<![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 Wed, 27 May 2015 16:44:55 -0700 Wed, 27 May 2015 16:44:55 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA["Bring on LeBron:" Warriors Co-Owner Confident]]> Wed, 27 May 2015 14:23:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ChamathPalihapitiya.jpg

While most of the hype is on the court, venture capitalist and part-Golden State Warriors owner Chamath Palihapitiya received some media attention on Wednesday ahead of Game 5 against the Houston Rockets.

Palihapitiya, born in Sri Lanka and raised in Canada, was asked to be the keyknote speaker at a naturalization ceremony at the Heritage Theater in Campbell about his journey and successes just hours before the big game in Oracle Arena in Oakland.

Palihapitiya could have talked at length about electrical engineering, his early days at AOL and Facebook, or being an early founder of the pro-immigration reform group, FWD.us.

Instead, he chose to speak about hoops.

“It’s an incredible run,” he said of the Warriors. “I think it’s a testament to a fantastic organization: A great ownership group and fantastic players.”

He did acknowledge that the “last game was a little scary” and “thank God Steph is OK,” referring to when Warriors guard and MVP Stephen Curry suffered a head contusion on Monday night in the first half of Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals.

But Curry’s doctors cleared him to play Game 5 on Wednesday night and Palihapitiya, like most Warriors fans, was feeling confident.

“But I kinda feel like we are going to close it out," he said, adding this taunt: "Bring on LeBron."

If Warriors win, they’ll take on the Cleveland Cavaliers’ forward LeBron James in the NBA Finals.

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

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Sharks Hire New Head Coach]]> Wed, 27 May 2015 13:14:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/peter-deboer.jpg

The San Jose Sharks will hire former New Jersey and Florida coach Peter DeBoer to replace the departed Todd McLellan.

A person familiar with the search said Wednesday that DeBoer will be formally introduced later this week. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the hire yet. ESPN first reported the move.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Sharks sent out a media invitation to introduce the team's "new head coach" on Thursday at 1 p.m.

DeBeor replaces Todd McLellan who left the team in April after the Sharks didn't make the playoffs, the first time since 2003. DeBoer was one of McLellan's assistants for Team Canada at the World Championships.

DeBoer took over in New Jersey the following season, and led the Devils to the Stanley Cup Finals where they lost to the Los Angeles Kings.

New Jersey missed the playoffs in 2013 and 2014 and DeBoer was fired 36 games into the 2014-15 campaign after a 12-17-7 start, Comcast Sports reported.

Before that, DeBoer was the head coach of the Florida Panthers for three seasons and was fired in 2011 after missing the playoffs all three seasons.

Still DeBoer has won coach of the year of the award, twice, in Ontario, Canada.

McLellan spent seven seasons in San Jose and most recently has been the head coach in Edmonton. He is also co-owner of the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Niners' Patton Says Third Year Will be His Best]]> Wed, 27 May 2015 08:54:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/191*120/mreleven.jpg

Almost from the moment the 49ers drafted wide receiver Quinton Patton in the fourth round of the 2013 draft, the team has liked the former Louisiana Tech star.

He flew out early to the Bay Area on his own dime  – before he was required – impressing Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers head coach at the time.

“The fact that he would buy his own ticket and fly out here, to me, just speaks volumes about him," said Harbaugh. "I mean, to be honest with you, he reminds me of me. That’s something I would have done.”

But in his two seasons with the 49ers, Patton has yet to make a big impact.

He’s had his moments – such as a big catch near the end of the team’s final regular-season game in 2013 that set up a victory – but they have been isolated. Over two seasons he has just six catches for 78 yards and no scores.

Patton isn't a speedburner or a huge, physical target (at 6 feet and 204 pounds). But he has good hands, runs precise routes and has a knack for being able to come up with the ball. Coaches also have liked his work ethic.

Now, as he gets plenty of work in the 49ers’ ongoing organized team activities (OTAs) with the other receivers, he sees an opportunity to earn more playing time in 2015.  Veterans Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith are projected to be the team’s starters, but Patton is a candidate for the third receiver, along with Bruce Ellington, Jerome Simpson, Chuck Jacobs and several undrafted rookies.

