You have to dig long and hard to find the good news from Sunday’s game. But I think I discovered a gold nugget amid all the rubble from the 34-0 loss: The 49ers’ kick-return game is outstanding.

Here’s the snap count from Sunday's 34-0 win for the Broncos at Levi’s Stadium. Denver ran 71 plays, the 49ers had 59.

The only glitches in Levi's Stadium's NFL debut: There were still a few traffic snarls getting to the game, the audio for the National Anthem was spotty and the grass on the field hasn't fully taken root.

The only glitches in Levi’s Stadium’s NFL debut: There were still a few traffic snarls getting to the game, the audio for the National Anthem was spotty and the grass on the field hasn’t fully taken root.

The death of a 49ers fan at Levi's Stadium and the huge crowds who abandoned the sunny seats for shady concourses are shining a bright light on an issue that many Niner faithful were unprepared for Sunday: the heat.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh and his brother, San Francisco 49ers coach John Harbaugh, avoided questions about how they were alike and how they were different during joint practices last week.

Midway through the first quarter Sunday, nickel cornerback Jimmie Ward gave up a 15-yard pass to the Broncos’ slot receiver. Of course, he happened to be competing against “a legend” on the play.

SANTA CLARA – Midway through the first quarter Sunday, nickel cornerback Jimmie Ward gave up a 15-yard pass to the Broncos' slot receiver. Of course, he happened to be competing against “a legend” on the play.

SANTA CLARA -- Michael Crabtree, Frank Gore and Brandon Lloyd made their preseason debuts for the 49ers. Crabtree, who returned to practice on Friday after dealing with a muscle strain, started the game at wideout along with Anquan Boldin.

Like any tweak to the NFL rule book, the league’s scrutiny on defensive holding and illegal contact fouls this season is sure to draw mixed reactions from the 49ers.

Five key players to keep an eye on during today’s 49ers preseason game vs. the Broncos in Santa Clara:

Here are some key players - 10 plus a bonus player - who deserve scrutiny when the 49ers play the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

In the end, Jim Harbaugh had a bucket of ice water emptied over his head on Friday, but the 49ers coach made it clear it wasn’t because arch rival Pete Carroll challenged him to do it.

There will be no shakeup when it comes to the 49ers’ quarterback rotation Sunday against the Denver Broncos, Jim Harbaugh said Friday. Blaine Gabbert will be the second quarterback to enter the game, just as he was in the preseason opener in Baltimore.

First the good news from the 49ers' final training camp practice, which was held at Levi's Stadium: The team's injured players continue to trickle back into the lineup, headlined Friday by Michael Crabtree.

Jim Harbaugh said he recently received a “good report” on 49ers running back Marcus Lattimore from the two people in charge of his rehabilitation. Still, Lattimore is not yet ready to join his teammates at practice.

SANTA CLARA – There will be no shakeup when it comes to the 49ers' quarterback rotation Sunday against the Broncos, Jim Harbaugh said Friday. Blaine Gabbert will be the second quarterback to enter the game, just as he was in the preseason opener in Baltimore.

*ICE BUCKET UPDATE* -- Jim Harbaugh said he will accept the ice-bucket challenge. But not Pete Carroll’s challenge.

San Francisco and the nation turn its eyes toward Levi’s Stadium for Sunday’s pre-season NFL game, having said goodbye Thursday to Candlestick Park.

San Francisco said goodbye Thursday to Candlestick Park — the stadium where the city's beloved Giants and 49ers celebrated some of their greatest triumphs.

Capitol Corridor officials announced today trains will deliver 49er fans directly to the team's new stadium in Santa Clara, starting this weekend with a 25 percent ticket discount for people attending the team's inaugural game at Levi's Stadium.

Check in on what The Bee's Matt Barrows had to say during Thursday's live chat focusing on the 49ers as they get near the end of preseason practice.

Saying a young player is like Aldon Smith is a loaded simile. Smith very well may be the best pass rusher in the league, and he's drawn heaping spoon fulls of praise this summer from everyone from Jim Harbaugh to John Harbaugh to Joe Staley.

Marijuana is casting an ever-thickening haze across NFL locker rooms, and it's not simply because more players are using it.

When Jim Harbaugh last week said reinforcements were set to arrive on his depleted roster, he wasn't kidding.

Glenn Dorsey had never had surgery in his life. So before his procedure to repair a torn biceps tendon this month, he went to teammate Ian Williams for advice on what to expect.

The 49ers began their fourth week of training camp Wednesday. Some positions are beginning to take shape. Others remain cloudy. Here’s where things stand on defense as the team prepares for Sunday’s game against Denver, the first NFL game at Levi’s Stadium:

When both Michael Wilhoite and rookie Chris Borland started last Thursday’s preseason opener at inside linebacker, it illustrated where things stand in the battle to replace NaVorro Bowman early in the season.

A music therapy program for pediatric patients received a boost Wednesday when NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young and his wife, Barb, presented a check for $150,000 to Sutter Children’s Center, Sacramento to construct a music therapy facility on the midtown campus of Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento.

When both Michael Wilhoite and Chris Borland started Thursday's preseason opener at inside linebacker, it was an illustration of where things stand in the battle to replace NaVorro Bowman early in the season.

Apparently, the 49ers didn’t dodge every injury bullet during their six-day trip to Maryland. The team on Wednesday placed linebacker and special teams standout Blake Costanzo on injured reserve and signed another inside linebacker with special teams ability, Kion Wilson. Costanzo was injured in Thursday’s game but did not leave the contest. The team did not specify his injury.

As the 49ers enter their fourth week of training camp and begin preparing for Sunday’s preseason game against Denver – the first NFL game at Levi’s Stadium – some positions are beginning to take shape. Others remain cloudy.

The reinforcements are beginning to arrive.

Ajit Pai called the NFL's television blackout rules "outdated," and urged his fellow Federal Communications Commission representatives to vote in favor of having them repealed to address fan concerns.

