as had been surmised by some.

“The schematics on defense, the 3-4, our personnel is set for that and we’ll continue that way,” Tomsula said.

If Smith decides to walk away, the 49ers might be tempted to use their top pick in the first round – the 15th overall – on a defensive lineman or outside linebacker to fit the 3-4 scheme. Even if Smith stays, the team will need to add depth at some point because of McDonald’s departure. But if Smith also goes, the 49ers’ will have a gaping need – unless the 49ers are confident they can fill those positions from within.

Nose tackles Ian Williams and Glenn Dorsey should return from injury in 2015 to add versatility, and Dorsey has played outside some in the 3-4 in San Francisco. Also, Tank Carradine – a second-round pick in 2013 -- or Tony Jerod-Eddie may be ready to step in.  General manager Trent Baalke also noted that Kaleb Ramsey, a seventh-round pick from Boston College in 2014, would be in the mix.

The other option for the 3-4 – if the 49ers believe it’s their most pressing need in the first round -- is to add a pass rusher at outside linebacker. San Francisco’s pass rush was disappointing in 2014, so such college defensive ends/outside linebackers as Florida’s Dante Fowler, Missouri’s Shane Ray, Nebraska’s Randy Gregory, UCLA’s Shaq Thompson and Clemson’s Vic Beasley might be attractive in the first or second rounds.

Fowler had 8½ sacks and 15 tackles for loss for the Gators this past season, and is projected as a first-round pick, perhaps somewhere in the middle where the 49ers will pick. At Florida, he played in both 3-4 and 4-3 sets as either a defensive end or outside linebacker.

“I played all over the place,” he told reporters. Fowler, who is 6-foot-3 and 261 pounds, ran a 4.61 40-yard dash, just behind the 40s of Beasley (4.53) and Gregory (4.57).

Though wide receiver is seen by most as the No. 1 need for the 49ers in this draft, addressing holes on the defensive line and pass rush also are crucial. As former Bengals head coach Sam Wyche told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat recently, the Niners have a big need there.

“You need a dominating pass rusher, somebody they’ve got to slide the line to, they’ve got to chip, they’ve got to move their tight end over to help block. It could be a down lineman or it could be a linebacker if he’s coming off the edge.”

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[San Diego Enters Hurry-Up Mode on Stadium Plan]]> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 09:20:23 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/chargers+raiders+stadium+rendering+67.jpg

San Diego's mayor met with Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos Sunday and announced that a mayor's advisory committee will speed up its work on a stadium plan designed to keep the team from moving.

The committee will deliver its plan to the team within three months, which could avoid a move that would bring the Chargers to the Los Angeles area. The advisory panel's initial timeline would have brought a plan to the Chargers by the end of the year in an effort to place the proposal on the November 2016 ballot.

The plan would likely need a two-thirds majority vote approval if the proposal ends up before voters.

Spanos' one-hour morning meeting with Mayor Kevin Faulconer at the San Diego Padres' Petco Park came after a surprise announcement last week that the Chargers and Oakland Raiders are planning a joint stadium in Carson outside Los Angeles if they fail to get stadium deals in their hometowns. Both sides said the plan to spur on the work of the city advisory committee is a step forward toward reaching a deal.

Faulconer said he is committed to keeping the team but equally devoted to the city's financial standing.

"Like thousands of San Diegans, I want the Chargers to stay in our city for generations to come," the mayor said in a statement. "I explained to Mr. Spanos that we are going to work to keep the team here, but I will never support a deal that San Diego can't afford."

A Chargers statement on the meeting said that the team also remains "committed to finding a publicly acceptable stadium solution here in San Diego," but it emphasized that the team "must create other options for itself in the event that an agreement is not reached."

The Chargers have sought to replace the nearly 50-year-old Qualcomm Stadium that now stands among the NFL's oldest as other West Coast teams like the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers see sparkling new facilities. They have struggled with a City Hall that has been reluctant to part with public money for a new home.

