<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Sports News, Sports Teams, and Scores for the Sharks, 49ers, Raiders,Giants, Bears and More]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Wed, 27 Aug 2014 02:11:37 -0700 Wed, 27 Aug 2014 02:11:37 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Hernandez Evidence to Be Tossed]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 18:41:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP296842589971.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NECN will have more as this story develops.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[USC Football Player Injury Raises Questions ]]> Tue, 26 Aug 2014 21:08:10 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/USC+Josh+Shaw.jpg

USC's football coach addressed questions Tuesday regarding a player who is sidelined indefinitely after suffering ankle sprains he says occurred jumping from a second-floor balcony to rescue his nephew.

Senior cornerback Josh Shaw told USC's Ripsit Blog that he was on the second-floor balcony of his cousin’s Palmdale apartment on Aug. 23 when he saw his 7-year-old nephew struggling in the pool.

Shaw told the blog, which is run by USC's athletics department, that he jumped off the balcony, landed on the concrete and crawled into the pool to rescue the child, suffering the sprains as a result of the jump.

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

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

Sarkisian declined to elaborate on the details of the contradictory accounts.

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

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

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

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

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

Sarkisian told reporters he believes his player.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Andrew Blankstein contributed to this report.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe just not in his presence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, are the 49ers worried? Not really.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Gabbert then took over and looked sharp.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And that’s not good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scott Budman and Bay City News contributed to this report.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any guesses who's going to be next?

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The two teams play each other in December in Oakland. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

So far, so good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Crews Working to Replace Levi's Stadium Field]]> Fri, 22 Aug 2014 09:58:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/gettylevis.jpg

Ground crews at Levi's Stadium are working feverishly to replace the damaged field in time for the 49ers preseason game against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

The turf at the new stadium was in bad enough shape on Wednesday for 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh to cut practice short for safety reasons because players were falling while trying to run their routes.

Several fans noticed an issue with the field on Sunday when the 49ers hosted the Denver Broncos.

Season ticket holder Carol Rossi said she could see grass and divets flying from players heels during the game.

"The grass would actually come up and they had people from the stadium going in there and putting their foot down, grass back in place," Rossi said.

In April, 49ers head groundskeeper Matt Greiner said he had high hopes for the bandera grass during an interview with NBC Bay Area.

"What we found is that the bandera can recover a little quicker," Greiner said at the time. "It keeps its color a little longer into the season and its lateral growth so the rise that make the network, the cleat plants in really holds up nicely through wear and traffic."

The grass was supposed to withstand the wear and tear of the entire season, but after just a couple of game the 2.5-acres of grass has become an issue.

Crews spent Thursday ripping out the field. Fans are worried and skeptical that the grass will be ready in time for Sunday's game.

"I think they should move the game to another field," Rossi said. "Hopefully no one gets injured."

The 49ers on Thursday declined to comment on the turf, but said in a statement they are looking forward to hosting the Chargers on Sunday, and that appropriate steps are being taken.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Charges Filed Against Teens Who Entered Ray Allen's Home]]> Thu, 21 Aug 2014 00:16:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/081414+ray+allen.jpg

The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office filed trespassing charges against the seven people who walked into former Miami Heat star Ray Allen’s home last week.

Coral Gables Police originally said they were not filing charges against the teenagers. The teens were identified by police as: Ernesto Romero, 18; Jonathan Ramirez, 19; Kevin Ramos, 18; Alana Garcia, 18; Christian Lobo, 18; Angel Sanchez, 18; and Jorge Guerrero, 18.

Coral Gables Police said the group of seven teens was at a party next door when they decided to enter Allen’s home through an unlocked back door in the early morning hours of August 14. Allen wasn’t home, but his wife and children were sleeping inside and were awoken by the commotion.

The teens ran from the home after Shannon Allen, Ray’s wife, yelled at them, according to Coral Gables Police. In a 911 call made by Shannon Allen, she described the teens’ actions as if they were on a tour of the home.

“They were like, if they were on a tour, pointing out stuff,” Allen told the 911 dispatcher. “Like, ‘Oh, wow, look at this picture. Oh my God, look, he’s got a flat screen TV.’”

The Allens met with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office this week to give statements on the incident and to push for charges to be brought against the teens.

