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The 49ers don’t have many players worthy of long-term extensions. They believe they have at least one.
Tight end Vance McDonald has signed a five-year extension. The team announced the deal, which puts McDonald under contract through 2021, on Friday night.
A second-round pick in 2013, McDonald was due to become a free agent in March.
“Vance has shown consistent growth throughout his four-year career and his production this season is the result of his dedication and hard work,” G.M. Trent Baalke said in a press release. “We believe he has only scratched the surface of what he will be able to accomplish in his career. Vance is a tremendous ambassador for the 49ers, and his passion for helping others provides a wonderful example for this organization. We look forward to his continued contributions to this organization, both on and off the field.”
McDonald has 10 starts in 10 appearances this season, with 24 catches for 391 yards and four touchdowns.
The deal reportedly is worth $35 million in new money, according to ESPN. The contract also carries $16 million guaranteed, which as we know by now means little without knowing how much is fully and actually guaranteed at signing.
With the bell tolling for Oakland’s football future, the race is on to put a viable stadium proposal on the table. Or at least to act like a viable stadium proposal is on the table.
Oakland has announced the details of a stadium plan that would keep the Raiders from moving to Las Vegas or, in theory, Los Angeles. But the lengthy release regarding the details of the stadium plan is devoid of actual, you know, details.
“This term sheet agreement puts Oakland in the running to keep the Raiders in a way that is responsible to the team, the league, the fans and the taxpayers,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said in the press release. “Everything the City and County and the investor team is doing is about putting forward the best offer to encourage the Raiders ownership and the NFL to keep the Raiders in Oakland, where the team belongs.”
The term sheet agreement to which Schaaf referred hasn’t been disclosed yet. Instead, the press release lists the following “key elements” of the plan: (1) “an economically viable proposal that can keep team in Oakland and Alameda County with no taxpayer monies, but instead the use of the Coliseum land”; (2) “a professional group of investors to develop the stadium and other associated mixed-use projects to support cost of stadium”; (3) “the creation of a major Grand Central station-like development around the property that incorporates and enhances the use of the BART station”; and (4) “a location for a new Oakland A’s stadium should the Major League Baseball team determine it wants to remain at the Coliseum site.”
So how much will the stadium cost? How much will the Raiders and the NFL pay for it? How big will it be? How will the revenue be generated and shared?
Most importantly, will the people providing the private financing that will bridge the gap between the team and league contribution expect to buy a piece of the team — and if so, how much?
The press release answers none of those questions.
According to the press release, the County of Alameda will hold a public hearing and vote at 2:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Dec. 13, and the Oakland City Council will hold a hearing and vote at 9:30 p.m. ET on the same day as part of an expedited financial development proposal and exclusive negotiation agreement.
The timing isn’t coincidental; NFL owners will meet the next day, and at that time the league office is expected to make a proposal that extolls the virtues of keeping the Raiders in Oakland.
There’s currently no reason to believe the Raiders will be interested in the proposal. Owner Mark Davis has at no time deviated from his intent to move to Las Vegas, explaining that the folks in Nevada stepped forward and crafted a viable plan at a time when Oakland couldn’t or wouldn’t. It would be a surprise if the formal proposal changes his mind.
The NFL’s “My Cleats My Cause” weekend allowed players across the league to support various messages and causes during last week’s games outside the league’s usually stringent uniform rules.
The catch was that there was supposed to be actual cause.
Green-Beckham apparently said his cleats were meant to support “The Yeezy Foundation,” but the NFL was not buying that such a foundation existed.
The Rams had nothing to say on Thursday regarding a report of dysfunction between coach Jeff Fisher and G.M. Les Snead. On Friday, Fisher had plenty to say.
“When you’re 4-8, people are frustrated, you know, they’re frustrated,” Fisher told reporters. “We’ll find out where it’s coming from.”
The issue arose from comments made by Fisher to the media on Tuesday that seemed to criticize the front office for the plight of the team. An unnamed Rams source told Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com that Fisher’s words were regarded as a shot at a front office that Fisher ultimately controls.