As the 49ers head into their fourth week of training camp, some positions are beginning to take shape. Others remain cloudy. Here's where things stand on offense as the team returns home from six days in Maryland.

Jim Harbaugh acknowledged that NFL players and coaches are accustomed to high-end accommodations and that when something isn’t up to snuff there is plenty of griping. The suggestion box after the 49ers’ six-day trip to Baltimore, however, is empty.

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Jim Harbaugh acknowledged that NFL players and coaches are accustomed to high-end accommodations and that when something isn't up to snuff there is plenty of griping.

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Joe Flacco got plenty of opportunities to show off his big arm in Saturday's practice, hitting his speedy receivers, especially newcomer Steve Smith, on several deep passes. On Sunday, however, the 49ers defense struck back.

“Got high on a few plays.” That was 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh’s note on Joe Looney’s exhibition debut at right guard. Looney played 24 snaps Thursday in Baltimore, the most memorable coming on a third-and-short run near the Ravens’ goal line when he could not contain nose tackle Brandon Williams, who spun free of Looney’s block and tackled tailback Jewel Hampton for a 1-yard loss.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco had plenty of opportunities to show off his big arm in Saturday’s joint practice with the 49ers, hitting his speedy receivers on several deep passes.

Adjusting to new technology just isn't easy for some people, even in the NFL where everyone is trying to find that winning edge.

Two days after they faced each other in their preseason openers, the 49ers and Ravens scrimmaged for 21⁄2 hours in hot and muggy Maryland. The result: Many handshakes and several affectionate back thwacks.

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- “Got high on a few plays.”

Anquan Boldin and his wife, Dionne, couldn’t decipher the slew of vague text messages that appeared on her phone when they landed in Dakar, Senegal, in March 2013. A few minutes later, when they were in the terminal, the mystery was revealed. During the eight-hour flight from the United States, Boldin was traded from the Baltimore Ravens to the 49ers for a sixth-round draft pick.

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Two days after they faced each other in their preseason openers, the 49ers and Ravens scrimmaged for 2 ½ hours in hot and muggy Maryland. The result: A whole bunch of handshakes and some affectionate back thwacks.

Tank Carradine on Thursday played in his first game since tearing his ACL at Florida State in 2012. He wasn’t exactly eased back into the fray.

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- When it comes to the issue of practice-field fisticuffs, the Harbaugh brothers are on the same page: Fights usually are trumped up by the media.

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Wide receiver Lance Lewis, who spent time with Washington and Dallas, signed with the 49ers. To make room, the team waived/injured receiver Chuck Jacobs, who suffered a torn ACL on a kickoff return Thursday against Baltimore.

Yes, Blaine Gabbert had a rough debut for the 49ers. But he wasn't helped by wide receiver Chuck Jacobs, who dropped a pass in the second quarter and on the next play fell to the ground just shy of the first down marker, prompting a three-and-out punt. Jacobs, a preseason standout a year ago, had a game to forget.

BALTIMORE – Second-year defensive lineman Quinton Dial spent the offseason training alongside fellow linemen Justin Smith and Ray McDonald, and it showed on Thursday.

Tank Carradine figured he'd play perhaps 20 snaps in his NFL debut on Thursday. The defensive linemen ended up playing triple that as the 49ers, already thin on defensive linemen, lost two more in the game. Sixty snaps would be considered a fairly busy game in the regular season.

BALTIMORE Anyone searching for 49ers highlights from their preseason opener Thursday didn’t have to plunge very deep into the footage.

The meeting between 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith and Commissioner Roger Goodell, originally scheduled for today, instead took place Thursday.

BALTIMORE – Anyone searching for 49ers highlights from their 23-3 loss in the preseason opener Thursday didn't have to plunge very deep into the footage.

General manager Trent Baalke confirmed today that the meeting between Aldon Smith and Commissioner Roger Goodell, which was originally scheduled for Friday, already has taken place. During the radio broadcast, play-by-play announcer Ted Robinson said the meeting occurred today, presumably at Goodell’s New York headquarters.

Carlos Hyde started Thursday's preseason opener for the 49ers at running back. Veteran Frank Gore took part in warmups and has been healthy throughout training camp. But at age 31, Gore is likely to see only light work in the summer session.

“He had some rough days out there,” said Brent Smith, then the coach at Clay-Chalkville High in Pinson, Ala. “It was a deal where we had to give him some tough love at times.”

Matt Leland ‏@MattLeland

Five key players to keep an eye on during today’s 49ers preseason opener vs. the Ravens in Baltimore:

The 49ers Museum, located on the north side of Levi’s Stadium, opens Friday. Tickets are $15. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the things you’ll find inside.

If this year’s 49ers training camp has seemed friskier than a traditional Jim Harbaugh-led camp, it’s because there’s more competition than there’s ever been. This is according to Colin Kaepernick, who spoke to reporters before the team flew to Baltimore on Tuesday.

Ten 49ers to watch in Baltimore on Thursday:

If 49ers training camp has seemed friskier than a traditional Jim Harbaugh-led camp, it’s because there’s more competition than there’s ever been. This according to Colin Kaepernick, who spoke to reporters before the team flew to Baltimore.

If you’re ever invited to watch Andy Lee’s video from Saturday’s soccer game at Levi’s Stadium, prepare to be disappointed. It doesn’t involve any on-field action between the Earthquakes and Seattle Sounders. Instead the 49ers’ punter focused on how the flags that ring the stadium behaved at the first game played in his team’s new digs.

Chris Cook certainly didn’t look like someone seeking his first NFL interception during Monday’s practice at Levi’s Stadium. The 49ers cornerback, who was filling in for injured Chris Culliver, came up with two interceptions, including a dazzling, diving effort in the end zone on a long pass from backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Cook also victimized Josh Johnson on a throw to the sideline.

The consensus after the 49ers' first-ever practice at their new stadium: The grass is fantastic.

NFL kickers are certifiable weather nuts, and Andy Lee and Phil Dawson have plenty of tricks at their disposal.

