Several musical acts have refused to perform in North Carolina in recent weeks due to its much-debated bathroom bill, and NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said the league will not hold the 2017 All-Star game in Charlotte if the discriminitory bill is not repealed. And this week, the San Francisco 49ers and CEO Jed York expressed support for the state’s LGBTQ community while in Charlotte for the NFL spring owners meetings. Passed on March 23, North Carolina House Bill 2 (or HB2) reversed a Charlotte ordinance allowing transgendered individuals to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with; HB2 mandates that transgendered individuals must use the bathroom of the gender listed on their birth certificate and also prevents cities and towns in the state from passing laws that say otherswise. View full post on Yahoo Sports – NFL – San Francisco 49ers News

Post info: By 49ersGold on May 26th, 2016
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San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York pledged $75,000 to the Equality North Carolina Foundation, an organization which is backing a repeal of a law he believes discriminates. York made the pledge through the team while attending the NFL owners meetings Tuesday in Charlotte. View full post on Yahoo Sports – NFL – San Francisco 49ers News

Post info: By 49ersGold on May 25th, 2016
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This offseason, Shutdown Corner will travel down memory lane with a series of stories presenting some interesting and sometimes forgotten stories from the NFL’s past. Join us as we relive some of the greatest and craziest moments in the sport’s history. Jim Harbaugh came up just short in his bid to land the Indianapolis Colts in a Super Bowl when his Hail Mary pass was dropped in the end zone in the 1995 AFC championship game as time expired. But Harbaugh would help deliver a Super Bowl — albeit very indirectly — years later when he punched recently-retired quarterback and future Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly in 1997. Yes, Harbaugh’s right hook of Kelly was the first flap of the butterfly’s wings that helped the Colts land Peyton Manning and an eventual title in Super Bowl XLI.   Allow us to connect the strange dots in this story, which remarkably comes almost full circle again in the end. Colts head coach Ted Marchibroda was fired after that loss to the Steelers in the 1995 AFC title game.He was replaced by Lindy Infante for the 1996 season. Yet the team’s results were remarkably similar the following year: another 9-7 season with Harbaugh at QB and another season-ending loss in the playoffs to the Steelers, although this one by a 42-14 blowout. Harbaugh returned in 1997 and the Colts had an exciting young nucleus with Marshall Faulk and Marvin Harrison, and yet they got off to a nightmarish start with seven straight losses — five by six points or fewer — to open the season. Tension and tempers were rising in Indy. Enter Kelly , who had been doing TV work following his retirement from the Buffalo Bills . Two of those Colts losses had come at the hands of the Bills, by scores of 37-35 and 9-6. Prior to the second Bills game, Kelly made some incendiary comments toward Harbaugh (three TDs in seven starts) for being to blame for the Colts’ 0-7 start. Kelly also questioned Harbaugh’s toughness in doing so. Co-hosting on a local TV show in Buffalo called “Sneak Preview,” Kelly downplayed the beating the 34-year-old Harbaugh had taken in recent seasons and said Harbaugh was a “baby” and that he “overdramatized” his injuries, per the Los Angeles Times . Well, that didn’t sit well with the quarterback who had earned a reputation for his toughness. As luck would have it, the Colts were traveling to San Diego to face the Chargers that next game in Week 9, which Kelly would be broadcasting with NBC. Harbaugh was hurt, set to miss that game with an ankle injury, so replacement starter Paul Justin was the quarterback scheduled to meet with Kelly the rest of the production team. Still, Harbaugh had heard what Kelly had said about him and wanted to chat about it. So he paid him an unannounced visit — by crashing the production meeting the day before the game. Yup. “I wanted to ask him where he was coming from with those comments,” Harbaugh explained to Detroit Free Press’ Mitch Albom in 1997. “We went into a room and started talking about it. He said, ‘I call it the way I see it.’ One thing led to another …” When Kelly in essence told Harbaugh that he called it like he saw it, Harbaugh took a swing at Kelly’s nose. “I hit him,” Harbaugh told Albom. “I threw a couple of punches. Sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe in.” Kelly managed to duck the punch somewhat, with Harbaugh’s fist reportedly glancing his skull instead. Harbaugh actually came out in worse shape without actually getting hit himself, suffering a broken bone in his hand. A bad Colts season was getting worse by the minute. “I broke the bone while hitting him,” Harbaugh told Albom. “I’ve heard he’s telling people I never hit him, but I don’t know why he would say that. I would assume he knew what happened, since we were both there. On the way to the elevator, I felt my hand swelling up immediately.” That crack caused him to miss three more games thereafter, getting docked $140,000 per game.. “I regret throwing the punch, but I felt I had to do something since my toughness was being questioned,” Harbaugh said, via the Times. “I regret that I have a crack in one of my bones in my hand.” Harbaugh’s