He went to work early, going to Arizona for several weeks to practice with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to establish better chemistry. Now he’s hoping to make an impression through OTAs, minicamp and summer training camp and exhibitions to be a big part of the Niners new offense under coordinator Geep Chryst in 2015.

According to several reports, Patton already has had some impressive plays in offseason practices. Patton, too, watches film from those workouts and sees a different and better player than the one he was in 2013 and 2014.

“It’s a totally different person (on film),” he told the media. “It’s a more confident person and the growth that you can see through Year 1, 2 and upcoming 3. I’m smarter and work harder than I did before.”

Patton knows he has a golden opportunity under a new head coach and staff to make a statement and he’s determined to make the most of it.

“I’m not going to say it’s my time, but I’m coming,” Patton said. “Playtime is over with.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders' Streater Eager to Play Again]]> Wed, 27 May 2015 08:52:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/176*120/thestreatrrrr.jpg

Rod Streater is from Temple, hardly a bastion of college football excellence.

Though he had a good career for the Owls, he was unproven against major talent and went undrafted in 2012, eventually signing with the Raiders as a free agent.

But the minute he suited up, Streater impressed coaches and teammates. He made the roster as a long shot in 2012, started two games and had 39 catches. The next season Streater started 14 games, caught 60 passes for 888 yards – a 14.8-yard average -- and scored four touchdowns. So, going into 2014, big things were expected of the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder.

But a foot injury cost him the season. He played just three games, catching only nine passes.

Now, however, he’s ready to pick up right where he left off – but the dynamic has changed in the Raiders receiving corps. This offseason, the Raiders added free-agent veteran Michael Crabtree and used the fourth overall pick in the NFL draft on Amari Cooper, whom some believe was the best player available in the entire draft class.

So Streater no longer is guaranteed a starting spot. But, that apparently isn’t something he worries about. Now in the midst of organized team activities (OTAs), Streater is just happy to be back on the field, running without pain and getting a chance to play again.

He said, too, that the experience of being injured and having to watch his teammates helped him grow.

“I really had to mature and it was just new to me,” he told reporters this week. “I had great trainers around me to help me get back and get my mind right. When I found out I wasn’t coming back (during the 2014 season), it really hurt. I wanted to be out there with my team and finish strong, but everything happens for a reason. I worked hard this offseason and to make sure I was strong to come back this year.”

Streater also looks at the Raiders roster and sees a more talented and versatile group than in the past. He called Cooper, Crabtree, Andre Holmes and himself as “playmakers” and said Cooper’s presence will help them all. Plus, every wideout can play every role – in the slot or split wide.

“The more playmakers you have, the better you are going to be, and he is really going to help us win,” said Streater. “I feel like the whole receiving group is complete. You can put us on the outside, put us in the slot. I feel like we really don’t miss a beat. We can play outside, in, it really doesn’t matter – we are all interchangeable. So I think that’s going to add a strength to us when we get out there on the field.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Steph Curry Lands Second Straight Sports Illustrated Cover]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 19:01:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/2015-05-26-curry-sports-illustrated-cover.jpg

Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry is on the regional cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated, for a second week in a row.

The cover features a photo of the league MVP pointing his finger upward with the headline, “MY TOWN / MY TEAM.”

Last week’s cover displayed Curry shooting a three-pointer with the headline “STEPH CURRY’S NEXT STAGE.”

According to the magazine, Curry is the first athlete to be featured on back-to-back covers since Jeremy Lin did so while playing for the New York Knicks in 2012.

The Curry cover will be available on newsstands Wednesday in the Western states of Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Nevada, California, Alaska and Hawaii.

Photo Credit: Sports Illustrated
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<![CDATA[Rapper Lil B Could Be Warriors' Secret Weapon]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 17:27:50 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Lil-B-coachella.jpg

Some believe that a Bay Area rap star may have magical sway when it comes to a Warriors win against the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.