How little impact did wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin make this summer? The 49ers on Sunday released the former first-round draft pick to make room for an undrafted rookie wideout, L’Damian Washington, whom the Cowboys cut Saturday.

The 49ers defense served up a heaping portion of pancakes and interceptions on Sunday with Jimmie Ward, Perrish Cox, safety D.J. Campbell and even defensive end Demarcus Dobbs – who dropped into coverage – coming up with a pick.

The Jonathan Baldwin experiment is over in San Francisco.

Veteran nose tackle Glenn Dorsey suffered a torn left biceps in Friday’s 49ers practice, according to multiple sources, and he will have surgery to repair the injury. It’s unknown whether Dorsey will miss the entire season, but the injury was described as “significant.” A time line for his recovery will be decided after the surgery.

Veteran nose tackle Glenn Dorsey suffered a torn left bicep in Friday’s practice, according to multiple sources, and he will have surgery to repair the damage. It’s unknown whether Dorsey will miss the entire season but the injury was described as “significant.” A time line for his recovery will be decided after the surgery.

The 49ers unveiled their impressive art collection -- more than 700 pieces -- on Friday. Here’s a small sample of what’s inside:

The 49ers had their first “live” tackling session of the offseason on Friday, a first-and-goal drill that mostly incorporated running plays.

Jim Harbaugh wore his cleats to his evening practice Friday. It was a wise choice. The 49ers coach found himself having to move quickly and maintain his footing as he snuffed out two dustups, including one that resulted in Anquan Boldin, the coaches’ choice for MVP last season, being sent off the field.

The ultimate compliment for Carlos Hyde this summer would be that he runs like Frank Gore. The second-best endorsement? Hyde already received it this week when two of the 49ers’ most important offensive coaches said the rookie running back learns like Gore, whose ability to pick up plays and process schemes has been called savant-like by 49ers coaches beginning with Mike Nolan.

The 49ers are down to one true nose tackle after veteran Glenn Dorsey went off the field with an injury to his left arm. A member of the team’s medical staff spent time flexing Dorsey’s arm and appeared to be looking at his biceps or elbow. Dorsey did not return to practice and the severity of his injury is not known.

Jim Harbaugh wore his cleats to practice today. It was a wise choice.

The 49ers have reached the stage of training camp at which players start leaving the practice field for the trainer’s table. Jim Harbaugh gave an update on several of them this morning.

Refreshing. That was the word in Jim Harbaugh's holster when he was asked this morning about his and owner Jed York's decision to table contract discussions until after the 49ers' season.

Look out, Jerry Jones. You have competition.

Team owner Jed York said Thursday that he and coach Jim Harbaugh have agreed to table contract talks until the end of the 49ers’ season. According to a source, the 49ers made Harbaugh a contract proposal earlier this offseason, but he never responded. He has two years remaining on a five-year deal that pays him $5 million a season. The two sides also discussed an extension last season but made no progress.

Jed York today said today that he and Jim Harbaugh have agreed to table contract talks until the end of the 49ers' season.

There's no swearing in football, goshdarnit.

On Wednesday, cornerback Perrish Cox bit on an underneath move by receiver Anquan Boldin but was able to recover in time to make a dazzling interception deep down field. On Thursday, he couldn't make up the ground.

Michael Crabtree not only is okay after sitting out the last one and half practices of training camp, Greg Roman thinks the 49ers receiver is in better shape than ever.

As expected, Aldon Smith will meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in New York during the 49ers’ six-day trip to Baltimore. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the meeting will occur Aug. 8, one day after the 49ers play the Ravens in the preseason opener.

Outside linebacker Corey Lemonier spent the offseason working out with Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Glenn Dorsey … and his Labrador-pit bull mix.

Training camp practice No. 6 was a good one for 49ers defensive backs with Darryl Morris, rookies Dontae Johnson and Jimmie Ward and especially Perrish Cox making plays throughout the session.

Aldon Smith will miss today's 49ers practices to attend a hearing in Los Angeles that will put closure on the bomb-threat incident that occurred at Los Angeles International Airport in April.

Chris Cook had an interception in today's practice. That normally wouldn't be momentous enough news to lead off a notebook, except for the fact that interceptions have been Cook's nemesis thus far in his career.

General manager Trent Baalke and other members of the 49ers have reached out recently to holdout Alex Boone, according to multiple sources, but the team's starting right guard remains resolute in his stance.

During his first stint with the 49ers, Brandon Lloyd wanted to be a rap star. Now in his second go-around with the team, he wants to be a teacher, something for which – unlike his rap career – he is receiving positive reviews.

During his first stint with the 49ers, Brandon Lloyd wanted to be a rap star. On his second go-around with the team, he wants to be a teacher, something for which – unlike his rap career – he is receiving positive reviews.

Levi’s Stadium, which will get broken in Saturday when the MLS San Jose Earthquakes host the Seattle Sounders, will be the sight of an even bigger soccer match later this year. The 49ers announced today that the Mexican National Team, which has a huge following in Northern California, will play against Chile on Sept. 6. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.

The 49ers received a reinforcement to their dwindling running backs corps in the form of Alfonso Smith, who spent the last four seasons with the division rival Arizona Cardinals, typically entering games on third downs.

Eric Mangini may not have had experience coaching tight ends before the year began, but he already was quite familiar with his most prominent pupil.

See what The Bee's Matt Barrows had to say during Monday's a live chat focusing on the 49ers, who are in camp and in pads, beginning earnest preparation for the upcoming NFL season.

All offseason, Jim Harbaugh has talked about how the defensive line is a “position of strength” for the 49ers. That's been on display over the last two days of padded practice, including on Sunday.

Poor Jonathan Martin.

LaMichael James, who Sunday morning appeared poised to become the 49ers’ No. 2 running back because of Kendall Hunter’s injury, suffered a dislocated elbow in practice in the afternoon and will miss about a month.