“If you go back and look at the transcripts, I was speaking the truth,” Fisher said. “Honestly, I don’t know where this came from. . . . I’ll find out. In our business, unnamed sources, they’re not good. If we’ve got sources within the organization that are speaking, then we’ll address it. But there are no issues between Les and I – by no means. We agree to disagree and we’ve had a fun run, but we’re certainly disappointed – as I said on Tuesday – in the outcome and where we are. We’ve got work to do, but we’re doing it together.”
Fisher specifically took issue with a contention from Breer that front-office personnel “question how hard the team is pushed, with a lack of in-season padded practices being an example of the perceived problem.”
Said Fisher: “Somebody said that we don’t pad our practices. We padded on Wednesday. So whoever is talking obviously has not been out to practice or does not understand the CBA. Enough is enough, Les and I are good, we’re all good. Our focus is on Atlanta right now.”
Fisher also suggested that the characterization of the organization as “Rams Junior High” didn’t originate with anyone in the organization but with those who published the story.
“That came from either the editor or the writer, but I didn’t think the ‘junior high’ thing came from an unnamed source,” Fisher said. “But again, I don’t pay as close attention to those things as you do because I’m more concerned about the Falcons. But I’ll just say this again, Les and I are fine. We work together. We talk every day. I don’t know where that’s coming from.”
Fisher may need to pay closer attention. Breer wrote that “some in the building have come to know [the organization] as ‘Rams Junior High,'” and that the “Junior High” nickname has stuck inside the building. So the name wasn’t manufactured by a writer or an editor; it came from one or more people in the organization.
Regardless, the principal is about to find out who’s been talking out of school. And that’s an exercise that will do little to get those who are or aren’t using the “junior high” nickname to stop.
Titans defensive tackle Jurrell Casey didn’t practice again Friday, and Titans coach Mike Mularkey told reporters that Casey will be a game-time decision Sunday for the Broncos.
“We’ve still got 48 hours,” Mularkey said Friday.
Casey is dealing with a sprained foot he suffered two weeks ago against the Bears. The Titans were off last weekend and enter the home stretch in a three-way tie atop the AFC South with the Texans and Colts.
Casey, a Pro Bowler last season, has missed only one game in his six-year career.
Mularkey said the Titans are likely to make an extra defensive lineman active for Sunday’s game even if Casey is active and said the decision “could go all the way up” to 90 minutes before kickoff, when teams have to submit their active players for that day’s game.
As the Jaguars try to avoid losing for the 11th time in 13 games, they won’t have two key components of their offense. Again.
Their absences put even more pressure on quarterback Blake Bortles, who has struggled mightily in what was supposed to be his breakout season. It’s been anything but, and it has thrown the franchise into uncertainty, with coach Gus Bradley widely expected to be fired and real questions about whether his successor will want to stick with Bortles — regardless of what the next coach says in order to get the job.
The 2-10 Jaguars face the 6-6 Vikings on Sunday. The Vikings are playing for everything; the Jaguars are playing for not much.
Week 14 kicked off on Thursday with a Chiefs win and it continues with 14 more games on Sunday, which means that the 28 teams in those games submitted their final injury reports of the week on Friday.
Questionable players are uncertain to play, doubtful players are unlikely to play and out should be self-explanatory. Players who are on active rosters and don’t appear below should be considered in the lineup barring any announcements on Saturday. The teams playing on Monday night won’t release their injury reports until Saturday and are not listed here.
With that housekeeping out of the way, here are all the injury reports for Sunday.
Steelers at Bills
Steelers WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (foot) and S Shamarko Thomas (concussion) have been ruled out. DT Javon Hargrave (concussion) is unlikely to play after being listed as doubtful. K Chris Boswell (abdomen), G Ramon Foster (chest) and RB DeAngelo Williams (knee) are listed as questionable.
Bills TE Charles Clay (knee), T Cordy Glenn (back), WR Sammy Watkins (foot), DT Kyle Williams (back) and WR Robert Woods (knee) drew questionable tags. Coach Rex Ryan said Watkins and Woods will play, but Williams was a Friday addition to the injury report after his back locked up on Thursday night. LB Lerentee McCray (concussion) will not play.
Chargers at Panthers
Panthers LB Luke Kuechly, S Kurt Coleman and CB Daryl Worley are all questionable due to concussions, although all three progressed through the protocol enough to practice this week. DE Mario Addison (foot) is also questionable while DE Charles Johnson (hamstring), LB David Mayo (concussion) and T Daryl Williams (ankle) have been ruled out.