Last week, Chargers' special counsel Mark Fabiani told the advisory group the team is "keeping a close eye" on developments in Los Angeles, which has not had an NFL team since the Rams and the Oakland Raiders abandoned Southern California after the 1994 season.

The NFL has expressed an interest in a Los Angeles franchise, but the league has no plans for expansion, meaning an existing team would need to move to Southern California. The NFL has ruled out any team move for the 2015 season, but leaves open the possibility in 2016.

Earlier this month, Inglewood's plan to build an NFL stadium at the Hollywood Park site took a step forward with the verification of petition signatures needed to place the project before voters. The 80,000-seat stadium is part of Hollywood Park Land Co.'s proposal, called City of Champions Revitatlization Project, for a development at the site of the old horse racing track.

The city clerk will forward the resolution to the council at its next scheduled meeting, set for Tuesday, but Mayor James Butts said the Inglewood council will likely hold over action on the project until its March 3 meeting. Rams owner Stan Kroenke announced plans to build the stadium on the site, which would include the stadium as part of a sprawling complex that includes homes, offices and entertainment venues.

Los Angeles city officials also have extended an option with the owners of Staples Center to build an 80,000-seat stadium to be known as Farmers Field downtown, next to the 10 and 110 freeway junction, provided a team commits to moving there.

The Rose Bowl and Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum also could host a team, at least temporarily.
 



Photo Credit: MANICA Architecture]]>
<![CDATA[50 Weeks to Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium]]> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 23:37:27 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0223-2015-SB502.jpg

The Bay Area Super Bowl Host Committee on Monday kicked off its "50 weeks to the 50th Super Bowl" campaign.

Part of the festivities to launch the countdown to the big game included projecting a countdown clock at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara and at Coit Tower in San Francisco.

Salinas teacher Teresa Donlin took her class to visit Levi's Stadium on Monday and were some of the first to see banners for the countdown.

"I think it's great," Donlin said. "Always got to have countdowns going."

The Bay Area's Super Bowl Host Committee volunteers on Monday also showed up unannounced to hand out gifts at the Santa Clara town center as part of the early Super Bowl promotion.

The free gifts included $50 gas cards, $50 gift cards and 49ers museum and Great America passes.

"For us, it's all about the people and it's all about the residents in the Bay Area," said Sarah Hawkins, Super Bowl 50 Host Committee. "And you really just want people to get as excited as we are that Super Bowl 50 is coming to the Bay Area."

The host committee as well as numerous South Bay agencies said the outdoor San Jose Sharks hockey game provided some early promotion and insight onto possible issues.

"We're going to be working with our partners to understand crowds and size," said Brandi Childress of the Valley Transportation Authority. "And it's going to be all about research and understanding where these people are going to be coming from and how they're going to want to use transit."

The host committee also launched a fan countdown clock, where fans can submit photos to be featured in the countdown. Visit www.sfbaysuperbowl.com for more information.



Photo Credit: Cheryl Hurd]]>
<![CDATA[With Combine Over, Raiders Are Sitting Pretty]]> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 12:20:22 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Kevyewhyttee.jpg

NFL analysts love to compile lists after covering the NFL Combine: the winners, the losers, the strongest and the fastest.

This time around, it’s clear that the Raiders can be put in the winners category.

Oakland, with the No. 4 overall pick in the draft, not only will be able to select a top-notch talent in a deep draft pool in the first round, but should be able to bring in significant contributors after Round 1. This particular draft looks very good in terms of wide receivers, defensive linemen, linebackers, running backs and offensive linemen, areas of need for a team that went 3-13 last season.

But with the No. 4 pick in their pocket, it’s now evident the Raiders are in a no-lose position in the first round.

Consider:

* If USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams should fail to be selected by the first three teams, the Raiders will wind up with perhaps the best overall player in the draft. As Bill Williamson of ESPN.com wrote, “He is a wonderful talent and he’d be a steal at No. 4. He’d be a perfect fit for Oakland’s defense.”