The Allen's attorney, Gregory Victor, gave a statement Wendesday afternoon that read:

"Ray and Shannon have been advised that the Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office has filed Trespass charges against the 7 intruders to their home. The determination as to what specific charges to file was entirely within the discretion of the State Attorney's Office and the Allen's are satisfied with both the decision to prosecute and the charges being pursued. The Allen's are thankful that no one was hurt and they are appreciative for all the support they have received from their community."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[De La Salle Football Team's Storied History to Hit Big Screen]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 23:52:53 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0820-2014-DeLaSalle.jpg

As the De La Salle High School football team prepares for the lights of Friday night, the national spotlight is shining on the program.

"Little bit of pride I suppose, it means I did something right or we've done something right," said Bob Ladouceur, who previously served as the team's head coach.

Ladouceur coached the team to 151 consecutive wins over a 12-year period.

The program won multiple state and national titles. Now, the program is set to receive even more recognition with a movie about the team and school called, "When The Game Stands Tall." The film opens nationwide on Friday.

"It's just kind of a good story to tell and what's possible with youth," Ladouceur said.

Ladouceur is played by actor Jim Caviezel in the movie which profiles the 2004 season.

During that time, the team finally lost a game, but more importantly lost star player Terrance Kelly who was shot and killed.

"Had a really tough time getting that team started, we overcame a lot of adversity and that's basically what the film is about and overcoming obstacles too," Ladouceur said.

Junior quarterback Anthony Sweeney says he feels honored the school is being featured.

"Crazy in a sense that it's such a privilege just there's so much history behind this school," Sweeney said. "So much camaraderie between the years, past years, everything."

Current head coach Justin Alumbaugh said the team is staying focused.

"You could see it as excitement or a distraction, it's certainly adding a new element to our team," Alumbaugh said. "It's pretty exciting to have your school have a movie about it."

The team's first game is next Friday. Everyone on the team said they'll be ready when the stadium and Hollywood lights come on.

Photo Credit: Ian Cull]]>
<![CDATA[Twitter Cheers Mo'ne Davis at LLWS]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 21:36:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP35427040879.jpg

Some hard-hitting Las Vegas batters may have gotten the better of Philadelphia's Taney Dragons at the Little League World Series on Wednesday, but Taney fans' confidence in their team, led by pitching phenom Mo'ne Davis, didn't flag on Twitter.

Taney lost to their Nevadan rivals 8-1, despite plenty of impressive plays — including a hit from Mo'ne in the fourth inning that helped give the Dragons their first run of the game, and an impressive sliding catch by Zion Spearman. Fortunately Taney isn't out yet. They play Chicago Thursday night for a shot at the U.S. Final.

Wednesday night, supporters from their hometown and far beyond took to Twitter to cheer on Taney with the hashtag #BelieveInDragons.

Before the game, Philly's big-league, grown-up teams had offered their support, too:

 So did state-wide leaders:

 One fan had a helpful reminder to over-eager fans, though, that they're just kids, after all:

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[How Star Little League Team Taney Dragons Got Their Start]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 08:56:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP35427040879.jpg

Twenty years ago, the league behind the Taney Dragons started with three parents, a coach and a permit to play on a Philadelphia field.

Now, the youth baseball team is the subject of national media frenzy thanks to its remarkable Little League World Series run and star pitcher Mo'ne Davis' 70 mph fastball.

“The kind of attention we’ve had has absolutely been mind-boggling," co-founder Ellen Siegel said.

Siegel is one of the five original founders of the Taney Youth Baseball Organization, which was formed back in 1994 by a group of locals who wanted to create a different kind of team for the city's children.

“We wanted to be inclusive and allow girls to play,” Siegel said. “We also wanted players who weren’t as skilled to be allowed to play with the very skilled players. We wanted to be instructional which was our biggest point. Game, scores and winning weren’t as important as teaching all the kids proper mechanics, good sportsmanship, teamwork, camaraderie and knowing the game.”

The decision to create a co-ed squad paved the way for the team's roster to incude 13-year-old Davis, whose series shutout and spunk have landed her national headlines and a spot on the cover of Sports Illustrated. She's set to pitch again tonight, when the team goes up against Las Vegas.

Siegel, a clinical psychologist who serves on the league’s board of directors and helps administer the league’s registrar, website and Facebook page, still remembers the league’s humble beginnings at the Markward Recreation Center on 400 South Taney Street in Philly.

“We practiced there and we’d have scrimmage games there and it was so wonderful to have something in our neighborhood with our kids,” Siegel said. “Then we thought it would be wonderful if we started a league of our own.”

While the Markward Rec Center served as the home field, neighborhood parents and kids had a different name for it that ended up sticking.

“All the neighbors called it Taney Field because it’s on Taney Street,” Siegel said. “I don’t think anyone really knows the real name. If you ask anyone where Markward is they’ll say, ‘what?’ If you ask them where Taney is they all know. That’s where we got our name.”