LaMichael James, who yesterday appeared poised to become the 49ers’ No. 2 running back due to Kendall Hunter’s injury, suffered a dislocated elbow in practice today and will miss a month. Suddenly the 49ers, who had one of the deepest and most intriguing running-back groups in the NFL when training camp began Thursday, are thin at the position.

During Saturday's practice, Tramaine Brock showed why the 49ers felt comfortable moving on from long-time starting cornerbacks Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown in the offseason.

The 49ers activated two draft picks from injury lists -- outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, who suffered a hamstring strain in the spring, and center Marcus Martin, who rolled his ankle prior to training camp.

Marcus Lattimore has missed the first three days of training camp after taking part in practices in May and June. But 49ers general manager Trent Baalke insists the running back has not encountered a setback in his return from reconstructive knee surgery.

The 49ers expect Commissioner Roger Goodell to decide on a punishment for outside linebacker Aldon Smith before the regular season and perhaps before the team’s Aug. 7 preseason opener at Baltimore.

Earlier this year, the 49ers’ LaMichael James was pining to be traded from a team on which he received scant carries last season and had a glut of running backs.

Earlier this year LaMichael James was eager to be traded from a team on which he received scant carries last season and on which there was a glut of running backs.

Greg Roman says the 49ers work on screen plays in practice and they “always have them in our back pocket.” This year, there might be a better opportunity to move them from the back pocket to the play list.

Kendall Hunter suffered an ACL tear when he went down early in Friday’s practice, multiple sources have confirmed this morning. The fourth-year running back’s right knee buckled after catching a swing pass. It’s the second severe injury Hunter, who has been Frank Gore’s main backup since 2011, has suffered in as many years.

Eric Mangini may not have had experience coaching tight ends before the year began, but he was already quite familiar with his most prominent pupil.

Ask Jim Harbaugh about one of his players, and you get an avalanche of praise whether warranted or not. Ask Vic Fangio about a player, and you get a frank answer. Which is why the 49ers’ defensive coordinator’s response about first-round pick Jimmie Ward on Friday was worth noting.

The second full practice of training camp was marked by an injury to running back Kendall Hunter. After catching a quick swing pass from Blaine Gabbert, Hunter tried to juke incoming Perrish Cox, but his right knee locked up and Hunter went to the ground.

Vernon Davis made his offseason debut on Thursday, but the most prominent tight end on the field was his understudy. Vance McDonald had perhaps the catch of the day -- a leaping sideline grab over Antoine Bethea -- and looked solid throughout the session.

Ask Jim Harbaugh about one of his players and you get an avalanche of praise whether the player warrants it or not. Ask Vic Fangio about a player and you get a frank answer.

Here’s the transcript from Jim Harbaugh’s first press conference of training camp that was provided by the 49ers public relations staff. Apparently, he really enjoyed his own birth. The event was the first for Harbaugh in the team’s new spacious auditorium on the ground floor of Levi’s Stadium. -- Matt Barrows

'First impressions' was one of the themes of the opening practice of 49ers training camp today. And no one made a better one than first-round draft pick Jimmie Ward, who was coming back from a Jones' fracture (foot) this spring and didn't get on the field until recently.

Aldon Smith said Thursday he will meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in New York some time in the “near future” to discuss the incidents for which he was sentenced last week, but a date has not been set. Goodell will decide on any suspension for Smith, the 49ers’ top pass rusher, shortly thereafter.

Asked how he’ll deal with a challenge from a phalanx of young and talented running backs this year, the 49ers’ Frank Gore turned toward his questioner, smiled and said, “I’m from Miami, man.”

Jim Harbaugh said the 49ers “hit it out of the park” when it came to Wednesday’s conditioning test with everyone receiving a passing grade. But a number of players, including one prominent young player and four draft picks, didn’t take part due to injuries.

Aldon Smith today said he will meet with Commissioner Roger Goodell in New York some time in the “near future” to discuss the incidents for which he was sentenced last week but that a date has not been set. Goodell is expected to decide on any suspension for Smith, the 49ers' top pass rusher, shortly thereafter.

Vernon Davis’ training camp holdout ended before it began.

The 49ers kick off training camp with another stacked and established roster, and as usual few starting spots are in doubt. But there is at least some intrigue. Injuries and right guard Alex Boone’s holdout make the summer competition a bit spicier than in recent years. The first practice is at 2:30 p.m. today. Here are the top battles:

If Justin Smith wasn’t his usual havoc-causing self last season, there was a good reason.

Asked how he’ll deal with a challenge from a phalanx of young and talented running backs this year, Frank Gore today smiled and said, “I’m from Miami, man.”

Vernon Davis is in the building.

Where have you gone, 2011 49ers? New coach. Plucky attitude. Made-for-Lifetime-Channel story lines. But today, the 49ers report to training camp, and that levity is gone. It’s no longer fun; it’s business.

The competition between Marcus Lattimore and Carlos Hyde, both of whom were big-time running backs in big-time conferences, has captured the imagination of fans and fantasy football pundits alike. I know I've done at least two national radio interviews in the last week where that has been a hot topic.

The 49ers have built the first sports stadium in the country to be awarded LEED Gold status upon completion, owner Jed York announced on Monday via Twitter. A LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is recognized as the premier mark of achieving environmentally friendly architecture. The Ravens -- whom the 49ers will visit next month -- have the NFL’s only other LEED Gold building. They got it by retrofitting M&T Bank Stadium last year.

We continue to examine the 49ers’ most intriguing training-camp battles today with a look at what has been one of the most stable spots in recent years, the offensive line.

Over the next three days, I’ll try to hit on the most intriguing battles in 49ers training camp, which gets underway with a Thursday practice.

For the last 100 years, the Florida town of Pahokee’s most valuable commodity was thought to be its soil. The 49ers’ Anquan Boldin, a native son, believes its people will be its salvation. And the hope is that the kids who escape Pahokee and its poverty don’t leave forever but, like him, return to help lift it from the muck.