* If Williams isn’t there, the Raiders will have their pick of the top receivers, either Alabama’s Amari Cooper or West Virginia’s Kevin White. Cooper is considered the most polished wideout in the draft and the surest bet. But in running a 4.35 40-yard dash at the Combine, White – who’s bigger than Cooper – opened some eyes. 

* If one of the top quarterbacks, Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston, is still on the board when it comes time for the Raiders to pick, Oakland may be able to swing a deal for its fourth overall selection that could net the team many more picks in this and next year’s draft. Chase Goodbread of NFL.com has linked Mariota to the Eagles, where former Oregon coach Chip Kelly now works. The Eagles, however, have the 20th overall selection, probably way too low to land him. Should they decide to send a package of picks to the Raiders for the No. 4 choice, the Raiders could land multiple first- or second-round picks. The Redskins (at No. 5), Jets (at No. 6) and Browns (at Nos. 12 and 19) also might be willing to deal with the Raiders to take a shot at Mariota (should Winston be taken by the Bucs with the No. 1 pick).

No matter what, the Raiders are in great position. They have multiple needs.

“It’s not just receivers,” general manager Reggie McKenzie told the San Francisco Chronicle, of what he’s looking for. “But receiver is one of the positions I want to try and upgrade. Moving Austin (Howard) to tackle, I want to get an interior player. Another guy to compete with Latavius (Murray) in the backfield. I could go down the list. We need players.”

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland Faces Deadline in Stadium Talks: Report]]> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 09:03:23 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/chargers+raiders+stadium+rendering+67.jpg

East Bay leaders could be facing a 30-day self-imposed deadline for a new stadium deal with the Raiders.

According to one Raiders’ source who spoke to Chronicle columnists Matier and Ross, the proposed shared stadium in Carson, near Los Angeles, may be the best game plan, especially if progress on a new Bay Area stadium doesn’t happen within the next month.
 
“If we don’t have significant progress within the next 30 days, I’d say one party or the other will call an end to it,” the source claimed.

Last week, the city of Carson announced a planned joint stadium for the Raiders and the San Diego Chargers.

Coliseum leaders fear the issues over public money for a new stadium may be insurmountable.

“My concern is that it could wind up being a shell game that will blow up the minute the public sees the details,” an official on the Coliseum Authority, run jointly by the city and Alameda County, told the Chronicle.

Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf has told the public she would be willing to use taxpayer money to help pay for a new local stadium. According to Matier and Ross, that could total $240 million to $300 million, keeping in mind that city and county taxpayers are still spending $20 million a year to pay off 1990s deal that brought the Raiders back from Los Angeles.

County Supervisor Nate Miley told the Chronicle, “I lived through that once, and I don’t want to do it again.”
 



Photo Credit: MANICA Architecture]]>
<![CDATA[Gore May Stay With 49ers]]> Sat, 21 Feb 2015 16:05:27 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/460878128.jpg

Late last season, it seemed almost certain that Frank Gore was on his last legs as a 49er.

The veteran running back -- who will turn 32 this May -- was having a subpar season in the last year of his contract.

His age and salary didn’t line up with the 49ers' plans.

But now, after Gore’s late-season brilliance showed he’s still effective, the team appears intent on bringing Gore back for another season. Gore rushed for more than 300 yards combined over his final two games to finish with more than 1,100.

Niners general manager Trent Baalke, speaking to reporters at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis this week, said, “We’re going to do what we can to get him back as a 49er.”

New head coach Jim Tomsula, also in Indianapolis, echoed Baalke. Tomsula, in fact, said the team was in negotiations with both Gore and wide receiver Michael Crabtree.

“Those talks are happening this week,” Tomsula said at a news conference, reported Marc Sessler of NFL.com. “I don’t have the checkbook, so I’m not in those particular conversations, but I do know that leaving San Francisco, heading to the airport the other day, that everything was lined up to talk to all of our people.”

Generally, running backs decline rapidly after age 30. But Gore has remained in top condition, forged by challenging offseason workouts, and has brought much more to the team than his talents as a ballcarrier. Players and coaches have cited his leadership, work ethic and hard-nosed approach as a plus for the entire team. He remains one of the NFL’s best-blocking running backs, particularly in pass protection.