The league remained a local attraction for nearly two decades until last year, when they officially joined the Little League.

“We’ve always had the same kind of rule as Little League which is you need to play on your intramural team during the season,” Siegel said. “Then after that there are tryouts for the select tournament teams. The select, more competitive team will play after our regular season is over.”

With the tremendous success of the Dragons and the national attention they’ve gained, Siegel says the league's popularity may become a problem.

“We’re already getting so many requests to join us next year and we don’t have open registration until January,” Siegel said. “We’re worried about the influx of how many people would want to play because we can’t accommodate. We already had 73 teams this year from ages 3 to 16. We don’t have places for them.”

Siegel hopes the league will receive offers for more fields for the teams to play on.

“We’re in a situation where we don’t own our own fields, like a suburban league,” Siegel said. “We use Philadelphia Parks and Recreation fields.”

Regardless of what happens with the increased interest or with Thursday’s game, Siegel is confident the spirit of the league, defined by unity rather than winning, will remain high for years to come.

“We care about each other,” Siegel said. “Taney families, even on regular teams bond together and help each other out. To me that’s the essence of what we’re all about. The sense of community.”

To donate to the league, visit the Taney Youth Baseball Association website.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Kaepernick, 49ers Offense, Hoping to Find Rhythm]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 08:43:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/summmerrkaep.jpg

The 49ers are 0-2 this preseason and coming off a 34-0 blowout loss to the Denver Broncos.

San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick just waves off the worries those results have produced in some fans.

He says the offense will click. It just needs time and repetitions. Plus, few starters have played much in the first two games against the Ravens and Broncos. Because of that, the 49ers rank near the bottom of the NFL in total points – only three – plays from scrimmage (46) and total offensive yards per game (187).

Kaepernick has played just three series and the 49ers haven’t scored a touchdown with him. So far, he’s only 6-of-10 passing for 56 yards.

“Missed a couple passes here and there,” he told a writer from the team’s website this week.

Yet Kaepernick believes everything will be fine. In fact, in the 49ers’ next exhibition game this Sunday against the Chargers, it’s possible the starters will play a bit deeper into the game to build some momentum and confidence heading toward the Sept. 7 regular-season opener vs. the Cowboys.

“Establish a rhythm,” Kaepernick said Tuesday, when asked what his goal is for the game against San Diego. “I think that’s the biggest thing we need to do right now.”

Head coach Jim Harbaugh, in fact, seemed to point to this as a big week for the 49ers. Though he praised the offensive line and running game after the loss to Denver, he wasn’t happy with the offense in general, and pointed a finger at the backup quarterbacks – Blaine Gabbert, Josh Johnson and McLeod Bethel-Thompson – as needing to step up.

“Our passing game turned the ball over too much,” he said. “Need better timing, better accuracy. And we’re going to get better. It’s going to be an important week for us. This will be a big week. We need improvement. And we need to make decisions on who to play. We’re not going to keep experimenting. We need to tighten this down fast.”

Harbaugh didn’t limit his criticism to the offense, however. He said it’s time for the entire team to start finding its footing this Sunday.

“We’re working to improve,” he said. “It’s an important week for us. Every area in the football team we’re just trying to get better at this week.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Skeptics Remain About Raiders in 2014]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 08:14:49 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/170*120/theschauberr.jpg

The Raiders have made dramatic changes to their roster, scored well in the draft and are coming off a preseason victory in which rookie quarterback Derek Carr flashed the talent that made him a high second-round draft pick.

So, there are many in the Bay Area and beyond who believe the 2014 version of the Oakland Raiders will be much better, and that general manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen will turn the corner and be on their way to rebuilding the franchise.

But not everyone agrees.

In his preseason preview of the Raiders for NFL.com this week, Gregg Rosenthal doesn’t buy into the optimism. He predicts another fourth-place finish for the team in the AFC West and another season at the bottom of the NFL power rankings by the end of 2014.

“We’ll be talking about a new Raiders coach and general manager,” wrote Rosenthal of what people will be saying about the team after the season. “Allen and McKenzie were dealt a bad hand, and owner Mark Davis’ expectations are unrealistically high.”

Rosenthal acknowledges that the team has much more talent going into 2014 than it did the past two seasons when it had back-to-back 4-12 records. The offensive and defensive lines are stronger and deeper, No. 1 draft choice Khalil Mack could be a playmaker at linebacker and Carr could eventually breathe new life into the franchise.