The 49ers placed Ian Williams, who began last season as their starter at nose tackle, on the physically-unable-to-perform list today. Williams was injured early in the second game of the season when he was cut block by Seahawks guard J.R. Sweezy. The hit did not result in a penalty at the time, but it would this year after a rule was passed in the offseason that penalizes blockers from rolling up on the back or side of the legs of a defender.

The 49ers on Thursday placed eight players on various injury lists, including seven members of this year's 12-man draft class. One name that was notably absent, however, was first-round pick Jimmie Ward.

The 49ers on Thursday announced a two-year extension for tackle Joe Staley that will keep him in a red-and-gold uniform through the 2019 season.

Of the 49ers' two potential training-camp holdouts, one has a stronger argument than the other. Whereas Vernon Davis currently is the fourth highest-paid tight end in the NFL, you'd have to drop far down the list of starting guards to find Alex Boone's name.

Vernon Davis is now the fourth highest-paid tight end in the league. As expected, the Saints’ Jimmy Graham now leads the way at the position after agreeing to a four-year deal that, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, is worth as much as $40 million.

Reports last week linked the 49ers to Darius Lipford, a linebacker who played at North Carolina and who was among the players who went unclaimed in last week’s supplemental draft. Lipford (6-2, 255) may indeed end up signing with San Francisco, but first he will work out for the team, according to a league source. Lipford is flying to the West Coast today and will work out on Tuesday.

Aldon Smith will not be charged with making a bomb threat at Los Angeles International Airport in April. Instead, the 49ers linebacker is expected to attend a hearing later this month to explain his side and to receive advice on how to avoid similar circumstances in the future.

Aldon Smith will not be charged with making a bomb threat at Los Angeles International Airport in April. Instead, the 49ers linebacker is expected to attend a hearing later this month to explain his side of the story and to receive advice on how to avoid similar circumstances in the future.

As he has throughout the offseason, Jim Harbaugh last week discussed how the defensive line was a 49ers' strength in 2014. Then he ticked off the players who lined up there this spring.

The 49ers have the best inside-linebacker tandem in the game, they drafted an inside linebacker last year and they took one in the third round this year. The middle of their defense runneth over with linebackers, and still Shayne Skov chose the 49ers from the list of teams vying for him.

First the bad news for aspiring, young safeties on the 49ers: The team lost one safety during the offseason (Donte Whitner) while gaining two (Antoine Bethea and Jimmie Ward). That's difficult math to overcome on perhaps the most talent-laden roster in the league.

This is the first entry in a series on 49ers underdogs -- players who aren't household names but who have a solid, puncher's chance to land a spot on perhaps the most talented roster in the league.

Quarterbacks don't like watching their passes end up in the hands of a defender, but in this case McLeod Bethel-Thompson was happy to make an exception.

The spring semester is over for the 49ers and school’s out until training camp begins next month. Here were the top story lines for the just-ended sessions:

Minicamp is over for the 49ers, and The Bee's Matt Barrows is ready to discuss what was revealed about the team and its players during the pre-summer workouts. Join him for a live chat at 11 a.m. today for questions and answers.

At the close of the 49ers' minicamp yesterday, Jim Harbaugh began his press conference by praising LaMichael James, Kendall Hunter, Blaine Gabbert, Brandon Lloyd and Bruce Ellington for their efforts this spring. Then he went on to name just about everyone else on the roster.

SANTA CLARA – Michael Crabtree averaged 61 receiving yards a game and helped lift the 49ers’ foundering passing attack when he returned from his Achilles injury Dec. 1.

SANTA CLARA Coach Jim Harbaugh was in a charitable mood Thursday, ending his team’s final practice of the spring 35 minutes early and then handing out 59 certificates and T-shirts to the players who achieved perfect attendance during the 49ers’ offseason program.

Jim Harbaugh was in a charitable mood Thursday, ending his team's final practice of the spring 35 minutes early and then handing out 59 congratulatory certificates to the players who achieved perfect attendance during the 49ers' offseason program.

Michael Crabtree averaged 61 receiving yards a game and helped lift the 49ers' floundering passing attack when he returned from his Achilles' injury on Dec. 1. But his teammates said that despite the near miraculous recovery – Crabtree completely tore the Achilles' on May 21 – he never was himself last season, including during his showndown with Richard Sherman in the NFC Championship game.

Some of you have asked whether, given that 300-plus-pound Lawrence Okoye is one of the fastest players on the team, he could land a roster spot solely as a special teams ace in the way that guys like Blake Costanzo and Bubba Ventrone have in the past. Here’s Jim Harbaugh’s answer to that question:

Vernon Davis isn't attending minicamp. And two of the 49ers' top three (expected) wide receivers – Michael Crabtree and Stevie Johnson – aren't taking part in anything beyond team drills. So it might be expected that the defense has the upper hand on the offense in mid June.

SANTA CLARA – Tank Carradine picked up a few things in the 49ers’ film room last season, and he learned some tricks of the trade from watching teammates such as Justin Smith, whom he’ll likely relieve at times this year.

Jim and John Harbaugh may live on opposite sides of the country, but the brothers will be seeing an awful lot of each other this summer.

Tank Carradine picked up a few things in the film room last season and he learned some tricks of the trade from watching teammates like Justin Smith, whom he'll likely relieve at times this year.

The 49ers just wrapped up Day 1 of their mandatory minicamp, and while everyone on the team (not named Vernon Davis and Alex Boone) was on hand, there were a number of players who didn't practice. Long-time veterans Justin Smith and Frank Gore, for example, continued their OTA habit of working out at the team facility but not going through practice.

Last year at this time, Vernon Davis was blowing past 49ers defensive backs and hauling in one deep ball after another.

Two of the no-shows at 49ers minicamp Tuesday – tight end Vernon Davis and guard Alex Boone – were expected. The third was not. “Eric Wright is not here,” coach Jim Harbaugh said of the team’s backup cornerback. “I believe he’s making a decision not to play football.” Later in the day, Wright, 28, filed retirement paperwork with the NFL

There were three no-shows for the 49ers mandatory minicamp today. Two of them – tight end Vernon Davis and guard Alex Boone – were expected. The third was not.