Said Tomsula: “I’m a big Frank Gore guy.”

If he does return, however, it likely will be for less money than the $6.5 million he earned in each of his past two seasons. Baalke told Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee that the team and Gore are trying to work things out.

“We’re still working on it,” Baalke told Barrows. “It’s not something that’s going to get done yesterday. It’ll take some time to resolve. It’s our intention to have Frank back.”



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[5 Questions Giants Face For 2015 Season]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 17:53:46 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/458071680_8.jpg

On paper, they were underdogs at the start of spring training back in 2014. How did they do? They won it all. Fast forward to spring training 2015, and the defending champion San Francisco Giants, who've won three World Series titles in five years, may be underdogs once again.

With Pablo Sandoval and Michael Morse heading east, fans were hoping the Giants could land big names this offseason, like Jon Lester, Justin Upton or even Melky Cabrera (again).But the flashy name never made it to San Francisco. Instead, General Manager Brian Sabean brought in under-the-radar players, leaving us with a few questions.

How strong is the starting pitching?

The Giants essentially won the World Series last year with a one-man rotation. Other than Madison Bumgarner, no starting pitcher made it to the sixth inning during the 2014 Fall Classic.

Tim Hudson started 2014 like a Cy Young candidate, but fell flat mid-season. After the All-Star Break, Hudson went 2-7 with a 4.73 ERA. His ankle surgery during the 2013 season affected his conditioning, possibly contributing to his mid-season struggles. And in January, Hudson underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his right ankle. Hudson will turn 40 in July, so how quickly he can rehab could be an issue.

Matt Cain was once the anchor of the Giants' rotation, until he was sidelined by injuries. Cain had ERAs in the fours for the last two seasons, after posting a 2.79 clip in 2012. Cain had season-ending surgery in August when bones chips were removed from his elbow. In September, he also had bone chips removed from his right ankle. He is expected to be ready for spring training, but his conditioning will probably be affected. The Giants will have to wait and see which Cain they get.

Like Hudson, Jake Peavy had a tale of two seasons in 2014. The Giants re-upped Peavy for two years, $24 million this offseason. But he earned his paycheck in the second half. Since joining the Giants in July, Peavy has gone 6-4 with a 2.17 ERA after posting a 4.72 ERA in Boston last year.

And then there's Tim Lincecum, who hasn't come close to his Cy Young seasons. Lincecum threw a no-hitter in both 2013 and 2014, but had disappointing overall seasons since 2012. In his last three seasons, Lincecum combined to go 32-38 with a 4.76 ERA. Although his strikeout totals remain high (averaging nearly eight per nine innings in 2014), Lincecum is having trouble stopping the big inning. He once had a blazing fastball and a devastating split-changeup to blow hitters away, but now has to be crafty, since his velocity has dipped to about 89 mph. And he has even reunited with his father--who honed and created Tim's unique pitching style--in hopes of returning to Cy Young form. Lincecum still appears to be in transition heading into 2015.

Where's the power?

The Giants ranked seventh in the National League in home runs last season -- and hit only a handful in the postseason -- but it appears they are sacrificing power for on-base percentage in 2015.

After third-baseman Sandoval and outfielder Morse signed with East Coast teams, the Giants replaced their combined 32 home runs last season with Casey McGehee and Nori Aoki, who combined for just five homers last season. But both McGehee and Aoki bring new offensive skill sets. McGehee boasted a higher average and on-base percentage (.287/.355) than Sandoval (.279/.324). And Aoki (.285/.349) shows the same when compared to Morse (.279/336).

The Giants will rely on Brandon Belt to make up for Morse's and Sandoval's departures. He hit 12 home runs in just 61 games last year due to injury, putting him on pace to hit over 30 home runs if he was healthy. Belt will need to prove he can bounce back from the concussion he sustained in July.