Bengals at Browns
DE Wallace Gilberry (calf), WR A.J. Green (hamstring), S Derron Smith (thigh), TE C.J. Uzomah (calf) and WR James Wright (knee) will all sit out for the Bengals. LS Clark Harris (groin) is listed as questionable.
The Browns return from their bye week without any players listed with injury designations.
Bears at Lions
The Bears don’t expect to have T Mike Adams (back) or WR Eddie Royal (toe) after listing them as doubtful. LB Jonathan Anderson (hamstring), CB Johnthan Banks (ankle), WR Josh Bellamy (shoulder) and WR Marquess Wilson (groin) received questionable tags.
It looks like LB DeAndre Levy (knee) may play for the first time since Week One. He’s officially listed as questionable along with DE Ziggy Ansah (ankle), S Don Carey (hamstring), TE Eric Ebron (knee), WR Marvin Jones (quadricep), RB Theo Riddick (wrist), RB Dwayne Washington (ankle) and LB Tahir Whitehead (knee). C Travis Swanson (concussion) will not play.
Texans at Colts
DE Jadeveon Clowney (elbow, wrist) and LB Brian Cushing (back, ankle) are listed as questionable, but the Texans expect to have both in the lineup. Coach Bill O’Brien said there’s a “remote” possibility CB Johnathan Joseph (ribs) plays, although he’s also listed as questionable rather than doubtful. RB Tyler Ervin (ribs), WR Braxton Miller (shoulder), QB Tom Savage (right elbow), LB John Simon (chest) and WR Jaelen Strong (ankle) have been ruled out.
The Colts ruled out S Clayton Geathers (neck), T Denzelle Good (concussion), DT Zach Kerr (concussion), LB Robert Mathis (bicep) and CB Patrick Robinson (groin). LB Curt Maggitt (concussion) is listed as questionable.
Vikings at Jaguars
The Vikings won’t have C Joe Berger (concussion), DT Sharrif Floyd (knee) or S Harrison Smith (ankle) in the lineup this week. LB Edmond Robinson (hamstring) and CB Marcus Sherels (rib) drew questionable designations.
WR Allen Hurns (hamstring), DE Jared Odrick (shoulder), RB Denard Robinson (ankle), TE Julius Thomas (back) and S Peyton Thompson (ankle) will not play for the Jaguars on Sunday. The team listed RB Chris Ivory (hamstring), G Brandon Linder (ankle) and LB Dan Skuta (elbow) as questionable.
Cardinals at Dolphins
S Tyrann Mathieu (shoulder) will miss another game for the Cardinals. WR John Brown (illness), LB Markus Golden (hamstring), DT Robert Nkemdiche (elbow) and CB Tharold Simon (ankle) have all been listed as questionable, although coach Bruce Arians said Friday that he expects them to play.
The Dolphins listed LB Kiko Alonso (hand, hamstring), LB Jelani Jenkins (knee, hand) and DE Mario Williams (ankle) as doubtful to be in the lineup Sunday. S Isa Abdul-Quddus (neck), T Branden Albert (wrist), RB Kenyan Drake (knee), CB Xavien Howard (knee), DT Earl Mitchell (back), QB Matt Moore (right shoulder), WR DeVante Parker (back), LB Spencer Paysinger (ankle), G Anthony Steen (shoulder, foot) and C Kraig Urbik (knee) make up a long list of players deemed questionable.
Redskins at Eagles
TE Jordan Reed (shoulder) headlines a list of Redskins players listed as questionable that also includes DE Chris Baker (ankle), TE Derek Carrier (knee), LB Will Compton (hip), DE Ricky Jean Francois (foot, knee), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), T Ty Nsekhe (ankle), G Brandon Scherff (ankle) and LB Preston Smith (groin). S Will Blackmon (concussion, thumb), DE Anthony Lanier (shin) and C Spencer Long (concussion, stinger) have been ruled out.
Broncos at Titans
The Broncos say they’ll make a call on QB Trevor Siemian (foot) on Saturday after listing him as questionable.WR Bennie Fowler (knee) is also listed as questionable and Denver ruled out LS Casey Kreiter (calf) and LB Brandon Marshall (hamstring).