But for now, Rosenthal sees way too many problem areas: Matt Schaub has been shaky at quarterback in two exhibitions, running backs Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew are trying to rebound and the secondary is a giant question mark because of Charles Woodson’s age, D.J. Hayden’s injury and the infusion of two former 49ers corners in Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers.

Schaub, in particular, is a worry, he says.

“Schaub has reportedly been solid in practice,” wrote Rosenthal. “But the book is out on him as a quarterback. He never trusts his arm to go deep and defenders sit on his routes. That’s especially frustrating because the Raiders have a nice group of vertical receivers. We’d expect to see Carr start sometime in October.”

Schaub is expected to play all of the first half this Friday night in exhibition game No. 3 vs. the Packers, so Raiders fans should get more of an indication of his level of play.

Schaub told reporters this week that he’s confident in the offense and in himself, and just needs to settle in, have success on first down to keep away from third-and-long situations and play smart football.

“I think we have big-play ability on the outside,” Schaub said. “We have big, fast, physical receivers and in one-on-one situations they have shown they can catch the football at the high point and outjump a defensive back or go up and get it when you give them a chance.”

The question is, is Schaub the guy to give them the best chance to make those plays?

Allen, who watches Schaub every day, believes he is – even as many observers such as Rosenthal  don’t.

“I’m confident with where we’re at offensively,” Allen told Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group. “I know our group is confident with where we’re at. I know Matt Schaub is confident with where he’s at.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bank Forecloses on Dwyane Wade's Suburban Chicago Home]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:01:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DWade+Tie+Bar.jpg

Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade makes millions of dollars a year playing basketball, but it appears that money hasn't been going toward his home in Chicago's south suburbs.

According to documents obtained by NBC Chicago, The PrivateBank and Trust Company is attempting to foreclose on Wade's $1.2 million home in the 1600 block of E. 158th Street in South Holland.

Wade is listed as the owner of the home, along with his ex-wife Siohvaughn Wade. The former couple engaged in a bitter, public divorce in the which the basketball star was granted custody of their children.

According to court documents, the former couple owes almost $541,000 on the home, including close to $1,500 in late charges, and monthly mortgage payments had not been made on the home from November 2013 to July 2014.

Wade's attorney's sent a statement Wednesday. 

"Dwyane Wade and his ex-wife Siohvaughn Funches reached a financial settlement in July 2013, which included Ms. Funches being awarded the Chicago home in which she resides.  Mr. Wade had provided a very generous settlement to Ms. Funches to continue to live a wonderful lifestyle and maintain the home mortgage payments he previously paid before the settlement was reached. As the sole homeowner, Ms. Funches defaulted on the mortgage and the home is now under foreclosure with the bank. We will take the necessary measures to affirm Mr. Wade is not responsible for the home’s foreclosure since he was absolved of all financial responsibility when Ms. Funches was awarded the house.”

The 7,847 square foot home has six bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a theater and exercise room, a guest house, in-ground pool and of course, a basketball court.

Siohvaughn Wade is believed to be the occupant of the home.

Wade is now engaged to actress Gabrielle Union.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ballmer Leaves Microsoft Board]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 19:58:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/216*120/Steve+Ballmer+Clips+1.JPG

Steve Ballmer on Tuesday left Microsoft's Board of Directors, citing new commitments as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, a day after publicly stepping into his role with the team.

"The fall will be hectic between teaching a new class and the start of the NBA season so my departure from the board is effective immediately," Ballmer wrote in his resignation letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. "I see a combination of the Clippers, civic contribution, teaching and study taking a lot of time."

Ballmer, who handed off the reins as CEO to Nadella in February, expressed confidence in the company’s future and said he is proud that "Microsoft has been my life's work."

"I bleed Microsoft -- have for 34 years and I always will," he wrote.

Ballmer bought the Clippers from Shelly Sterling, wife of former owner Donald Sterling, for $2 billion in May.

The deal was approved by the NBA and finalized Aug. 12 after a tumultuous court battle between the Sterlings.

Shelly Sterling said last week she is "thrilled that the Clippers now have such a wonderful new owner."

Ballmer introduced himself to thousands of Clippers fans on Monday during an energetic rally at the Staples Center that also featured several players and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. Ballmer promised to keep the team in LA and to usher in an era of many victories.

"This is an amazing new day in Clippers history," Coach Doc Rivers said at the rally. "I couldn't be more excited to work together with Steve as we continue to build a first-class, championship organization."

In a response to Ballmer's resignation letter Tuesday, Nadella thanked Ballmer for his time at the company and wished him success.