Angel Pagan's Health

After a healthy 2012, when he helped propel the Giants to a World Series title, Angel Pagan has battled through injury problems. In 2013, he only played 71 games before injuring his hamstring. As Pagan went, so did the Giants. They finished 76-86 in 2013.

In 2014, Pagan was sidelined due to injury again. Back surgery eventually kept him at out of the lineup towards the end of last year. However, this time the Giants didn't skip a beat. Gregor Blanco stepped up in the leadoff hitter position throughout the 2014 postseason.

But Pagan's impact on the Giants' lineup is vital to its success. In his three seasons as a Giant, he's hit .290 with a .338 on-base percentage. He has a disciplined swing as a leadoff hitter, and provides energy to fuel the rest of the lineup. And with the loss of Sandoval and Morse, he may be needed more than ever in 2015.

The numbers don't lie. In the last two seasons, the Giants were 91-71 when Pagan was in the lineup. When he wasn't, the Giants were 73-89. Will be fully healthy after season-ending back surgery last year?

Replacing Panda: Impossible task?

Replacing Sandoval at third base will not be easy. As the Panda, he was a fan favorite who had his own unique style that endeared Giants fans to him. Although newcomer McGehee is capable of replacing Pablo's bat, which McGehee will the Giants get?

McGehee, a Northern California native, won the Comeback Player of the Year in 2014 with these stats: .287 average, four home runs, 76 RBIs, and a .355 on-base percentage. With the exception of home runs (Pablo hit 16), McGehee had higher numbers than Sandoval in those stats. But McGehee's power took a dip last year with the Miami Marlins after he spent 2013 playing for Japan. As recent as 2010, McGehee hit 23 home runs for Milwaukee, with 104 RBIs and a .285 average. The Giants would certainly take that in 2015. But as recent as 2012, McGehee had a dismal season -- .217 average, nine home runs, and a .284 on-base percentage in 114 games. Playing in Japan seemed to help McGehee shorten his swing more, but his power numbers dipped. Which McGehee will the Giants see in 2015?

On the defensive side, McGehee does not have the range that Sandoval has, but he will field what he gets to. McGehee made the second-fewest errors among all third baseman last season, but he may not get to all the baseballs hit to him. According to ESPN, he had a -0.1 defensive WAR (wins above replacement) last season, compared to Sandoval's 0.6. The Giants defense will suffer at third base a bit in 2015, but while Sandoval made the flashy plays and got to balls McGehee could not get to, McGehee is an average third baseman and should not hurt the Giants too much.

Are two backup catchers needed?

The Giants seem to have two backup catcher candidates heading into 2015, although one appears more likely to make the team. Hector Sanchez had been the Giants' backup to Buster Posey since 2012, but rookie Andrew Susac opened some eyes last season after Sanchez's injury problems.

Susac last year hit .273, with three home runs in 35 games (88 at-bats). He came up after Sanchez suffered concussion symptoms in late July and showed flashes of opposite-field power, along with a disciplined plate approach. One of his biggest hits came against the Dodgers in a 13-inning game in late-September, which helped them win the game.

Although Sanchez has done adequate as a backup in his three-plus big-league seasons (.246 average, nine home runs, 82 RBIs, 541 at-bats), the emergence of Susac probably means Sanchez will start in AAA Sacramento. But he may have a chance to earn his job back in spring training.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SJ Sharks Takeover Levi's Stadium & Forecast]]> Fri, 20 Feb 2015 22:40:22 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/wxfivehockeyjeff.jpg The San Jose Sharks will be taking over Levi's Stadium this weekend as the NHL Stadium Series outdoor hockey is set to play Saturday. Chief Meteorologist Jeff Ranieri gives us a field level view of the action. Plus, full details on the forecast.]]> <![CDATA[Social Reaction to Chargers-Raiders Stadium News]]> Fri, 20 Feb 2015 13:33:25 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/chargers+raiders+stadium+rendering+13.jpg

News that rival professional football teams the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders are joining forces on a proposal that could have them share a Southern California stadium surprised many when it broke late Thursday.