DT Jurrell Casey (foot) is the only Titans player with an injury designation. He’s listed as questionable.
Jets at 49ers
S Antonio Allen (concussion), T Breno Giacomini (back, calf, shoulder), WR Jalin Marshall (concussion), LB Lorenzo Mauldin (ankle), DT Steve McLendon (hamstring) and RB Khiry Robinson (lower leg) make up a long list of Jets that have been ruled out of Sunday’s proceedings. DE Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle) is listed as questionable.
Seahawks at Packers
Packers linebackers Kyler Fackrell (hamstring) and Nick Perry (hand) won’t play on Sunday. CB Ladarius Gunter (illness), G T.J. Lang (foot), LB Blake Martinez (knee), LB Clay Matthews (shoulder), CB Damarious Randall (groin, illness) and C J.C. Tretter (knee) will have their statuses determined over the weekend after being listed as questionable.
Falcons at Rams
WR Julio Jones (toe) is questionable for the Falcons while DE Adrian Clayborn (knee) and WR Mohamed Sanu (groin) have been ruled out. T Jake Matthews (knee) and S Robenson Therezie (ankle) are also listed as questionable.
Saints at Buccaneers
The Saints listed T Terron Armstead (quadricep, knee), RB Mark Ingram (toe, knee), G Senio Kelemete (hip), S Shiloh Keo (hamstring), RB Daniel Lasco (hamstring), LB Craig Robertson (shoulder), WR Michael Thomas (foot) and C Max Unger (foot) as questionable.
Buccaneers DT Gerald McCoy (foot) is listed as questionable, just as he was before playing last weekend. S Chris Conte (chest), T Demar Dotson (concussion), WR Adam Humphries (concussion) and TE Luke Stocker (ankle) have been ruled out while C Evan Smith (knee) is also questionable.
Cowboys at Giants
Cowboys S Barry Church (forearm), DE Jack Crawford (foot), LB Justin Durant (hamstring), DE Demarcus Lawrence (back), CB Orlando Scandrick (foot, not injury related) and T Tyron Smith (back) are listed as questionable for the NFC East matchup. CB Morris Claiborne (groin), T Chaz Green (back) and S J.J. Wilcox (thigh) have been ruled out.
DE Jason Pierre-Paul (core muscle) will be a big absence for the Giants on Sunday night. S Nat Berhe (concussion) and LB Mark Herzlich (concussion) have also been ruled out. DT Johnathan Hankins (quadricep), WR Dwayne Harris (ankle), DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (knee), G Justin Pugh (knee) and CB Coty Sensabaugh (ribs) are listed as questionable.
Per the NFL, Thornton was not financially penalized for his unpenalized instance of roughing the passer on the two-point try that would have forced overtime.
It’s hard to know with any uncertainty what a decision to not fine a player means. Does it reflect a belief that the blow to the head was not forcible and thus not a penalty? Or was it possibly forcible enough for a flag but not for a fine?
Regardless, the decision not to fine Thornton keeps the NFL from implicitly admitting that referee Tony Corrente got it wrong last Thursday night. And it seems in recent weeks that the league has made a shift, deliberate or otherwise, away from openly acknowledging officiating errors. (Indeed, the Week 13 media video from senior V.P. of officiating Dean Blandino addresses two plays from the Cowboys-Vikings game, but make no mention of the missed call on the fateful two-point conversion.)
On one hand, the transparency is admirable. On the other hand, it’s troubling — to the extent that the NFL is wallowing in a slop of flaws that it’s doing little to correct, either by using full-time officials, enhanced replay review, or a video official who would bridge the gap in real time between what seven officials don’t see on the field and what millions watching at home do.
Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall shared a disturbing letter sent to him via the team on Instagram Friday.
The handwritten letter informs Marshall that the writer hates him and that Marshall’s “time is coming” before telling him that “we are channeling a devastating hard hit for you” that will leave Marshall in a wheelchair. Interspersed throughout the letter are a variety of racial epithets and, in what seems to be a reference to Marshall kneeling during the national anthem earlier this season, an invitation to “go back to Africa.”
Marshall said that the letter came with a return address saying it was from a sixth-grade class, which he guessed was done to make sure it got to him. Marshall said he turned the “disgusting, disheartening, deplorable” letter over to team security and coach Gary Kubiak said they are “on top of it.”