"I am sure that you will bring the same boldness, passion and impact to your new endeavors that you brought to Microsoft," Nadella wrote.

Ballmer remains a shareholder at Microsoft.

<![CDATA[Little League Star Mo'ne Davis on Sports Illustrated]]> Wed, 20 Aug 2014 06:17:54 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/monedavisap.jpg

Mo'ne Davis, the 13-year-old girl who's become baseball's breakout star, has become the first Little League player ever to make the national cover of Sports Illustrated.

Not that the Philadelphia eighth-grader needs any more firsts under her belt — not with her blinding 70 mph fastball, and certainly not with the Series shutout she threw last week, making her the first girl ever to throw a shutout in Little League World Series history.

Mo'ne, an honor roll student at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, has helped make her team the Taney Dragons the first Little League team from Philadelphia ever to advance to the Series in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. 

But Mo'ne's sports goals extend far beyond baseball.

"To be honest, I never thought I'd be famous for baseball," she told Sports Illustrated. "I want to play basketball, and I could also do both basketball and baseball — but I really want to play basketball."

She one day hopes to play basketball for the University of Connecticut on a full scholarship, preferably as the point guard for the Huskies. Her mother Lakeisha McLean says she's confident her daughter can do it.

"When Mo’ne says she's gonna do it, she's gonna do it," McLean said.

Mo'ne will take the mound Wednesday in Las Vegas when the Taney Dragons take on the only other undefeated team in the Series, the Mountain Ridge team from Las Vegas.

--David Chang contributed additional reporting.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[49ers Fans Wilt In Searing August Santa Clara Heat]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 20:41:45 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Twitter21.jpg

Some 49ers fans are wishing the team hadn't said goodbye to the Candlestick Park fog in favor of the relentless Santa Clara sunshine.

The initial reaction comes after a fan died from suffering cardiac arrest during Sunday's preseason game, with thousands more in attendance experiencing sunburn, "over-heated cellphones, sweat-drenched jerseys" -- and a pining for the old days, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

"I miss the 'Stick," one fan, Gabe Hernandez of Roseville, told the newspaper.

This wasn't what the 49ers expected when the Levi's Stadium $1.3 billion budget was considered.

Hernandez wasn't alone. Fans told the Mercury News Sunday's heat was "miserable," and "unbearable." Heat problems accounted for "most" of the 60 emergency calls made at the stadium.

Two people went to emergency rooms for heat exposure. One fan, who was seated in section 221, was seen to pour sweat and vomit before falling unconscious. Paramedics performed CPR before the man was pronounced dead.

Heat could have been a factor in the man's death, which was attributed to a "cardiac emergency," the newspaper reported.

49ers officials are now advising fans to prepare for a visit to the stadium the same way they would for a "voyage to the beach," the newspaper reported: sunblock and hat, plenty of water, moderate alcohol, and plenty of breaks to go sit in the shade.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[12 Arrested During 49ers' First Levi's Stadium Game]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 20:50:06 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/levisgetty3.jpg

Twelve people celebrated the opening of the San Francisco 49ers' new home at Levi's Stadium by becoming the first people arrested at the Niners' brand-new stadium, according to reports.

The Niners' debut at Levi's Stadium, their $1.3 billion partially-taxpayer-funded new home in Santa Clara and the newest stadium in the NFL, saw the team lose 34-0 to the visiting Denver Broncos.

At least ten people were busted for public drunkenness, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

One person was arrested for suspicion of domestic violence, however, and another allegedly threatened a cop.

About 70,000 people attended the game.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Niners' Rookie Acker May Have Turned the Corner]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 10:00:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/pfangio.jpg

When the 49ers selected cornerback Kenneth Acker in the sixth round of the May draft, he looked like a long shot to make the opening-game roster.

Tramaine Brock, Chris Culliver, Jimmie Ward, Perrish Cox, Darryl Morris, Chris Cook and fourth-round pick Dontae Johnson all ranked ahead of Acker on the depth chart going into training camp.

But with two preseason games remaining, Acker is playing well and could still be in position to make an impact as a rookie, both on special teams and as a reserve cornerback.

Against the Broncos Sunday in Denver’s 34-0 victory over San Francisco, Acker had several standout plays, capping a successful week in which he also had two interceptions in practice.

Acker had a slow start to camp, trying to catch up and make the right reads, but now the former SMU standout is playing with much more confidence.

“My first couple of weeks were a learning experience,” he told Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. “Now it’s time to play.”

