Colin Kaepernick invited to personal meeting with Roger Goodell, report says

It appears the NFL is working to repair its relationship with quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Many believe Kaepernick was blackballed after the backlash in and around the league that he caused by kneeling during the national anthem last season.

Each founding member of the LOB has brought something different to the team beyond his physical talent. Sherman thrives off confrontation, bringing an edge to the defense. Chancellor is the unquestioned team leader and tone-setting enforcer whose levelheadedness helps keep the more emotional Thomas on task. Thomas is widely regarded as the most intense player on the team, to the point that Sherman once joked in the spirit of those most-interesting-man commercials that “Practices watch Earl Thomas” rather than the other way around.

Thomas is the most athletically gifted of the three, as reflected by his status as the 14th player chosen in the 2010 draft. But as with Chancellor (2010 fifth-rounder) and Sherman (2011 fifth-rounder), he is known as much for his mindset as for his talent.

“I do. From what I know, I do (expect him to play again this season),” Koetter said, via tampabay.com. “But again, it was rest him for two weeks, see where he’s at. We talked to multiple doctors. That’s what the plan is. There’s really nothing to add to that right now.

“I know Jameis is planning on playing again and there’s been no discussion between (GM) Jason (Licht), myself of him not playing again. That would all be something that would have to come up in the future.”

Winston left a 30-10 loss to the Saints early two weeks ago, and he hasn’t played since. He was completing 61.4 percent of his passes for 1,920 yards, 10 touchdowns and six interceptions before suffering the injury.
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Colin Kaepernick biding time to grasp ‘next opportunity’ as starter

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been a backup before and now that he’s No. 2 on the depth chart again, he’s biding his time for the next chance to play.

After that game in San Diego, Kaepernick pledged to donate the first $1 million he makes this season toward helping organizations he believes can make a difference. He said Wednesday that he’ll also donate the proceeds from the sales of his jersey to those same causes.

As Panthers tight end Greg Olsen said, “This is not the Super Bowl.” The Panthers aren’t approaching this as a game for revenge or redemption for their 24-10 loss in Super Bowl 50. They have moved on.

Much of the credit for that goes to coach Ron Rivera, who spent the offseason preparing his team to avoid a “Super Bowl hangover.” In case you’ve missed it, since the 1992-93 Buffalo Bills, no team that lost the title game has returned the following year. Rivera has talked to everyone from John Madden to a retired admiral for advice. The message has been received loud and clear by his players.

The focus, as cliché as it sounds, is to win the next game. This is the next game, and minus Pro Bowl cornerback Josh Norman, Carolina has back most of the team that went 15-1 in the 2015 regular season.

Kelvin Benjamin. As good as the Panthers were offensively last season, they didn’t have their No. 1 receiver. Benjamin, a 6-foot-5, 245-pound target, will help bail Cam Newton out of trouble when he needs to complete tough passes over the middle to keep the chains moving. As Denver linebacker Von Miller said, Benjamin is Newton’s “safety blanket.” Benjamin’s presence will make it tougher for the Broncos to take Olsen out of the game, as they did in the Super Bowl. He’ll also create opportunities for second-year wide receiver Devin Funchess, who is light years ahead of where he was a season ago.

Norman has been a focal point ever since he signed with Washington in the spring, following Carolina’s decision to rescind the franchise tag it had placed on him. Part of it stems from his contract, worth $15 million a year, the highest for a corner. He has been in headlines for his matchup with Odell Beckham Jr., based on what happened last year and because they play twice this season.

“I’m ready to leave that all behind me,” he said. “I really don’t want to talk about it much. I tried to block it out and try to focus on football — what’s important. I know I didn’t do anything wrong.

“We were very confident since Day 1. I wasn’t really worried that much. I was really focused on ball and let my lawyers and representatives handle the rest.”

Union: Santa Clara police might boycott 49ers games over Colin Kaepernick’s stance

The Santa Clara police union has sent a letter to the San Francisco 49ers, warning that police might stop working the team’s home games due to Colin Kaepernick’s statements on police brutality and his wearing of socks during a practice that showed cartoon pigs dressed as police officers.

Sanchez is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end under his current contract, which would be nullified if he were released and make him a free agent immediately. There is also the business side, beyond Sanchez’ salary, that the Broncos would not have to surrender a draft pick to the Philadelphia Eagles if Sanchez is not on the roster after Saturday.

Earlier this week Sanchez said he was determined to handle things in a “professional way,’’ and he promised to help Siemian and Lynch as much as possible.