toughness wasn’t questioned too many times after that, but it wasn’t the first or last time the future San Francisco 49ers and Michigan head coach’s zeal in the heat of the action became a story line. The Colts would lose to the Chargers that game and slide even further to 0-10. Although they won three of their final six games (all three coming against teams with winning records, including the Super Bowl-bound Green Bay Packers), the Colts finished with the worst record in the NFL. Four other teams — including the Chargers, who beat the Colts — finished one game better at 4-12. That meant the Colts landing the No. 1 pick in the draft. And that eventually meant drafting Manning. You know how that story turned out. But here’s the kicker: Had the Colts won any of those three games that Harbaugh missed, it’s almost certain they would not have picked first. The first tiebreaker to determine draft order is opponents’ win percentage, and the Colts’ .531 mark was higher than three of the four 4-12 teams. Manning would have been a Charger, or maybe an Arizona Cardinal instead. The story doesn’t end there. The Baltimore Ravens needed a quarterback the following season in 1998 after they had planned to waive Vinny Testaverde, who played well for them but had a then-unseemly three years and $15 million left on his contract, which was a bugaboo for the cash-poor team right before it moved into the new stadium. So the Ravens discussed two veteran options favored by Marchibroda, who was entering his third and final year as Ravens head coach: Harbaugh and Kelly. Yes, the same Kelly who had retired after getting beaten to a pulp during the 1996 season. After a year off, he was sending out feelers around the league, hinting that he might consider coming back to the NFL if the right situation emerged. Marchibroda tasked his coaching staff to watch tape of both quarterbacks, the one-time combatants, to decide which would be the better option. He had coached both of them — Kelly when Marchibroda was the Bills’ offensive coordinator during the K-Gun heyday, and Harbaugh in 1994 and 1995 when he was with the Colts — and was feeling the pressure to deliver wins after a 10-21-1 record in his two Ravens seasons. “Kelly had been hurt a lot, had taken a lot of hits that [1996] season,” Don Strock, the Ravens’ quarterback coach that year, told Shutdown Corner. “I looked at some of those games, and I remember watching the Seattle game vividly. He was just getting killed. I know he’s a tough guy, but as you get older you lose your legs a little bit, that quickness in your arm — believe me, as a former player myself, I know. “He was kind of at that point. It had nothing to do with leadership. You could see he still had that. The guys rallied around him. But he was at the end of his career. He wasn’t someone who was going to put the Baltmore Ravens over the hump, I don’t think.” Neither would come cheap. Harbaugh was still under contract with the Colts, and Kelly reportedly was asking for a lot of money to leave his cushy TV gigs and with his own concerns about taking more of a beating in Baltimore. The Ravens’ coaching staff sat down in the weeks following the season for a discussion over what the best route would be. After other options were quickly dismissed — such as trading up in the draft for Manning or Ryan Leaf, or to try to trade for Carolina Panthers quarterback Kerry Collins — it boiled down to Harbaugh vs. Kelly. The conversation went coach by coach until it arrived at respected special-teams coordinator Scott O’Brien. A man who, by his own admission, was no expert on quarterbacks. “[Marchibroda] wanted Kelly,” O’Brien told Shutdown Corner. “But we had a meeting and we went around the room and took a vote. Now I know Jack and John Harbaugh, worked with them, and had met Jim a few times before that. I love Jim now, he’s my guy, but I didn’t know him then like I know him now. “I don’t know Jim Kelly at all, but when [the discussion] got to me, I said, ‘Ted, I don’t know [expletive] about quarterbacks. … I just know I want the guy who won the fight.’ I’m not sure Ted had any clue what I was talking about.” O’Brien isn’t sure if that settled it, he said recently with a laugh, but days later the Ravens had swung a trade for Harbaugh, sending a 1998 third-round pick to the Colts and swapping fourth-rounders. And as if it wasn’t bizarre enough that the choice came down to two quarterbacks who got into a fistfight the year prior, the fact that the Ravens made a major trade with the Colts — the team that left Baltimore 14 years earlier — added just another odd layer to the whole deal. Kelly is a proud cancer survivor and one of the best to play the game. Manning will join him in Canton the first year he’s eligible. Harbaugh, who came up just short of a Super Bowl with the 49ers, is blazing his own trail as one of the best college coaches in the country. Could all three converge again in some weird way? Well, there are still direct and indirect connections. Kelly likely will be on the college scene this fall with his nephew, Chad Kelly, one of the best senior quarterbacks in the country at Ole Miss. You know, the same school where Manning’s dad and little brother were stars. We say bring them all back together — let’s say at Michigan vs. Ole Miss at the Orange Bowl this coming January — and get the three men to sit down and tell the story of the punch that changed the course of NFL history.  – – – – – – – Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm View full post on Yahoo Sports – NFL – San Francisco 49ers News