Lil B's well-publicized curse against Rockets star James Harden for appropriating the "cooking dance" he says he invented may be a secret asset in Wednesday's game against the Warriors at Oracle Arena

The rapper now plans to attend the playoff game in person.

Rap-savvy Warriors fans have created photo memes with Lil B's Internet-famous "thank you Based God" phrase in appreciation of a hex that they think has been working in the series so far.

Born Brandon McCartney and raised in Berkeley, Lil B has long held hoop dreams of his own.

In 2012, he tried out for the Santa Cruz Warriors, the Golden State Warriors' D-League team. Two years later, he released "Hoop Dreams," a basketball-themed mixtape that featured a song and video called "Gotta Make the NBA."

Lil B has beefed with other NBA stars in the past.

In 2011, Lil B placed a curse on Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant after he said the player tweeted out unflattering remarks on his rapping skills.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Kaepernick: "No Disrespect Intended" By Instagram Post]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 15:48:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/187*120/redzonekapgeep.jpg

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick tweeted he meant "no disrespect" minutes after tweeting a link to an Instagram photo of major flooding in Houston with the comment "I warned you the #7tormscoming."

At least eight people have killed and 13 remain missing due to severe flooding in Texas.

Kaepernick deleted the insensitive Instagram photo within minutes of posting it but not before it was captured for posterity.

Kaepernick has used the #7tormscoming hashtag previously. It’s a reference to his jersey number. He clearly had second thoughts about using it in this instance.

Two hours after Kap tweeted that he intended no disrespect, he posted a more substantial apology, saying: “I'm so sorry about my insensitive post earlier today. I didn't fully understand how many people are struggling in Houston right now and I feel horrible. My prayers are with everyone there."

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Niners' Darnell Dockett Is Being Patient]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 15:05:29 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/dockettyy.jpg

The competition for status and playing time on the 49ers defensive line in 2015 could be fierce.

Without Justin Smith and Ray McDonald at defensive ends, the 49ers have two starting jobs open, and the fight to fill those jobs during training camp will be one of the more interesting to watch this summer.

But Darnell Dockett, the former Arizona Cardinals standout who was signed by San Francisco this offseason as a free agent, is in no hurry to try to lock up one of those starting spots.

As the 49ers progress through their current cycle of organized team activities (OTAs) and a full minicamp, Dockett seems content to stand along the sidelines and watch.

Dockett, who’s 33, has started 234 games in the NFL and is coming back after sitting out last season with a torn knee ligament.

He told reporters recently that he’s going to take his time and make certain he’s at 100 percent before joining the competition on the field with players who are much younger – including this year’s No. 1 pick, Arik Armstead, Tank Carradine, Glenn Dorsey, Tony Jerod-Eddie and Quinton Dial, among others.

“I’m not in a rush,” Dockett told Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “How many OTAs or minicamps have I been to? Just trying to make sure I get to the season – not have a setback in the preseason or anything like that.”

Dorsey also told Branch that even though the team has lost Smith and McDonald – who held the defensive end spots in the 49ers’ 3-4 alignment – the Niners have good depth and enough talent to still be a fine defense in 2015.

“We’ve got a lot of guys that can play,” Dorsey said. “There are a lot of young guys that are hungry, so there’s a lot of good competition and guys are working hard. There shouldn’t be too much of a letdown.”

New head coach Jim Tomsula, who formerly coached the defensive line, agrees. He believes the players on the roster are versatile enough that the coaching staff will be able to rotate them into various spots, depending on circumstances, to play to their strengths.

“They’re all cross-trained so they can play them all,” Tomsula said of nose tackle and the two outside slots. “It creates the depth at that position.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Madden Believes in Del Rio]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 08:35:01 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/deliriomindsett.jpg

In recent seasons, the Raiders have had a carousel of coaches, rotating through Tony Sparano, Dennis Allen, Hue Jackson, Tom Cable, Lane Kiffin, Art Shell, Norv Turner, Bill Callahan and Jon Gruden.

And that’s just since 2000.

Now it’s Jack Del Rio’s turn. And this time, John Madden thinks the Raiders picked the right man for the job.