Acker played 25 snaps against Denver and broke up a pass, drew offensive pass interference and made an interception that was wiped out by a penalty. Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle also reported that Pro Football Focus determined Acker allowed just one catch on two targets for 5 yards, while fellow rookie Johnson allowed three catches on three targets for 53 yards.

Acker told Kevin Lynch of the Chronicle that he’s learned a lot from his coaches and veteran teammates this summer, including how to use his outside hand – the one away from the receiver – to knock away passes, because officials are less likely to call pass interference.

At this point, Acker knows if he can continue to make progress, he has a chance to make the opening-game roster on Sept. 7 vs. Dallas. He’ll get his next opportunity to show what he can do this Sunday against the Chargers at Levi’s Stadium.

“The coaches sat us all down after the first game and really talked to us how everyone has a chance to be on the team and there’s an opportunity for us to make a play on any play,” he told the Sacramento Bee.

Derrick Odum, who was Acker’s secondary coach at SMU, believes Acker is a terrific athlete who can blossom into a good NFL player with experience. Odum told a writer for the 49ers website that because Acker was an all-purpose player for his high school team, he never mastered techniques and fundamentals until late in his college career.

By his senior year, he started to flourish.

“He understood how important technique was to his position,” Odum said. “It gave him an advantage right away. He really worked on the little nuances of playing the corner spot.”

Now, it seems, Acker is still learning and still improving. Niners defensive coordinator Vic Fangio went into this training camp in need of playmakers in the secondary. Recently, Acker is trying to show he belongs.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[So Far, Raiders' Mack Has Been Quiet]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 09:59:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/kaymackk.jpg

In his very first exhibition game for the New York Giants in 1981, rookie linebacker Lawrence Taylor had two sacks against the Chicago Bears, backing up all the buzz in the team’s training camp that summer that he was something special.

Taylor picked up the nickname “Superman” from teammates that summer, and quarterback Phil Simms said Taylor was a player like no other.

“On the pass rush, he’s an animal,” Simms told the New York Times at the time. “He’s either going to run around you or over you. With his quickness, he’s full speed at two steps.”

Taylor, of course, was indeed terrific. He went on to a Hall of Fame career with the Giants and set the standard for pass-rushing linebackers with 132.5 sacks. So, comparing any linebacker to Taylor – especially a rookie – is unfair.

Yet after all the news coming out of training camp earlier this summer that Raiders’ No. 1 pick Khalil Mack was wowing coaches and teammates, Raiders fans were eager to see him unleashed in exhibition games. But in those two games, against the Vikings and Lions, Mack has been quiet.

Raiders fans on Twitter during the past two games have been asking the question, “Where is Mack? When is Mack going to start doing something?”

And Tim Kawakami, longtime columnist for the Bay Area News Group, wrote after the Friday night victory over the Lions that Mack has been strangely unproductive recently.

“Obviously it’s very early in Mack’s career and he should step in as a good producer right away,” he wrote. “But is he going to be the immediately dominant playmaker (head coach Dennis) Allen’s defense badly needs? So far there are zero signs of that.”

Mack did get his first sack against the Lions, taking down backup quarterback Kellen Moore late in the third quarter, but it came against Detroit backups. Against the first team, Mack barely made a ripple of difference.

Allen, of course, says Mack needs time.

“It’s numbers of plays, it’s trying to get his play count up,” Allen told reporters. “The only way you can get better is get experience. I know he was a high draft choice, but he needs to play.”

Allen did acknowledge, however, that Mack hasn’t done much to meet the expectations of Raiders fans, who want to see a high-impact difference-maker in 2014.

“Well, obviously there wasn’t a ton of production from the standpoint of tackles or assists or sacks or whatever the case may be,”  Allen told the San Jose Mercury News of the first two preseason games. “But I thought he made improvement from where he was at last week. We’ll have plenty of more opportunities to do some different things and get him maybe a little more involved.”

Then again, the Raiders would be wise to be low key with Mack this preseason. It does them no good to tip their hand on how they intend to use him this season – moving him all over the field – in August.

His teammates say Mack is a rare talent, and in recent joint practices with the Dallas Cowboys, Mack got the best of Dallas offensive tackle Tyron Smith, a Pro Bowler in 2013 who has been very good this preseason.

Rowan Kavner, who writes for DallasCowboys.com, said Smith couldn’t contain Mack in drills. “Khalil Mack did better 1 on 1 against Tyron than I’ve seen anyone do at camp,” Kavner wrote. “Usually just destroys everyone.”

So, are the Raiders being coy with Mack in the preseason? Or will Mack finally get some wow moments this Friday night against the Packers?

