Marcus Lattimore

NFC Notes: Rams, Cowboys, Foles, 49ers

As rumblings about a potential Rams move to Los Angeles persist, the city of St. Louis and the state of Missouri are taking a proactive approach to attempt to keep the franchise in the midwest. As Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com details, Missouri governor Jay Nixon spoke to reporters on a conference call today to discuss the city’s and state’s plan to keep the Rams. According to Nixon, former Anheuser Busch president Dave Peacock and local attorney Bob Blitz have been appointed to spend the next two months putting together options for the city’s next stadium solution. The team’s current lease on the Edward Jones Dome expires at season’s end.

“Make no mistake about it, St. Louis is an NFL city,” Nixon said. “Being an NFL city is a matter of civic and state pride and one of international significance. An NFL team in St. Louis sends a clear signal that this city is a worldwide player and sets it in a special class when it comes to a competitive, global marketplace. The economic impact of the Rams team in St. Louis extends long beyond Sunday afternoon and sends a clear signal that this city is a worldwide player.”

Here are a few more Wednesday items from across the NFC:

  • Cowboys wideout Dez Bryant, who hired Roc Nation Sports to represent him as he approaches free agency, will be repped by CAA’s Tom Condon and Roc Nation’s Kim Miale, tweets Liz Mullen of the SportsBusiness Journal.
  • Appearing on The Ticket KTCK-AM 1310 in Dallas, TheMMQB.com’s Peter King suggested he thinks running back Adrian Peterson will play for the Cowboys at some point. While he stressed that he doesn’t have any inside info, King said that he’s always viewed it as a likely scenario, even before “Jerry [Jones] had that silly flirtation with him last year” (link via the Dallas Morning News).
  • Following up on a report suggesting that the Eagles were souring on Nick Foles even before his injury, Howard Eskin of 94WIP (Twitter link) says he spoke with multiple team sources and was told the Eagles never discussed making a change to Mark Sanchez prior to Foles going down with a broken collarbone. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily contradict yesterday’s report, which seemed to suggest the club was considering longer-term alternatives to Foles, rather than a short-term change.
  • Although running back Marcus Lattimore never played a game for the 49ers, the team paid him his full salary during his two years on the non-football-injury list, and won’t try to recoup any of his $300K signing bonus, says Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter links). According to Rapoport, Lattimore will also seek payment on his $1.7MM disability policy, and has a “great chance” of receiving that.

Marcus Lattimore Announces Retirement

After taking a couple days to mull over his decision, 49ers running back Marcus Lattimore has decided to end his NFL career, the team announced today in a press release. Adam Caplan of ESPN.com had reported earlier this week that Lattimore was expected to retire due to ongoing knee issues.

“This was a very difficult decision for Marcus and it was clear after speaking with him that he had put a lot of thought into it,” said 49ers general manager Trent Baalke in a statement. “He is a high-character young man who has done everything asked of him and more during his time with us and we have a great deal of respect for the strength and commitment he showed throughout the rehab process. It has been a pleasure to have Marcus as a member of our team and our community and we are confident that he will be very successful in whichever path he chooses to take in life. We look forward to supporting Marcus and wish him nothing but the best.”

Lattimore, who turned 23 last week, never appeared in a regular season NFL game, having been sidelined by injuries since being selected in the fourth round of the 2013 draft by the Niners. This season, he was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list, and only began practicing last week, at which point he experienced some soreness and was forced to decide whether or not to continue his comeback.

“I have given every ounce of my energy toward making a full recovery from my knee injury, and I have made a lot of progress,” Lattimore said in his own statement. “Unfortunately, getting my knee fully back to the level the NFL demands has proven to be insurmountable. I am grateful for the entire 49ers organization. Their decision to draft me was the realization of a lifelong dream to be an NFL player, and I cannot thank them enough for believing in me and for doing everything in their power to assist in my recovery. I will always be a 49er!”

NFC Notes: Lattimore, Weeden, Newton

Let’s take a look at the latest from the NFC:

  • If Marcus Lattimore retires as expected, he should be able to collect on a $1.7MM insurance policy, Lattimore’s agent tells Darren Rovell of ESPN.com. The 49ers running back took out the policy during his junior year at South Carolina. Per Rovell, a standard disability policy for an athlete allows for a player to play no more than four games before deciding whether to act on the policy. Lattimore hasn’t played a single game since being drafted in the fourth round last year.
  • The Cowboys decided to release veteran Kyle Orton during the offseason and roll with Brandon Weeden as their backup quarterback, and although Weeden played poorly on Sunday against the Cardinals, owner Jerry Jones doesn’t regret his choice. “I don’t second guess that at all because we lost games with those experienced quarterbacks, with the quarterbacks that were more experienced,” Jones told Todd Archer of ESPN.com. “As a matter of fact we got knocked out of the playoffs with the more experienced quarterback (Orton) last year, and so I think it’s all relevant.”
  • ESPN.com’s David Newton examines whether the Panthers should act urgently in locking up Cam Newton to a long-term deal. For his part, Newton could afford to wait until next year to begin negotiations, as his current level of play doesn’t warrant the type of contract that Colin Kaepernick or Andy Dalton received, writes Newton.
  • Washington head coach Jay Gruden told reporters, including Tarik El-Bashir of CSNWashington.com, that the club intends to activate receiver Leonard Hankerson from the PUP list this week. Hankerson, who’s averaged 34 receptions and 459 yards over the past two seasons, would presumably slot in behind DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, and Andre Roberts as Washington’s fourth receiver.
  • The Patriots released defensive tackle Tommy Kelly just prior to the start of the season, which allowed the veteran to latch on with the Cardinals. He’s played well, and one Arizona assistant is glad New England decided to part ways with the 33-year-old. “Tell Bill (Belichick) I said, ‘Thank you,’ “ defensive line coach Brentson Buckner told Michael Silver of NFL.com. “Kelly’s been great for us. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

Marcus Lattimore Expected To Retire

9:02am: Per Rapoport (Twitter link), Lattimore will meet with doctors today to figure out the reason for his knee soreness, with a decision on his future likely to follow. The running back isn’t believed to have suffered any structural damage to his knee last week during practice, writes Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.

8:37am: 49ers running back Marcus Lattimore is expected to retire from the NFL due to ongoing knee issues, a source tells Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Caplan’s source doesn’t appear to be Lattimore’s agent, Michael Perrett, who tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) that “no decision has been made” yet on his client’s future, but confirms that the running back is weighing his options.

Lattimore, who turned 23 last week, has yet to make his NFL debut, having been sidelined by injuries since being selected in the fourth round of the 2013 draft by the Niners. This season, he was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list, and only began practicing this past week. If Lattimore continues his comeback attempt, the team would have until November 19 to activate him or place him on season-ending injured reserve.

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com had written yesterday that Lattimore would be “taking some time” to contemplate his future and decide whether to continue trying to get on the field. Lattimore practiced on Wednesday and Thursday last week, two years after suffering his second significant knee injury during his final year at South Carolina. However, he experienced some soreness and was held out of Friday’s session, prompting a source to tell Maiocco that the running back’s future was “up in the air.”

Whether Lattimore finalizes his decision to retire or takes one more shot at getting back on the field, we can probably expect some sort of official announcement in the near future.

NFC Links: Harbaugh, Donnell, Prater, Eagles

The 49ers have a very volatile situation on their hands, as tensions between management and head coach Jim Harbaugh are only outmatched by those between the coach and his players. Much has been made about this ongoing situation, but the team was still playing at a high level last week. Their defense suffocated the Eagles’ offense, and the team still looks like a Super Bowl contender despite currently sitting at third in the NFC West.

Seth Wickersham of ESPN profiled Harbaugh, writing that he thrives in chaos and that it doesn’t matter what the atmosphere is in the locker room. His competitiveness could be enough and overcome the tensions and the 49ers could be looking at another deep playoff run.

Here are some more links from around the NFC:

49ers Roster Moves, Martin Update

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets that 49ers rookie center Marcus Martin is expected to miss eight weeks of the regular season with a kneecap injury.

Also, Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News writes that the 49ers have trimmed their roster to 75 players after making the following series of moves:

Waived

Released

Released off Injured Reserve

Reserve/PUP List

Reserve/Non-Football Injury (NFI) List

  • RB Marcus Lattimore
  • FB Trey Millard
  • CB Keith Reaser
  • G Brandon Thomas

The players on the PUP and NFI lists are eligible to return to practice after the first six weeks of the regular season or otherwise be placed on a season-ending reserve list. That means, of course, that Bowman and Lattimore will officially miss the first six weeks of the season.

As Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee tweets, all seven players that were waived are eligible to be placed on the team’s practice squad.

 

 

Kendall Hunter Tears ACL

The 49ers have collected depth at the running back position, and that depth will be put to the test early with the news that Kendall Hunter suffered a torn right ACL, writes SFgate.com’s Eric Branch. Hunter, who missed five games in 2012 because of a torn Achilles, will now be sidelined for the final year of his rookie contract.

Healthy in 2013, Hunter averaged 4.6 yards per carry as Frank Gore‘s backup. Now, the 49ers will now turn to a group of talented, inexperienced backs, including second-rounder Carlos Hyde, “redshirt” Marcus Lattimore and third-down back/kick returner LaMichael James.

Marcus Lattimore Returns To Field

In what might be his first significant on-field action since suffering the second of two horrific knee injuries, 49ers running back Marcus Lattimore took the field for rookie minicamp drills yesterday, cleared to take handoffs and make basic cuts. NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling writes that Lattimore was expected to sit out minicamp with soreness in both legs, but the second-year back felt well enough to participate.