Madden, the former Raiders head coach and Pro Football Hall of Famer, has served as an adviser for Raiders owner Mark Davis. By many accounts, he liked what he saw of Del Rio during the Raiders search process for a new head coach this offseason.

Now, in a wide-ranging question-and-answer story with Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, Madden gives a big thumbs up to Del Rio as the man to lead the Raiders’ climb up the NFL ladder after so many years near the bottom.

He specifically said that Del Rio is better for the Raiders right now than a young, up-and-coming coordinator who might be the flavor of the moment.

“Jack Del Rio is the right coach for them,” he told Farmer. “I don’t think they needed that guy that’s on the sideline with the play card up against his mouth. Those are the guys that ascend quickly. Jack’s not that guy.

“He understands you can help a quarterback as much by building a defense as you can by getting him a receiver. He’s going to make them legitimate. They lived on the myth that the Raiders are tough and all that for a long time, when they weren’t.

“Jack sees through that myth.”

Del Rio, a former longtime NFL linebacker, said as much when he took over the team earlier this offseason. He says the Raiders have to change their mindset.

“There is a mentality that has to be pervasive in the building,” Del Rio told reporters the day he was introduced. “There’s an understanding of some of the fundamental beliefs I believe are part of playing good football. There’s not a magic wand anyone can wave. It’s a process. We’re going to work hard on that, starting today.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Warriors Drop Game 4 in Houston]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 23:33:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/173*120/474750456_594_screen.jpg

In their quest to sweep the Houston Rockets out of the Western Conference Finals, the Warriors trailed from start to finish Monday night and now must try to eliminate the Rockets at home. 

Though the Warriors lost the game, 128-115, they still have a 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series and, moreover, seemed to have dodged disaster when Stephen Curry took a hard fall in the second quarter.

Curry left with 5:52 remaining in the second quarter after landing on his head/neck area while attempting to block a shot by Houston forward Trevor Ariza. He was diagnosed with a head contusion and returned to the game with 5:58 left in the third quarter.

But Curry’s return did not generate enough production – or enough sustained defense – to mount a comeback.

Six Warriors scored in double figures, led by 24 points from Klay Thompson. Curry finished with 23, Draymond Green with 21, Harrison Barnes with 14, Andre Iguodala with 13 and Leandro Barbosa finished with 12.

The Rockets shot 77.3 percent in the first quarter and 60 percent in the first half, as there was no sign of the defense that held Houston to 29.3-percent shooting in the first half of Game 3.

James Harden, coming off a miserable Game 3, was fabulous in leading the Rockets with 45 points, nine rebounds and five assists.

The series now shifts back to Oracle Arena in Oakland. Game 5 is scheduled to tip off at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

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

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Curry Returns to Game After Head Injury]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 23:33:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*125/GettyImages-474748486.jpg

Warriors point guard Stephen Curry returned for the second half of Game 4 Monday night after taking a hard fall midway through the second quarter. 

The Warriors announced that Curry suffered a head contusion.

Earlier in the game, Curry appeared to land on his head after being upended while trying to defend a potential shot by Rockets guard Trevor Ariza under the Houston basket.

A stretcher reportedly came out, but Curry walked to the locker room on his own power.

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

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bears Release Ray McDonald]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 13:48:05 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/th-may-25-ray-mcdonald-mug.jpg

The Chicago Bears rolled the dice on signing defensive end Ray McDonald after a history of domestic abuse accusations and arrests, and on Monday their gamble didn't pay off as the team released McDonald following a domestic violence arrest

"We believe in second chances, but when we signed Ray we were very clear what our expectations were if he was to remain a Bear," Bears G.M. Ryan Pace said in a statement. "He was not able to meet the standard and the decision was made to release him."

McDonald, who played for the San Francisco 49'ers under Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, was released by the team last season after he was arrested for assault in California. 

That arrest (the charges were eventually dropped because of insufficent evidence) was one of several brushes with the law that McDonald has had over the past few years. He also was accused of sexual assault last year, and he was also arrested for DUI and charged with failing to appear in court on the charges. 