By Friday, some players and officials had taken to Twitter to share their thoughts on the plan to build a $1.7 billion stadium in Carson, California, if the teams' efforts to construct their own new venues in their respective hometowns fall through.

Here's a look at some of the reaction seen so far:  

Shareece Wright, starting cornerback for the Chargers tweeted: 

Kevin Faulconer, mayor of San Diego had a four part message to share: 

Shawne Merriman, former Chargers linebacker said: 

Corey Liuget, the defensive end of the Chargers said: 



Photo Credit: MANICA Architecture
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal City Wants Joint NFL Stadium]]> Fri, 20 Feb 2015 18:08:46 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/carson-stadium.gif

A $1.7 billion NFL stadium next to one of the busiest highways in America could draw two California football teams to Los Angeles, if their cities don't provide them better facilities at home.

The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders support the proposal, revealed Thursday, to build a 72,000-seat arena next to the 405 Freeway in Carson that would host both teams. Each has been in protracted negotiations with their respective cities to build more modern accommodations than the 1960s-era stadiums they play in now.

On Friday, elected officials from Carson, a city between Los Angeles and Long Beach, announced wide community support to build the huge stadium complex on an empty, 168-acre lot in the city. A local coalition, Carson2gether, backs this latest proposal to bring a team to Los Angeles.

"If you can't work it out with your cities, we welcome you with open arms here in Carson," Congresswoman Janice Hahn said at what amounted to a pep rally to show community support.

"We will give you a beautiful new stadium, we will give you fans like you've never had before," Hahn continued.

Representatives from the Chargers and Raiders didn't appear at the rally in Carson. For the most part, the local politicians and community leaders who spoke focused on the Carson community, which must approve the stadium through a ballot measure.

The teams, which have both played full seasons in LA before, stressed in a joint statement released Thursday that they were working with their current cities to "find permanent stadium solutions that are publicly acceptable."

"If we cannot find a permanent solution in our home markets, we have no alternative but to preserve other options to guarantee the future economic viability of our franchises," the teams said.

Oakland reaction: "It would be a great blow"

San Diego reaction: "That’s not how you do business

After years without an NFL team, Los Angeles suddenly has an abundant set of options with a range of backers, from a major sports development group to a current NFL owner, making a Los Angeles NFL team a likelier prospect that it's been in decades -- though certainly not a guarantee.

The National Football League has long wanted a football team in Los Angeles, a huge market for television viewers, where it hasn't had one since 1994, when the Raiders returned to Oakland. The league set up a committe on Los Angeles, according to the Chargers-Raiders statement.

The Chargers and the Raiders have both been publicly courting moves because both play in outdated stadiums -- Qualcomm Stadium and O.co Coliseum, respectively. Meanwhile, the Oakland situation is even more complicated because there have been talks about the Raiders sharing a venue with the Oakland A's baseball team at new stadiums on the same site.

Any team that relocates to LA would need its proposal approved by three-fourths of the NFL's owners, according to the Chargers-Raiders statement.

NBC Bay Area's Lisa Fernandez contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: MANICA ARCHITECTURE
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Blackhawks Surprise Girl Scout]]> Thu, 19 Feb 2015 16:09:45 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/235*120/blackhawks9.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks have made it a habit of surprising fans in new and exciting ways, but they somehow managed to find a new one as teammates Andrew Shaw and Jonathan Toews brightened one little Girl Scout’s day.

Alexis got the thrill of her life when she met up with Shaw at the Palace Grill near the United Center, and from there she went to Toews’ condo with one mission in mind: to sell him boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

Watch the video to see her pitch to the Blackhawks' captain.

We’ll have to stay tuned on whether or not she gets to meet up with Patrick Sharp.


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Mayor on Chargers: "Not How You Do Business" ]]> Fri, 20 Feb 2015 13:35:41 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/faulconer-0220.jpg

Mayor Kevin Faulconer, obviously frustrated over news that the San Diego Chargers were actively working on a deal to share a stadium with the Oakland Raiders, said he’s committed more than ever to putting together a plan to keep the team in town.