Oakland fans are eager to find out.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NFL: Immune to State Labor Law in Raiderette Suit]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 06:10:46 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/Fourth+of+July+2010+-+073.jpg

The National Football League made its first formal response to being sued by two Oakland Raiders cheerleaders, arguing that the Raiderettes can't pursue their claims to be paid at least minimum wage  because the NFL and its teams are "immune from all state Labor Code provisions."

The NFL rebuttal, filed on Aug. 5 in Alameda County Superior Court, argues that because the California Supreme Court found that players cannot bring antitrust claims against their teams, the NFL, therefore, is immune from state labor laws. 

"This is a very sweeping claim," said John Logan, Director of Labor and Employment Studies at San Francisco State University and a Senior Research Associate University of California-Berkeley Labor Center. "It's surprising and probably not one that the courts are likely to agree with."

Logan has no direct knowledge of the case, but was asked by NBC Bay Area to review the NFL's brief.

It's not that the NFL disputes whether the cheerleaders have been paid fairly or not. But put more simply, the NFL argued the Raiderettes' "straightforward labor dispute," should be between the cheerleaders and the Raiders - not the league.

NFL attorneys Dale Barnes and Debra Fischer of Bingham McCutchen wrote that the NFL isn't immune from all labor laws, but the league cannot "be constitutionally burdened with challenges brought under divergent state legislation.”

Those "divergent" laws, the NFL replied, would "disrupt and have a significant impact on the whole league fabric, not just on the state's one or two teams."

"National sports leagues are 'unique,'" the lawyers continued. And the Raiderettes' claims that her wages are "depressed"..."would constitute an impermissible burden on interstate commerce and must be dismissed."

But the NFL's response  constitutes "legal absurdity," according to Drexel Bradshaw of San Fransisco's Bradshaw and Associates PC, who is representing Caitlin Y. and Jenny C., Raiderettes who sued the Raiders and the NFL in June.

Caitlin, Jenny and other cheerleaders around the country have sued various teams, alleging they don't even make minimum wage with all the time they are required to attend mandatory charity events and practices. Caitlin and Jenny are the only two to have taken on the NFL as well.

Caitlin and Jenny's case has not come to a final resolution. Neither has a previous case first filed in January by Lacy T. and Sarah G. in a case solely against the Raiders. But in the meantime, for the first time this season, the Raiders offered the cheerleaders a new contract, and began paying the Raiderettes $9 an hour - California's minimum wage - for the first time for all the hours they work. Before this, the cheerleaders were paid $125 per game, and hadn't received compensation for anything beyond that.

"There is no logical limit to their argument," Bradshaw added in a phone interview on Monday. "If what they say is true, then no employee of any club team is afforded protections. That means anyone who is not a player - coaches, custodian, secretaries, groundskeepers, no one would be treated as a legitimate employee."

When Caitlin - who made the squad again this year - was told of the legal reply, Bradshaw said she "just laughed."

In a separate email to NBC Bay Area, Fischer said: "Every employee of the Raiders is entitled to all appropriate protections under California law. The assumption of the plaintiffs' lawyer is that if they cannot successfully sue the NFL, then non-player team employees don't have such protections. Of course they do, from the team. The team is their employer, not the NFL."

That's because the underlying theme of the NFL argument is that the league is not the right entity to sue: The NFL has no control over the individual hiring, firing and day-to-day supervision of the workers supplying the labor. "The NFL is not a party to, and has no authority to enforce the Raiderette Agreement," the lawyers wrote. "The NFL simply does not belong in this case."

The NFL based its argument in part on argument on a 1983 California Supreme Court case called Partee v. San Diego Chargers where a former player sued under California antitrust law.

The court in that case found that California antitrust laws couldn't be applied to to players who have collectively bargained agreements because it could affect how the team would play on the field.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Caitlin Y.]]>
<![CDATA[Notable Little League Graduates]]> Tue, 19 Aug 2014 09:29:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/edt-tom-selleck-486432585.jpg From Vice President Joe Biden to Hollywood stars Adam Sandler and Danny DeVito, a look at some of the most famous Little League graduates.

Photo Credit: WireImage]]>
<![CDATA[Gabbert Looking Like a Bad Investment]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 09:56:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/GGgabberttt.jpg

On Sunday, the 49ers opened their brand-new home, and the place looked beautiful.

Levi’s Stadium was the star of what was an otherwise ugly show by the home team, a 34-0 exhibition loss to the Denver Broncos.