When the Bears signed McDonald, team chairman George McCaskey said that McDonald's case was one of "bad judgment" and that he believed that the lineman was a changed man. 

<![CDATA[2015 French Open: Best Moments]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 16:32:34 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Eugenie-Bouchard-26-May-2015-2.jpg See photos from Roland-Garros, the 2015 French Open Tennis Tournament.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bears' Ray McDonald Arrested]]> Tue, 26 May 2015 00:53:11 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ray+mcdonald+getty.jpg

NFL player Ray McDonald walked out of a Santa Clara County jail in San Jose on Monday afternoon after posting bail for a domestic violence arrest in Northern California, The Associated Press reported.

According to Lieutenant Kurt Clarke with the Santa Clara police department, officers were called to the former San Francisco 49er-turned-Chicago Bears defensive end's home in Santa Clara just after 3:45 a.m. for a report of a disturbance. Police said McDonald was accused of physically assaulting a victim while she was holding a baby.

After the alleged assault, McDonald left the home and was arrested in the 2200 block of Terra Nova Lane in San Jose, Clarke said. 

Two San Jose police sources told NBC Bay Area on Monday that they assisted Santa Clara police with the detention.

According to the sources, McDonald was arrested at the home of retired 49ers defensive end Justin Smith. Another source said he rents an apartment in Santa Clara on Carlyle Court for his ex-fiancee and baby.

McDonald was arrested for misdemeanor domestic violence and child endangerment, police said. He was taken to the Santa Clara Police Department before being transferred to the Santa Clara County Jail.

Hours after the arrest, the Bears released McDonald, only 62 days after the defense end signed a one-year contract with the team in March.

"We believe in second chances, but when we signed Ray we were very clear what our expectations were if he was to remain a Bear," Bears G.M. Ryan Pace said in a statement. "He was not able to meet the standard and the decision was made to release him."

McDonald was released from the 49ers in December after law enforcement officials in San Jose, Calif., began an investigation into an alleged sexual assault.

He has since sued the woman who accused him of assault, and he has not been charged in the case as the investigation remains open.

The defensive end was also tangled up in a domestic abuse case involving his fiancee last August, but he was not charged in the case.

"I feel like I didn't do anything wrong but you know, still, it's in the spotlight," McDonald told reporters at the Bears minicamp last month. "I'm just trying to move forward from it."

Also last month, Bears Chairman George McCaskey said he talked to McDonald about the incidents before signing him. 

"I made it clear to him what was expected of him if he were to become a Bear," McCaskey said. "I was confident at the end of that conversation that he'll do what needs to be done."

Reached by phone in Florida on Monday, McDonald's mother, LaBrina McDonald, told NBC Bay area that she knew nothing about the arrest.

"I'm not dealing with any more of this negative stuff," she said.

She did say that McDonald's baby, Amari, was born in March to his ex-fiance and that sometimes he visited his newborn son in Silicon Valley.

The Chicago Bears could not immediately be reached for comment. Neither DeFilippis nor McDonald's criminal attorney, Joshua Bentley, returned immediate requests for comment.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Niners' Davis Looks Eager to Rebound]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 09:58:17 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/vernnewsezon.jpg

The question many 49ers observers asked last season was, “What happened to Vernon Davis?”

The Niners’ elite tight end almost disappeared from the San Francisco offense in 2014, catching just 26 passes after catching 52 in 2013,

Now, however, it appears Davis may be en route to a bounce-back season in 2015.

During the first session of organized team activities (OTAs) last week, Davis was notable for his involvement and energy.

As Taylor Price of the team’s website noted, Davis was extremely active during OTAs last week, catching passes and showing good chemistry with quarterback Colin Kaepernick. He also was a leader of a tight end group that was bolstered by the draft and now includes seven others.

For Davis and the rest of the 49ers, 2014 was a bad time that can now be wiped away. A new coaching staff has taken over, several star players have departed and new free agents and rookies – including a pair of drafted tight ends – have been added. Davis apparently knows that he needs to rebound quickly if he wants to maintain his place on the roster.