“Just like you we found out about it last night,” the mayor said in an impromptu news conference before 7 a.m. in downtown San Diego.

A Chargers spokesperson confirmed late Thursday that the team had been researching the possibility of sharing a stadium with the Raiders in Carson.

If approved, the $1.7 billion NFL stadium would be built in Carson just south of Los Angeles, more than 100 miles north of San Diego.

Both teams will still seek new stadiums in San Diego and Oakland, but if the deals fall through, they want a backup, Chargers’ special counsel Mark Fabiani said.

The National Football League has long wanted to have a football team in Los Angeles, a huge market for television viewers, where it now has none.

And sports observers point out that both the Chargers and the Raiders are perfect teams to move, because both play in outdated stadiums in their hometowns.

Mayor Faulconer said negotiations were moving slowly over the last nine months because the team wasn’t committed to finding a resolution.

“That explains a lot, that explains the animosity toward the group that we were trying to put together here in San Diego,” Faulconer said. “That’s not being upfront. That’s not how you do business.”

“They weren’t interested in moving forward. They were trying to work with the Raiders,” he added before ending the briefing saying “More to come today.”

Faulconer's Chief of Communications Matt Awbry used Twitter to share that Faulconer was not told about the Carson plan by Chargers officials but rather by the Los Angeles Times.

As for the upcoming meeting planned between the mayor and team owner Dean Spanos, Faulconer said he's looking forward to it.

“We need to have a very upfront and direct conversation with Dean Spanos, get his true intent,” Faulconer said. 



Photo Credit: NBC 7
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA["Great Blow" if Raiders Move to LA: Councilman]]> Fri, 20 Feb 2015 13:00:19 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/carson-stadium.gif

Raiders Nation were none too happy with the announcement that their beloved football team might move south and share a stadium with the San Diego Chargers if both NFL teams fail to  find new stadium solutions in their hometowns.

“If you’re a real Raiders fan and you’re from Oakland, you want the Raiders to stay in Oakland,” Samantha Bell said on Thursday.

She was referring to a joint statement by the two conference rivals in the AFC West,  the Oakland Raiders and the Chargers’ management said they are looking at a stadium site in Carson in Los Angeles  County while still looking at options in their respective current cities. The deal in Carson would be privately financed.
   
Oakland City Councilman Larry Reid said if the Raiders leave, “it would be a great blow to the city of Oakland. It would set us back.”

Reid added: “I certainly don’t blame the Raiders for exploring their options given the difficulties in our efforts in putting together a deal to keep the Raiders here. Saying it’s been tough to keep the Raiders in Oakland is an understatement. It’s no secret that the Raiders want a new all football stadium, but who will pay for it? And where will it be built has been a big problem."

And in San Diego, Mayor Kevin Faulconer was obviously frustrated and mad, too. Speaking Friday morning, he said he had no idea about the Chargers' plan to move until he heard about it Thursday night. “That’s not being upfront," he said, adding that this deal has been being hammered out over the last nine months. "That’s not how you do business.”

The National Football League has long wanted to have a football team in Los Angeles, a huge market for television viewers, where it now has none. And sports observers point out that both the Chargers and the Raiders are perfect teams to move, because both play in outdated stadiums in their hometowns. Meanwhile, the Oakland situation is even more complicated because there have been talks about the Raiders sharing a team with the Oakland A's baseball team at new stadiums on the same site.

"I don't like it at all," said Raiders fan, Dr. Death, a 27-year-old Sacramento State University student. "But I think this is (Raiders owner) Mark Davis' leverage. From a business aspect, Oakland needs to hurry up and stop dragging its feet."

Oakland Coliseum Authority Executive Director Scott McKibben told NBC Bay Area on Friday that Oakland better hurry up and come up with some sort of plan fast to keep the Raiders in town.

And even as the Raiders-Chargers proposal was rolled out, top Raiders officials said they'd prefer to stay in Oakland if some kind of deal could be worked out.