Lattimore, a fourth-round pick in 2013, spent the entirety of last season on the reserve/NFI list, and can thus participate in rookie camp.

A stacked depth chart at running back lies in front of Lattimore — incumbent starter Frank Gore, 2014 second-round pick Carlos Hyde and 2011 fourth-round pick Kendall Hunter — but long odds have never swayed Lattimore’s efforts. Many projected his career over after multiple torn knee ligaments on two separate injuries, but the 49ers saw enough promise to use a fourth-round pick on him in last year’s draft, and he’s determined to prove them right.

NFC Notes: Eagles, 49ers, Giants, Packers, Saints, Gettleman

Eagles GM Howie Roseman met with the media following the first-round selection of Marcus Smith 26th overall, and Philly.com’s Jeff McLane had seven follow-up thoughts. Most notably, Roseman shared his initial plan of attack. Plan A entailed the team having a list of six players likely to be gone by No. 22 (where the Eagles originally were position prior to the trade down) but worth moving up for. To the best of McLane’s knowledge, that list included Anthony Barr, Odell Beckham Jr., Kyle Fuller, Ryan Shazier, Brandin Cooks and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

When those players were gone, Roseman was prepared to move down, pick up an additional pick and choose the best player available. McLane is ” not convinced Smith was at the top of that list, but of the players there he played a premium position of need and thus was moved to the front.” McLane also spoke to other teams’ representatives whose grades on Smith ranged from second to fourth round.

Here’s several more quick-hitting, NFC news and notes:

  • The Eagles place on emphasis on college graduates, says Zach Berman of the Philadelphia Inquirer (via Twitter).
  • The Giants drafted Weston Richburg 43rd overall last night, and what made him attractive to the team was his ability to not only block effectively, but handle the responsibility associated with the position, says ESPN’s Dan Graziano. [Tom] Coughlin and GM Jerry Reese both said the center’s responsibility for handling line and protection calls will increase under new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. Giants VP of player evaluation Marc Ross said Richburg scored an impressive 31 on the Wonderlic test and impressed the Giants in his combine interview with his intelligence.”
  • The 49ers were very active Friday night, making five trades that netted veteran receiver Stevie Johnson as well as running back Carlos Hyde (No. 57), center Marcus Martin (No. 76), linebacker Chris Borland (No. 77) and offensive lineman Brandon Thomas (No. 100). Eric Branch at sfgate.com recaps the team’s busy day here. The 49ers also have seven picks in the final four rounds.
  • The 49ers deep stable of running backs now includes Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, Marcus Lattimore and Hyde. James wants more playing time and is open to a trade, but the team has no plans to move him, says ESPN’s Bill Williamson.
  • The Packers are confident Davante Adams is the next in a long line of productive receivers drafted in the second and third round, writes Bob McGinn in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
  • Redskins second-rounder Trent Murphy, whom the team expects to contribute right away as a nickel rusher, “protects the team’s long-term interests at OLB,” tweets NFL Network’s Albert Breer.
  • With the selection of big cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste 53rd overall, the Saints continue to build a “Seattle-like secondary,” writes Larry Holder of Nola.com.
  • The Panthers announced via Twitter that GM Dave Gettleman will draft remotely via Skype today so he can be present for his son’s college graduation.

NFC Notes: Lattimore, Vikings, Eagles, Lions

49ers running back Marcus Lattimore is poised to contribute to the team in a meaningful way in 2014, writes Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. The 2013 second-round pick, who suffered a gruesome knee injury while playing at South Carolina, aims to settle in as the third running back behind Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter. Following the defection of Anthony Dixon to the Bills and the 49ers willingness to trade LaMichael James, Lattimore could see ample amounts of playing time, and he seems ready to capitalize on the opportunity. “…I’ve just got to go in there and work hard. I can pass-protect and run the ball. I’ve got to show that,” said the 22-year-old. “If I prove it in practice, I don’t think there’s no excuse why I can’t play. I’m ready.”

More notes from around the National Football Conference:

  • The Vikings‘ pay-as-you-go structure (not giving massive signing bonuses) allows the team to not only have more fluid cap management, but enables them to cut declining players with ease, writes Ben Goessling of ESPN.com.
  • NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah lists Odell Beckham, Kelvin Benjamin, and Brandin Cooks as options for the Eagles with the No. 22 pick (via Bo Wolf of PhiladelphiaEagles.com). While DeSean Jackson obviously needs to be replaced, it would surprise me if Philadelphia doesn’t target defense in the first round, hoping to improve upon their 22nd-ranked unit (according to Football Outsiders) by adding to an abysmal secondary.
  • Justin Rogers of MLive.com, citing this excellent paper by economics professors Richard Thaler and Cade Massey, makes the case that the Lions should trade down from pick No. 10 in the draft and acquire more selections in what is considered a tremendously deep draft class.