Will he or won’t he show up for today’s mandatory minicamp? Vernon Davis had been sending mixed signals, and as recently as last week he said he would take part in the 49ers’ three-day session. It turns out that the team’s tight end did not show up on time, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

SANTA CLARA Ah, mid-June in the NFL, when the newsiest items involve contract negotiations, courtroom hearings and more contract negotiations.

For the last few weeks, Vernon Davis' possible contract holdout was a bit fuzzy. After all, the only practice sessions he missed were voluntary (which meant it was not an official holdout), the only thing the tight end forfeited was a $200,000 workout bonus, and in a series of recent interviews he said he might, then he said he would, attend the team’s first mandatory session that begins Tuesday.

The 49ers are not one of the 10 teams who have inquired about cornerback Brandon Flowers, whom the Chiefs cut on Friday. Flowers was a six-year starter who made the Pro Bowl in 2013, but the Chiefs will save as much as $7.25 million in salary-cap space with his release.

There's been plenty going on this spring for the San Francisco 49ers, and The Bee's Matt Barrows had plenty to say about that and other issues surrounding the team.

There are plenty of rumblings that the United States could get a second crack at hosting the 2022 World Cup now that the decision to allow Qatar to run the tournament is under review. The U.S. finished second in bidding to Qatar, which is being accused of essentially buying the bid.

Investigators in Miami found no evidence that a crime occurred in 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s hotel room on April 1 in what turns out to be a bizarre case brought by a 25-year-old Atlanta woman who had to be sedated and strapped to a stretcher while screaming about devils.

Both Jim Harbaugh and George Whitfield have been called “The Quarterback Whisperer” at various points in the last few years. That alone says a lot about Harbaugh adding Whitfield to his staff as an intern this spring and summer. That is, some football coaches can be – loud cough -- a wee bit territorial. They want another coach tinkering with one of their players as much as a master painter wants another artist adding a few bold flourishes to their latest piece.

Sarah Harbaugh, who in January admitted to throwing away her husband's pleated, $8 khaki pants he bought at Wal-Mart, has gone a step further. Just in time for Father's Day, the wife of the 49ers' head coach filmed a PSA – a hilarious PSA – advocating Dockers for those families who have dealt with a bad-dad-pants situation like hers.

Veteran safety Antoine Bethea, who signed a four-year free-agent contract, will take over for departed Donte Whitner.

Here are the official numbers for Colin Kaepernick's new contract. The deal averages $19 million overall and $18.666 over the first three years. See where his average per-year-total ranks among quarterbacks.

Colin Kaepernick's new found wealth hasn't affected his attire – at least above the ankles. The 49ers quarterback arrived at his press conference today wearing a black 49ers t-shirt and gray workout shorts.

The 49ers and Colin Kaepernick have reached agreement on a record-breaking six-year contract extension that will lock in the quarterback through the 2020 season. The two sides met all day Tuesday as well as today in Santa Clara. The deal is worth as much as $126 million, according to two sources who have seen the contract. The $61 million guarantee is the largest ever in NFL.

The tall, skinny quarterback with the oddball delivery who didn’t get any attention from the big colleges coming out of Turlock signed one of the NFL’s biggest deals Wednesday.

Et tu, NFL?

Reading time, two minutes ....

Vernon Davis on Wednesday admitted he was watching Jimmy Graham's contract situation closely and was rooting for the Saints tight end, er, wide receiver to come out a winner. The Saints placed the franchise tag on Graham this year at the tight end rate. He argues that he should be tagged as a receiver, a figure nearly $5.3 million greater.

During OTA practices a year ago, Lawrence Okoye was a physical specimen. Today he looks more like a football player.

The catch of the day in Tuesday’s OTA session was turned in not by a wide receiver or a tight end but by a quarterback. Lined up as a wideout during seven-on-seven drills, Josh Johnson had a dazzling reception along the end line of the end zone on a ball he wrestled from rookie corner Dontae Johnson.

Blake Costanzo, the charismatic special-teams standout who became both a fan- and locker-room favorite in 2011, is back with the team after agreeing to a one-year deal. Costanzo left for Chicago as a free agent early in 2012, and the 49ers’ special-teams coverage units dipped that season.

The 49ers, who on Sunday received enough salary-cap relief to accommodate a contract extension for Colin Kaepernick, wasted no time reviving long-dormant discussions with the quarterback’s representatives.

The 49ers, who on Sunday received enough salary-cap relief to accommodate a contract extension for Colin Kaepernick, are wasting no time rekindling discussions with the quarterback's representatives. According to a source close to the situation, the two sides will meet this week in Santa Clara.

Blake Costanzo, a special teams standout who became a fan favorite in 2011, is back with the team after agreeing to a one-year deal, agent David Canter confirmed this morning. Costanzo left for Chicago as a free agent early in 2012 and the 49ers’ special teams coverage units dipped that season. They rebounded last year with a core of players that included Ray “Bubba” Ventrone, Kassim Osgood and C.J. Spillman.

At the same time the 49ers received a salary-cap boost that will allow them to handle a long-term extension for quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the Miami investigation involving Kaepernick and two other plays entered its third month. Police there said they are waiting on a key piece of information.

The Saints and former 49ers center Jonathan Goodwin reportedly have agreed on a short-term contract, multiple outlets out of New Orleans are reporting today. Goodwin anchored the 49ers' offensive line for the last three seasons but was not expected back this season. His former job likely will go to veteran Daniel Kilgore or third-round draft pick Marcus Martin this season.

Investigators in Miami are waiting on information in the investigation involving Colin Kaepernick, Quinton Patton and Ricardo Lockette before deciding how to proceed, a spokesman with the Miami-Dade State Attorney's office said Friday.

Vernon Davis may not be practicing with the 49ers, but he's not sitting on his sofa watching Modern Family reruns all day long, either. The tight end/artist/producer/curling enthusiast/businessman has a full slate of activities, including an art exhibit at his gallery that began last week and a runway fashion show on June 7.