Post info: By 49ersGold on May 23rd, 2016
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Jarryd Hayne announced his retirement from the National Football League on Sunday after playing one season with the San Francisco 49ers. Hayne, a running back, said the opportunity to play rugby sevens for Fiji in this year’s Rio Olympics prompted the decision. “I am retiring from the NFL because the Fiji Rugby Sevens team reached out to me about the opportunity to join the team for the upcoming Olympics, and I simply could not pass that chance up,” Hayne said in a statement. View full post on Yahoo Sports – NFL – San Francisco 49ers News

Post info: By 49ersGold on May 20th, 2016
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Former Australian rugby league star Jarryd Hayne’s hopes of chasing an Olympic dream after ditching a career in American football may be scuttled by anti-doping protocols, it emerged Monday. Hayne announced Sunday he was abandoning playing NFL with the San Francisco 49ers to pursue a spot on Fiji’s rugby sevens squad for this year’s Rio Games. View full post on Yahoo Sports – NFL – San Francisco 49ers News

Post info: By 49ersGold on May 20th, 2016
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Australian rugby league star Jarryd Hayne’s NFL experiment is over, as he announced his retirement Sunday from the San Francisco 49ers in order to push for selection in the Fiji Rugby Sevens team for the Rio Olympics. ”I simply could not pass that chance up,” Hayne said. A 6-foot-2, 220-pound running back and special teams player, the 28-year-old Hayne was a surprise to make the initial 53-man roster out of training camp as a rookie last year with San Francisco. View full post on Yahoo Sports – NFL – San Francisco 49ers News

Post info: By 49ersGold on May 19th, 2016
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Michael Cheika is happy to talk to Jarryd Hayne if his mission to play rugby sevens with Fiji at the Olympics falls through but the Wallabies coach will not go out of his way to woo the former National Football League player. Sydney-born Hayne dropped a bombshell earlier this week by quitting the NFL after a single season with the San Francisco 49ers and announcing his bid for the Rio de Janeiro Games. View full post on Yahoo Sports – NFL – San Francisco 49ers News

Post info: By 49ersGold on May 19th, 2016
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Running back Jahvid Best hasn’t been on an NFL roster since 2012, after spending three seasons with the Detroit Lions. But now he’s in training for a different pursuit. A first-round draft pick in 2010, Best’s football career was derailed by concussions; he suffered four in three years, including two in his final year at Cal and two during the 2011 season. He hasn’t played a snap since Week 6 of that season, against the San Francisco 49ers, when he had 110 yards from scrimmage but also suffered another concussion. View full post on Yahoo Sports – NFL – San Francisco 49ers News

Post info: By 49ersGold on May 18th, 2016
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By Greg Stutchbury WELLINGTON, May 16 (Reuters) – Fiji’s Olympic committee see no impediment to Jarryd Hayne joining their rugby sevens team for the Rio Games, even though he has not been subject to World Anti-Doping Agency accredited testing procedures while playing in the NFL. Hayne, who played one season for the San Francisco 49ers, said on Sunday he had chosen to “retire” from the NFL after being approached by the Fiji Rugby Union about making himself available for Rio. View full post on Yahoo Sports – NFL – San Francisco 49ers News

Post info: By 49ersGold on May 18th, 2016
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By Greg Stutchbury WELLINGTON (Reuters) – Fiji’s Olympic committee see no impediment to Jarryd Hayne joining their rugby sevens team for the Rio Games, even though he has not been subject to World Anti-Doping Agency accredited testing procedures while playing in the NFL. Hayne, who played one season for the San Francisco 49ers, said on Sunday he had chosen to “retire” from the NFL after being approached by the Fiji Rugby Union about making himself available for Rio. View full post on Yahoo Sports – NFL – San Francisco 49ers News

Post info: By 49ersGold on May 17th, 2016
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