“Few things are more important to me than my name and reputation. This might call that into question for some, which has me heartbroken,” Ninkovich said. “I don’t want to cut any corners. I want to do things the right way, with high integrity, and that’s what I have always wanted to stand for.”

Ninkovich, 32, has played in 116 consecutive games (including playoffs) for the Patriots since signing with the team as a free agent on Aug. 2, 2009.

“Any supplement I’ve ever used was bought at a store. I was unaware something I bought had a substance in it that would give me a positive test because it wasn’t listed [as an ingredient],” Ninkovich told ESPN.

“One thing I have learned is that if a supplement is not NSF certified, there are no regulations that ensure that what is on the label is 100 percent accurate. That is a hard lesson for me to learn at this stage in my career, but I take responsibility for it. It’s a mistake I made and it hurts that I won’t be there for my teammates.”

A team captain in 2015, Ninkovich tore his triceps during a training camp practice with the New Orleans Saints on Aug. 9 and was in jeopardy of missing the start of the season because of the injury.

He is valued for his pass-rush ability (47 career sacks, including playoffs) and toughness to set the edge against the run. Coach Bill Belichick has annually lauded Ninkovich’s toughness, versatility and intelligence.

While blocking out the noise, Matt Ryan still focused on that elusive Super Bowl

“I believe Matt is an elite quarterback,” offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said. “Matt was the third pick in the draft [in 2008]. He’s played a lot of good football. But being an elite quarterback also has to do with the people around you. Nobody is elite on their own.”

Ryan, 31, isn’t consumed with outside perception. It’s been his motto to block out the noise. However, he’s not totally immune to it. It annoys him, to a degree.

“I think a lot of times, maybe it affects some of the people around you more than it affects you, and that part of it isn’t fun,” the typically reserved Ryan said. “Obviously, when your wife is pissed off about something, that part of it isn’t fun.”

Criticism has mounted, in large part, as a result of Ryan’s financial status. He enters the 2016 season as one of 11 quarterbacks averaging $20 million-plus per season. Eight of the 11 — Cam Newton, Joe Flacco, Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Russell Wilson, Rodgers and Roethlisberger — have made it to the Super Bowl, with the latter seven winning titles. And two of the others — Philip Rivers and Andrew Luck — have four and three playoffs wins, respectively, so more than Ryan.

When a quarterback is set to make more than $100 million over a five-year period and eats up more than $20 million in cap space each of the next three seasons, the standards are raised.

“It’s kind of the going rate,” Ryan said of the $100 million plateau. “That’s not to be funny or anything. As you see now, we play our position and we go out and compete, and this is what I’ve done since 13 — played quarterback. It’s never been about [money]. I’m not complaining. [Money] is just one of the things that come along with it. With that comes added criticism, and there’s a certain expectation.

“What I need to do is do my job as best I can and not worry about what everyone else thinks about what you’re getting paid. This is something that comes up for every quarterback. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t affect the outcome of games. For me, the things that are important are the things that affect the outcome of games. That’s what I focus on.”

Ryan signed his contract in July 2013, well before the Falcons experienced a dramatic freefall. They’ve missed the playoffs the past three seasons while compiling an 18-30 mark. Ryan surpassing 4,500 passing yards in each of those seasons didn’t really matter in the grand scheme.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers are two weeks and one game into their preseason, and the quarterback competition between Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick still doesn’t have much in the way of clarity.

Gabbert started and had an up-and-down performance in Sunday’s 24-13 loss to the Houston Texans, while Kaepernick still is recovering from the right shoulder fatigue that kept him from throwing in two practices and the preseason opener.

But as training camp practices melt away, the best chances for one quarterback to gain separation do too. Which makes this week perhaps the most critical of the entire training camp when it comes to figuring out who will be playing the most important position in the game for the Niners in 2016.

49ers coach Chip Kelly often has pointed to the preseason games as integral milestones in the competition, and the same is true of the team’s three scheduled joint practices with opponents. While the day-to-day work in practice matters, it only goes up a notch when there’s another team on the other side.

This week brings two practices against the Broncos in Denver on Wednesday and Thursday, followed by Saturday’s preseason contest between the teams. One of the primary reasons the 49ers held Kaepernick out of Sunday’s game was to give him a chance to be ready to play this week in Denver.

“Colin isn’t 100 percent and it wouldn’t have been fair to put him in and judge him in a competition,” Kelly said. “We’re just trying to get him healthy and see if we can get him ready for this week against Denver.”