The 49ers today signed center/guard Marcus Martin, the first of their three third-round draft picks, to a four-year deal. That means all 12 draft picks are under contract just one week into the OTA period.

Alex Boone isn't the only one dissatisfied with his contract. Vernon Davis, who led the team in touchdown catches last year, also wants a new deal, CSN Bay Area reported while citing a source. Both Boone and Davis were absent from Wednesday's OTA practice, the only session open to the media this week.

When the 49ers began practice on Wednesday, Michael Crabtree lined up at his usual spot as one of the team’s starting wide receivers. A little while later, however, he walked off the field into the team’s weight-room facility and after that he went to the locker room.

Anquan Boldin's approach to giving always has been two-pronged. He and his Q81 Foundation have benefited his hometown of Pahokee, Fla. as well as whatever city or region he is playing in at the moment – from Phoenix, to Baltimore and now the Bay Area.

The 49ers had their first open-to-the-media practice today and there's plenty to report, including Colin Kaepernick talking to reporters for the first time since the investigation in Miami began nearly two months ago. Kaepernick noted that the local district attorney is now considering the case, and he said he was eager to have it resolved.

49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick said he’s eager to see a resolution of “suspicious incident” in Miami.

Brandon Lloyd, known for acrobatic catches in his first stint with the 49ers, had another Wednesday when he made a sliding touchdown grab in the corner of the end zone on a pass from Colin Kaepernick.

Mike Iupati, Tank Carradine and several other top-name 49ers who ended the 2013 season on the sideline with injuries are back to full speed as the team kicks off organized team activities this week.

Alex Boone, who made a nearly seamless transition from tackle to guard two years ago, is unhappy with his contract and may not be part of the 49ers' Organized Team Activities that began today, sources said. Boone went undrafted in 2009. He signed a four-year extension in 2011, and he has two more years on the deal. ***UPDATE*** Boone was not on hand for today’s OTA session, the first of the spring for the 49ers.

The 49ers on Tuesday tweaked their roster, waiving both tackle Luke Marquardt, who re-fractured his foot last week, and outside linebacker Morgan Breslin, who was signed as a free agent following the draft. The team filled those spots with former Stanford linebacker Chase Thomas and former USC tight end Kevin Greene, both of whom were tryout participants in the team’s recent rookie minicamp.

The 49ers will hold the first of 10 Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices today. The sessions are voluntary, and they are glorified versions of the “football school” practices the team has been holding all month. It would not be surprising if some veterans are not on hand. For instance, if I were Michael Crabtree, who tore his Achilles' at an OTA session one year ago and who is heading into his contract year, I'd stay as far away from OTAs as I could.

When the 49ers gave Daniel Kilgore a three-year contract extension in February, it signaled that he would be their starting center for 2014 and possibly beyond. That plan remains intact despite the 49ers using an early third-round pick this month on USC center Marcus Martin

Yes, NaVorro Bowman’s starting job will be waiting for him when he recovers from the impossible-to-forget ACL tear that knocked him out of the NFC Championship Game in January. But the 49ers won’t rush his rehabilitation, and the smart money is on Bowman returning after the 49ers’ bye in Week 9.

The 49ers released offensive tackle Luke Marquardt, an undrafted free agent a year ago who spent the 2013 season recovering from a foot injury, a league source said. Marquardt was eligible to take part in the team’s ongoing rookie minicamp but was not on hand today.

Signed as a free agent after being bypassed in the draft, Southern Illinois’ Kory Faulkner has impressed 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.

Running back Marcus Lattimore “is working through something” and will be limited in the team’s three-day rookie minicamp, Jim Harbaugh said today. Harbaugh stressed that the issue wasn’t serious and was unrelated to the severe right knee injury Lattimore suffered at South Carolina in October 2012. “(He’ll be) going at the speed the doctors allow him and his body allows him to go,” Harbaugh said.

The 49ers kick off a three-day minicamp today. Here’s who will attend:

Marcus Lattimore is sore. And that's a good thing.

Running back LaMichael James, who was in his home state of Texas for the start of the 49ers' offseason program last month, joined the team this week, according to multiple sources. James' previous absence means he forfeits a $50,000 workout bonus in his contract and was viewed as a signal that he is unhappy with his role on offense and wants a trade.

When Bruce Ellington chose basketball over football in 2010, the football coaches at South Carolina were disappointed, even a bit puzzled by the 5-foot-9 prospect’s decision, but they didn’t pursue the issue.

On the eve of their rookie minicamp, the 49ers signed two more draft picks, including first-round selection Jimmie Ward. Ward, a safety at Northern Illinois, will compete to be team’s nickel cornerback and he likely will back up starter Eric Reid at free safety. Ward, however, is recovering from a foot injury and may not be available until training camp.

In October, the first seats in Levis' Stadium started to be put in place. Today the last one – number 68,500 (or so) – was screwed in. It's just the latest milestone for the $1.2 billion stadium, which will be home for the 49ers this year and which will host next year's Super Bowl.

Linebacker NaVorro Bowman restructured his contract this week, giving the 49ers more room to sign their NFL-leading 12-man draft class, a league source confirmed. Bowman converted $3.27 million of his base salary to a signing bonus that will be spread over the remaining five years of his contract, about $650,000 each year.

Aldon Smith began resolving his sizable stack of legal issues Wednesday when he pleaded no contest to three felony weapons charges and a misdemeanor DUI charge in Santa Clara County Superior Court.

Jerry Rice Jr., who played at UNLV and participated in the 49ers’ local pro day last month, will attend San Francisco’s rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday on a tryout basis. Rice Jr. made the announcement on his Twitter account; the 49ers have not released a list of tryout participants.

He goes from being the top wide receiver with Buffalo to No. 4 with S.F.

Shayne Skov battled a knee injury midway through his college career, a calf injury just before the NFL scouting combine and a hamstring injury prior to his pro day at Stanford.