Of course, exhibition results don’t mean much. Key Niners players weren’t on the field or played very little. But one 49er who needed to have a good game, didn’t: backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

After a bad game in Baltimore in Week 1 of the preseason, Gabbert was equally ineffective vs. the Broncos. In two weeks he’s 11-of-26 for 60 yards and two interceptions with a passer rating of 17.9. Plus, as Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group pointed out, his four completions in Sunday’s second quarter were for 3, 3, 1 and 4 yards.

Peter King of Sports Illustrated’s Monday Morning Quarterback covered Sunday’s game and sounded the alarm on Gabbert.

“(Colin) Kaepernick is going to get hit a lot (as a running quarterback), and when quarterbacks get hit a lot, they’re subject to injury,” King wrote. “And the Niners’ backup situation is grim. Blaine Gabbert looks as bad as he ever did in Jacksonville, and he’s got a $2 million guaranteed deal to be an insurance policy, and (head coach Jim) Harbaugh said Sunday there’d be no cavalry on the way; the backup would be either Gabbert or Josh Johnson.”

Gabbert – hoping for a re-boot to his career after losing his job in Jacksonville – has been disappointed by his play. He’s received plenty of snaps the first two games, but his accuracy has been off and he’s been picked off twice.

“The biggest thing I have to do is take care of the football,” Gabbert told Inman, when asked about the third-quarter interception he threw. “It’s just one play. You’ve got to eliminate that one play in a drive because that changes the outcome of it.”

One of the problems facing the 49ers at this point, however, is that Nos. 3 and 4 QBs Johnson and McLeod Bethel-Thompson aren't playing well, either.

Johnson was 2-for-3 Sunday for 9 yards, but lost a fumble; Bethel-Thompson threw an interception in his fourth-quarter appearance.

The play of his backup quarterbacks prompted Harbaugh to tell reporters that “whoever doesn’t turn the ball over will be” win the No. 2 job behind Kaepernick. Their next audition will come this Sunday against the Chargers.

Although Gabbert is owed $2 million for the 2014 season, the 49ers can’t let that play a factor in their decision. If Johnson outplays him, he should be given the job. Or, if there’s a promising QB left available from another team, perhaps the 49ers should bring him in before the Sept. 7 opener.

Because through two exhibition games, Gabbert hasn’t shown he’s any better than he was with the Jaguars, where he turned into a sack and interception machine. A $2 million conract is a big bite to swallow, but it might be even more painful to watch Gabbert try to lead the 49ers in 2014 if something happens to Kaepernick.


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders' Butler Showing He's a Catch]]> Mon, 18 Aug 2014 08:50:09 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/170*120/BBBButler.jpg

Brice Butler is the Raiders’ Lord of August.

Last season as a rookie, the wide receiver led Oakland in receptions. Through two exhibition games this summer he leads again, with eight catches for 118 yards, including the game-winning touchdown catch Friday night vs. the Lions.

Butler is definitely in the mix for earning playing time in the regular season, which begins Sept. 7 with the Raiders’ trip east to play the Jets.

This season, Butler is hoping the fall and winter are as good as his summer.

After a good camp in 2013, injuries limited his playing time, and he appeared in just 10 regular-season games, making nine catches for 103 yards.

With the production he’s shown so far in camp and in two preseason games, Butler is earning the confidence of Raiders quarterbacks.

In Friday night’s victory over Detroit, Matt McGloin found Butler for the 19-yard score with six seconds left to secure a 27-26 decision.

“That play wasn’t designed for me,” Butler told a writer for the team’s website. “It was designed for Greg Jenkins, who was in on that play. It was a post route and I was supposed to clear the safety out of the play … I just kept running and I noticed it kept opening up … and that ball came out and I just caught it.”

Rod Streater and James Jones are at the top of the wide receiver depth chart, with Butler battling Denarius Moore, Andre Holmes, Juron Criner and Greg Little to be among a group of probably six wideouts on the opening-day roster.

“It’s a tight position battle,” head coach Dennis Allen told the San Francisco Chronicle this past weekend. “I think all these guys bring a little bit something different to the table. They’ve all got certain things that they do really well and certain things that they may not be quite as good at. I think that’s a positive for us.”

Butler has good size at 6-foot-3 and has shown he can get open. Friday night, he had four catches for 74 yards, with a long of 29 yards – a catch of a Derek Carr pass that helped set up a score.

The second-year player from San Diego State says he’s determined to make a bigger splash in 2014 than he did as a rookie.

“Last year I led the whole team in receiving the whole preseason, then caught nine balls in the regular season,” he said. “For me, it’s just about building and building and being stronger throughout the season, not just having a couple good first couple of weeks now.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>