At the same time the joint announcement was revealed,  the head of an investor group trying to build a massive development at the current O.co Coliseum complex in Oakland on Thursday warned  that the Raiders could leave Oakland if officials in Alameda County don't get  involved in negotiations soon.

Floyd Kephart,  the lead executive of New City Development LLC, said city of Oakland  officials have been "very straightforward" in working on the Coliseum City  project but he said, "We don't have that same thing from Alameda County."

Kephart, the chairman of the board of Renaissance Companies, a San  Diego firm that advises hedge funds, private equity groups and financial  institutions, said a development plan for the Coliseum site "has to be done  in the next few months or the Raiders will leave."

Kephart told the business group that Davis called Alameda County Board of Supervisors President Scott Haggerty on  Wednesday and "asked him to push this along."

But Haggerty said he's already talking to Davis on a weekly basis  and county officials are committed to retaining all of Oakland's pro sports  teams, which are the Raiders, the A's baseball team and the Golden State  Warriors basketball team.

Alameda County's participation is a key component for the $2 billion-plus Coliseum City project because the county and the city own about  two-thirds of the 200 acres at the Coliseum site where the development is  proposed.

Plans call for at least one new sports stadium at the site plus housing, retail stores, hotels and housing.

Kephart said the Coliseum City project "could be the vibrant urban center that everyone envisions and include 5,700 residential units and  475,000 square feet of retail space.

But he said the development "is hung up on the city and county coming together on land."

About $106 million of outstanding debt remains on the current O.co  Coliseum, which is used by both the Raiders and the A's baseball team, but  any deal to pay off the debt would depend on the county's participation.

The Oakland City Council recently granted a 90-day extension to New City Development on its exclusive negotiating agreement with  the city to develop the project.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said she is proposing that the agreement be amended to also include the county so the two government  entities can work together.

"The county has got to be at the table with the city," Schaaf  said.

She said the project hasn't moved forward "as quickly as any of us  would have liked" but she understands that the county needs time to research  the development proposal before it participates in the process.
 

The city envisions up to three new sports venues at the site: a  new football stadium for the Raiders, a new baseball park for the A's and a  new arena for Warriors basketball games and other events.

But so far only the Raiders have expressed strong interest in  participating in the project, while the Warriors have already announced plans  to move across the Bay to San Francisco as early as 2018.

Kephart said if the A's commit by next year to build a new  baseball stadium at the Coliseum site it would be possible to build both a  new football stadium and a baseball stadium at the site in the next five  years.

"You could do two stadiums in five years," he said.

Kephart also said, "There is enormous support in the community"  for the Coliseum City project.

NBC Bay Area's Cheryl Hurd, NBC San Diego's R. Stickney and Bay City News' Jeff Shuttleworth contributed to this report.
   



Photo Credit: MANICA ARCHITECTURE
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Bochy Hospitalized Because of Heart Discomfort]]> Thu, 19 Feb 2015 23:27:51 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP177963479661.jpg

The Giants released a statement Thursday night after manager Bruce Bochy was admitted to a hospital in Arizona. Here is the statement from the team:

"Following his physical yesterday, the Giants medical staff was monitoring Bruce Bochy's heart after he experienced some discomfort. This afternoon, Bruce was admitted to Scottsdale Healthcare Medical Center where doctors performed a medical procedure to insert two stents. He is resting comfortably and will be released tomorrow."

Read more from CSN Bay Area.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Curious Crow Videobombs Levi's Stadium Cam]]> Fri, 20 Feb 2015 07:51:37 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/2015-02-19_18-19-37.jpg

You might say one fan already has a bird’s eye view of Saturday’s stadium series NHL game at Levi’s in Santa Clara.

A timelapse video of the Levi's stadium being turned into a hockey arena for the upcoming San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings hockey game got a surprise cameo by one curious crow. 

The camera caught the black bird checking out the digs and crowing at the camera.

Face-off is set for Saturday night, but for this bird, face-time couldn't wait.


This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>