A University of South Florida strength coach who criticized the 49ers for drafting a former player was suspended by the school before resigning Tuesday.

The 49ers on Monday signed seven players bypassed in the NFL draft over the weekend, including Stanford linebacker Shayne Skov and Southern Illinois quarterback Kory Faulkner. Another player they agreed to terms with is Asante Cleveland, who played at Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento and the University of Miami.

At one point last season, the 49ers’ receiving corps could have been titled “Anquan Boldin and the Nobodies.”

A former point guard, Ellington split his time between basketball and football in college and consequently has a good upside. He returned only three punts at South Carolina but could compete for punt and kickoff return duties with the 49ers.

While the rest of the NFL has been moving toward a more finesse, pass-oriented style, the 49ers haven’t budged from their old-school, might-is-right approach to the game.

The Bee's Matt Barrows previews each of the 49ers' draft picks.

CARLOS HYDE

The 49ers, who were expected to go after a wide receiver in the NFL draft Friday, landed one hours before the second round began.

SANTA CLARA For the second straight season, the 49ers took a player listed as a free safety with their first-round choice. Jimmie Ward’s role, however, likely will come at the increasingly critical slot cornerback position.

See what The Bee's Matt Barrows had to say during Thursday's live chat focusing on the 49ers and what they might do as the NFL draft of college players begins.

Bee staff writer Matthew Barrows breaks down the 49ers’ top five positions of need in the NFL draft.

The Bee’s Matthew Barrows offers his predictions for the first round of today’s NFL draft:

Wide receivers credit their hoops background for honing their skills

The woman who sparked a police investigation in Miami involving 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and two other NFL players referred to herself as “Jesus” and wouldn’t leave Kaepernick’s hotel room, according to two 911 calls released Tuesday by Miami police.

When he was evaluating his team’s previous drafts, longtime NFL front-office executive Bill Polian went by one criterion. “Did we get three or four players who contributed?” said Polian, now an ESPN analyst. “If you do that … you’ve had a very successful draft.”

Mock drafts are a fun but largely futile exercise.

Not sure about your office, but here at 21st and Q in midtown Sacramento, the human resources department frowns when employees are charged with driving-while-intoxicated offenses and felony gun possession, not to mention making a bomb threat while being questioned at Los Angeles International Airport.

The last time 49ers general manager Trent Baalke took a wide receiver early in the draft, he struck out A.J. Jenkins, selected 30th overall two years ago, is now with the Chiefs after going without a catch in his lone year with the team.

The Vanderbilt standout emulates his famous cousin’s work ethic.

The troubled linebacker will be paid nearly $10 million in 2015.

Joseph Bello thought he was just going to the watch Colin Kaepernick speak at the 21st annual Turlock Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast on Friday morning. Bello, 17, was shocked when the San Francisco 49ers star quarterback, who graduated from Pitman High, came over to talk to him one on one.

Colin Kaepernick said Friday that last month’s incident in Miami was “a bad circumstance” and has “changed my way of thinking.”

See what The Bee's 49ers beat reporter Matt Barrows had to say during Friday's live chat focusing on the upcoming NFL draft.

San Francisco remains one of the more talented teams in the NFL from one through 53 but there are holes to be filled, namely outside the numbers on both offense and defense.

The 49ers likely will have to decide whether to retain troubled linebacker Aldon Smith for a fifth season without a resolution in the DUI and gun-possession charges he is facing.

49ers general manager says, “We’re a family. You don’t just open a door and toss people out.”

The 49ers and Raiders both open the 2014 NFL season on the road.

If this were a typical NFL calendar year, the draft would be kicking off later this week.

Ask any NFL agent or salary cap guru and he’ll tell you that picking up the fifth-year option on Aldon Smith’s contract is the prudent, no-brainer move for the 49ers.

Miami police do not believe 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was present when they responded to two 911 calls about an upset naked woman refusing to leave a downtown Miami hotel room.

Miami police do not believe 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was present when they responded to a pair of 911 calls about an upset naked woman refusing to leave a downtown Miami hotel room.

If the 49ers want to maneuver higher in next month’s draft, they could offer another team multiple draft picks in return or they could offer a team picks and a player. That player? According to a league source, the 49ers have been shopping running back LaMichael James, a second-round pick in the 2012 draft.

Veteran wide receiver Brandon Lloyd, who spent his first three seasons with the 49ers a decade ago, is back after signing a one-year deal with the team Tuesday.

In the past several years, the 49ers have felt their locker room – led by hardworking players such as Justin Smith and Patrick Willis – could handle talented players with so-called character concerns. That notion, we can now say with certainty, was wishful thinking.

Ricardo Lockette made two 911 calls in Miami shortly after midnight April 2 to report a naked woman was on his friend’s bed and refused to leave, according to the Miami Police Department.

A person's actions will generally tell you everything you need to know about them, but some young men need a wake-up call to mature and head down the right path in life.

A 49ers team already entangled in several police blotter items added another embarrassing incident to the list Sunday when troubled linebacker Aldon Smith was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport for allegedly saying he had a bomb.

A day after he was linked to a police investigation in Miami, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick tweeted Friday that media reports linking him to sexual assault are “completely wrong” and that “sometimes you have to deal with someone who makes things up.”

Miami police are looking into an incident involving 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, two other NFL players and a woman who claims she woke up in a hospital bed following a night of drinking with the players.

Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos will help the 49ers break in their new stadium in August.

MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

49ers Blog Archives

Note: The 49ers blog switched blog platforms in May 2014. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.


Matt Barrows on Twitter

FOLLOW US | Get more from sacbee.com | Follow us on Twitter | Become a fan on Facebook | Watch Bee news, lifestyle videos | View our mobile versions | e-edition: Print edition online | What our bloggers are saying
Sacramento Bee Job listing powered by Careerbuilder.com
Quick Job Search
TODAY'S CIRCULARS
Sacramentoconnect.com SacWineRegion.com SacMomsclub.com SacPaws.com BeeBuzz Points Find n Save