“We have a chance to come off that season and really think back on all the things we didn’t do right, all the things we didn’t do well,” Davis  told the media recently, of the team’s 8-8 season. “We can take that and put it to this season with the additions that we have, offensively, defensively, and we can play our hearts out.”

The 49ers were disappointed not only in Davis’ production in 2015, but the production of the entire tight end group. Vance McDonald, a high draft pick who also hasn’t yet produced as a receiver, was also put on notice when the team selected Oklahoma tight end Blake Bell in the fourth round of this year’s draft, then took Rory “Busta” Anderson of South Carolina in the seventh round.

Davis, seeking a new contract, didn’t participate in much of last season’s offseason program. Now, however, he’s been notable for his presence, participating fully in what the team is doing. Said general manager Trent Baalke, to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee: “I think he’s looking, as are we, to the future and coming back and having a heck of a year.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Raiders linebackers Will Lead the Way Under Demanding Norton]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 09:57:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/165*120/bossnorton.jpg

When Ken Norton Jr. was hired to be the new defensive coordinator of the Oakland Raiders back in February, his excitement was obvious.

The longtime NFL linebacker and assistant coach has been waiting for his time. And that time finally has come.

He told reporters at the time that he was eager to work with new head coach Jack Del Rio to put together a defensive unit similar to the one he worked on in Seattle, where he was linebackers coach.

“You watch our defenses over the last few years, how physical, how smart, how dominant they’ve been up front, out-hitting, out-hustling and doing all these aggressive things,” Norton said. “Jack has a fantastic background with his defense as well. My philosophy combined with his philosophy, we’re going to sit down in a room and just work it out and then make it the Raiders philosophy.”

Now, after bringing in free agents and rookies through the draft, Norton and Del Rio are finally getting a chance to put that defense into place. Veterans and first-year players alike got a chance last week to get their first hands-on experience with it in the first wave of organized team activities (OTAs).

One player who expects nothing but positive things to come from Norton’s hiring is linebacker Malcolm Smith. Smith, a former Seahawks linebacker who was MVP of the Super Bowl two seasons ago when Seattle won the NFL championship, signed with Oakland as a free agent this offseason and says he intends to bring a championship mentality to his new team.

Smith says Norton will, too, as a very demanding coach. He says Norton has a fire in him that sometimes burns players who make mistakes.

“He’s going to be hard on us and he hasn’t had a chance to yet, because we’re just getting started,” Smith told reporters last week. “But I know it’s coming. You can see it and there’s going to be days where you might not want to look at him, but you know it’s for a good reason and the benefit will be the product on the field.”

Smith noted, too, that because Norton and Del Rio are former standout NFL linebackers, the pressure’s going to be on the Oakland linebacking corps to lead the way.

“You have to be on point,” Smith told the team’s website. “I take it as a responsibility, like man, our defensive coordinator was a linebacker, our head coach was a linebacker, we have to be the standard. We have to be the standard for the entire team.”


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald Arrested For Domestic Violence: Police]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 23:25:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0525-2015-RayMcDonald.jpg

Former San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald has been arrested on misdemeanor domestic violence and child endangerment charges, Santa Clara police said on Monday.

Hours later, 62 days after he signed with the Chicago Bears – who had given McDonald's career a second chance following his domestic violence arrest last year – the team announced his release. McDonald told reporters he had no comment as he left jail after being booked Monday afternoon and posting his $15,000 bail.

Lt. Kurt Clarke said that McDonald was arrested after officers said he "physically assaulted the victim while she was holding a baby." Police were called to a disturbance at 3:48 a.m. at an apartment in Santa Clara, only to find that McDonald had left to go to a friend's home in San Jose. A dispatch call revealed that a dispatcher relayed to officers that a woman had reported that she had locked herself in bedroom and he broken the door down.

But his civil attorney, Steve DeFilippis, told NBC Bay Area by email on Monday that "according to at least one witness, there was no physical contact between the two. Thus, is is hard to understand why charges are being pursued."