“I just wanted to show that … to expose that racism still does exist,” Marshall said of sharing the letter publicly, via ESPN.com. “A lot of people think, ‘Oh, it’s over; it’s not out there,’ but it really is. … I wanted to expose that and that there are people like that and we still have a long way to go as people. I wanted to expose that people still hate each other … whether it’s because of your belief system or the color of your skin or just because I’m not like you, you’re not like me.”
Marshall met with the Denver chief of police Robert White after choosing to kneel for the anthem and pledged $300 per tackle to “organizations that benefit the Denver community and others through the services, awareness and funds they provide” to deal with social issues. He has since resumed standing during the playing of the anthem.
Earlier this week, Giants fullback Nikita Whitlock said that he returned to his home to find it had been burglarized and that whoever broke in left swastikas and “go back to Africa” written on the walls.
Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was fined $12,154 for verbal abuse and using excessive profanity towards an official in last week’s game at Pittsburgh, USA Today reported.
The report said the fine was for on-field behavior and was not tied to Beckham’s postgame criticism of the officials. He continued that this week when he said, among other things, that “Stevie Wonder could see” some of the calls Beckham felt were missed in that game.
It’s the fifth known fine of the season for Beckham.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson raised plenty of eyebrows this week when he said “not everybody” was playing hard in Sunday’s loss to the Bengals.
And some of those eyebrows were attached to some of the old heads in his locker room.
According to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Pederson’s weekly Tuesday meeting with his leadership council was “more contentious than others” after calling out their effort.
Pederson twice deflected questions about effort last Sunday, but on the third time came the admission. And whether it was unintended or a veiled shot, the players seem to have been caught off guard by it.
“I think it puts us in a little bit of a tough position as players,” Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said. “Because now everybody wants to know who you’re talking about.”
The council of 13 is comprised of one player from each position group, and includes mostly veterans, along with rookie quarterback Carson Wentz.
And according to those who were in the meeting, the topic of effort was one of the main points discussed, with the conversation described as “testy.” When asked Wednesday about the player response to his remarks, Pederson said the response was “great” and “positive.”
But calling out a room full of professionals is a questionable way to get their attention, especially for a first-time head coach who can’t point to skins on the wall.
“Me personally, although I love Doug, he’s not the reason I get up and play and go to work every day,” Jenkins said. “It’s about the guys in the room. I don’t think our effort or how we perform is a direct reflection of Doug.”
Whether it is reflected in their play now that it has been called into question by Pederson remains to be seen.
As previously reported, Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson was also fined for his late hit out of bounds on Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. Richardson said on Thursday that he’s appealing his fine.
All three penalties came in the first 20 minutes as the game got away from the Jets, who slipped to 3-9.
The NFL says officials have some discretion in determining whether making a snow angel constitutes an illegal celebration. The league also has some discretion in determining whether to fine a player for an illegal celebration.
The league office confirmed today that neither 49ers cornerback Rashard Robinson nor Packers receiver Randall Cobb was fined, even though both players did snow angels as celebrations, and even though the NFL routinely fines players who break the celebration rules.
The officials in Chicago flagged Robinson for his snow angel, but the officials in Green Bay did not flag Cobb for his. The league’s rules are clear that going to the ground to celebrate is a penalty, but the league isn’t always consistent about enforcing that rule.
A couple of Rams players heard from the league this week about fines that will add some financial losses to the on-field one they suffered against the Patriots last weekend.
Cornerback Trumaine Johnson has been fined $18,231 by the league for a facemask on Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount. Johnson yanked Blount down by the facemask on what looked to be an intentional grab at the tail end of a run late in the first half of the game.
Blount was already down when Johnson pulled on the facemask, although that wasn’t enough to give the game’s officials cause to penalize Johnson on the field.
Rams running back Todd Gurley was fined $9,115 for a chop block on Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower that was penalized. Hightower was shaken up on the play, but returned to help the Patriots finish off a 26-10 win.
Browns rookie wide receiver Jordan Payton has been suspended for four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
Payton will be eligible to return to the active roster at the conclusion of the regular season.
A fifth-round pick last spring, Payton has played in four games this season and has one reception for three yards.