NBC Bay Area was the first to break the story.

According to sources, McDonald was arrested at the home of retired 49er Justin Smith in the Silver Creek neighborhood of San Jose. Neighbors said they saw police cars about 6 a.m. Monday.

Another source said that he rents an apartment in Santa Clara on Carlyle Court for his ex-fiancee and baby. The source said that on Sunday night, McDonald went out with friends and wanted to return to the apartment and asked her to leave. He left to give her some space, the source said, and when he returned, the police had been called.

It was not immediately clear if the woman or the baby were injured.

Reached by phone in Florida on Monday, McDonald's mother, LaBrina McDonald, told NBC Bay Area that she knew nothing about the arrest. "I'm not dealing with any more of this negative stuff," she said.

She did say that McDonald's baby, Amari, was born in March to his ex-fiance and that sometimes he visited his newborn son when he visited California.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney decided not to charge McDonald stemming from an Aug. 31, 2014 domestic-abuse arrest at his home, after a fight with this then-pregnant fiance.

The District Attorney also has not charged McDonald for a separate alleged sexual assault in San Jose on December 2014.

Still, after the second arrest, the 49ers dismissed him and he was signed by the Chicago Bears in December. After reports of Monday morning's arrest, the Bears decided to release McDonald, the team announced in a statement.

Bears chairman George McCaskey said last month that he signed McDonald for several reasons. "I would say that the strongest thing was his candor, his forthrightness and his motivation," McCaskey told NBC Chicago.

In the second case involving a woman at a bar, McDonald has sued for defamation.

In that civil case, DeFilippis filed paperwork May 21 in Santa Clara County Superior Court arguing that the woman who accused McDonald of sexual assault had consensual intercourse with McDonald on several occasions on the night and morning in question after drinking at the Willow Den bar.

In the latest round of documents, friends of the woman claim that she was known as a hard-core "party girl" who often staged accidents, which she posted on social  media.

Jenny Johnson, who was out with the woman and McDonald that night, testified in court documents that the woman's Instagram feed pictured her "fallen on the floor, appearing very drunk, or passed out laying on the ground" on several past occasions. "I thought she was faking," Johnson wrote in court documents.

McDonald's criminal attorney, Joshua Bentley, did not return requests for comment on Monday.

NBC Bay Area's  Ian Cull and Michelle Roberts and NBC Chicago contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
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<![CDATA[Hundreds Rally for Tom Brady]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 16:32:24 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/free+brady.JPG

Tom Brady is living legend to the hundreds of fans who rallied at Gillette Stadium Sunday.

"He's a good player, he does nothing wrong," said one fan.

"Tom Brady's the greatest quarterback of all time," said another.

"I'm here for him," said another. "I got the sweater - it's a little hot for a sweater, but I'll take the heat."

Heat is what they are hoping this "Free Tom Brady" rally will put on NFL officials to remove the Super Bowl MVP's four game suspension.

"We're crazy when we're unified," said organizer Paublo Munoz. "We're an amazing team - as Patriots Nation, that is - and this really shows it."

Some came from New Hampshire and Rhode Island just to show their support and purchase shirts, dawning the words "Free Brady".

After getting married earlier this month, one couple had a change of plans for their honeymoon in hopes of a change in plans with disciplinary action taken against Brady.

"God bless Brady, because we're backing him, no matter what," said new husband Paul Goodrow. "We're not going on our honeymoon until that ban is lifted." 

Last week, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he won't appeal the punishment dealt to the team. But these fans say the $1 million fine and losing two draft picks is way too harsh.

They also had some choice words for the NFL commissioner and Indianapolis Colts.

"Goodell is stupid," said a young fan.

Photo Credit: necn
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<![CDATA[Fan Attempts Selfie With Federer at French Open]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 07:33:23 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP978212670959.jpg

For Roger Federer, the menace did not come from the other side of the net.

After dispatching Colombian Alejandro Falla in straight sets, the 17-time Grand Slam winner was about to leave center court Sunday when a young man ran down the stands and made his way to the Swiss star unhindered. The fan brazenly put his hand across his shoulder to try and get a selfie with him.

Federer looked surprised, then a bit uncomfortable as he seemed to question with a hand gesture why the security guards did not intervene. One of them finally grabbed the man and took him away.

While there was no ill intent from this fan, the incident raised concerns about security at the event and clearly riled Federer.

"I'm not happy about it. Obviously not one second I'm happy about it," Federer said, adding that he received an apology from tournament director Gilbert Ysern. "It happened yesterday in the practice, too. I think it's true for all players that you have to feel safe when we play, feel safe on the courts. It shouldn't happen too often. It's happened twice in two days and also in 2009 during the final. I think people should react more quickly. First, it should never happen."

That was the only incident in an otherwise smooth start to the French Open for Federer, who advanced to the second round with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 win over Falla.

Facing a player who pushed him to five sets at Wimbledon five years ago, the 2009 champion was never threatened this time, extending his unbeaten run against the 111th-ranked Falla to 8-0.

On a sunny first day of play at Roland Garros, last year's runner-up Simona Halep also advanced in straight sets in the women's draw.

Federer put Falla under pressure in the eighth game of the first set, breaking for a 5-3 lead when the Colombian could not handle a good backhand return. Federer shouted "come on" after earning a set point in his next service game and closed it out when Falla sent a backhand into the net.

Federer's flashy outfit, with pink shorts and a lilac shirt, was almost as eye-catching as some of the shots the former top-ranked player produced. The 17-time Grand Slam winner broke again for a 2-1 lead in the second set following a game in which he left Falla stranded with a perfectly hit defensive lob.

Federer wrapped up the second set with another break in the ninth game. At 4-3 down in the third set, Falla called a trainer to get his right thigh massaged. The Colombian held his next serve but could not prevent Federer from breaking him in the 10th game as the Swiss unleashed a forehand attack that he returned wide.

On the women's side, the third-seeded Halep hit an ace on match point to beat Russian Evegenia Rodina 7-5, 6-4, while ninth-seeded Ekaterina Markova breezed past American wild card Louisa Chirico 6-4, 6-2.

Halep made a big breakthrough at the French Open last year, losing in final to Maria Sharapova after not conceding a set in her previous matches.

Halep, who said she is stronger than last year both physically and mentally, is bidding to become the first Romanian to win a Grand Slam title since Virginia Ruzici at the French Open in 1978.

"I have stronger body and I have improved a lot in my game," she said. "Serve is better, so I feel more confident now with my game."

Up againt Halep in the second round will be veteran Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who defeated American Lauren Davis 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. Lucic-Baroni, who won her first match at Roland Garros since 2002, upset Halep at the U.S. Open last year.

"I have not good memories from that match," Halep said. "I just was blocked and I couldn't hit the ball."

On paper, the 33-year-old Federer has a relatively easy draw until the fourth round, where he could meet 13th-seeded Gael Monfil before a potential quarterfinal with his Davis Cup teammate Stan Wawrinka, who beat Marsel Ilhan 6-3, 6-2, 6-3.

Federer, who achieved a career Grand Slam by winning the French Open in 2009 after three runner-up finish, has not made it to the final on the Parisian clay since 2011. He lost in the fourth round last year but has been playing excellent tennis recently and has a 26-5 record in 2015. On clay, he lost in final in Rome after claiming an 85th career title in Istanbul.

Among the seeded players to advance to the second round Sunday were also No. 19 Roberto Bautista Agut and No. 22 Philipp Kohlschreiber. The first seeded player to bow out was No. 25 Ivo Karlovic, who lost 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4 to Marcos Baghdatis.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Is Chargers Move to LA Legal?]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 11:30:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/172*120/GettyImages-457517872.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

>> Read more at CSNBayArea.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time will be the judge of that.

<![CDATA[Golden State Warriors 2015 Fan Photos]]> Mon, 25 May 2015 15:51:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/CDFwXIdUIAAr8zZ.jpg+large.jpg Here are some fan photos, as they root on the 2015 Golden State Warriors.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo Credit: Getty]]>