San Francisco 49ers

March 25, 2014

49ers notes: Harbaugh supports ‘NaVorro Bowman rule’

NaVorro Bowman became the unofficial face of the new rule proposal when, during the NFC Championship Game, he recovered a fumble by Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse at San Francisco’s 1-yard line. Although replays clearly showed Bowman was down by contact with the ball in his possession, Harbaugh was unable to challenge the ruling, and the Seahawks ended up with the ball because it was a non-reviewable play.

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The so-called “NaVorro Bowman rule,” which would allow loose-ball scrambles to be reviewed by officials, has the support of Bowman’s head coach.

“We’ll be for it,” Jim Harbaugh said at the NFL’s annual owners’ meeting. “I think it has a good chance to be adopted. Common sense.”

Bowman, a 49ers inside linebacker, became the unofficial face of the new rule proposal when, during the NFC Championship Game, he recovered a fumble by Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse at San Francisco’s 1-yard line. Although replays clearly showed Bowman was down by contact with the ball in his possession, Harbaugh was unable to challenge the ruling, and the Seahawks ended up with the ball because it was a non-reviewable play.

Bowman suffered a torn knee ligament on the play, and Harbaugh has said the star linebacker likely will begin the season on the physically unable to perform list, as wide receiver Michael Crabtree did last year.

Another possible rule change also would have helped officials sort out the Bowman play if it had been reviewable. The league is considering adding more cameras along the goal line, end line and sidelines, which also has Harbaugh’s support.

He hasn’t decided yet, however, how he feels about a proposal to move extra-point attempts from the 2- to the 25-yard line. The league could experiment with that concept during the preseason.

“I have to think about that some more,” Harbaugh said. “A negative argument is changing part of the game that’s been long-standing. The positive – does it make it more exciting, more competitive to move the field-goal line back? Does that differ for teams that play in domes, as opposed to outdoor weather? There will be more discussion on that. ... I’m not for dramatically changing the game.”

The league’s owners will discuss all proposed rule changes today and vote on them Tuesday or Wednesday.

• Extra pick – The 49ers were awarded an extra third-round draft pick, No. 100 overall, as compensation for the free agents they lost in 2013, including safety Dashon Goldson, who signed a multiyear deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

That gives San Francisco 11 selections in the May draft, including six in the first three rounds. They do not have a sixth-round pick after dealing it to Jacksonville for quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

Under the rules for compensatory picks, a team losing more or better free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible for compensation.

The 49ers lost Goldson, Delanie Walker, Ted Ginn, Ricky Jean-Francois and Isaac Sopoaga in free agency last year. They signed Glenn Dorsey, Phil Dawson, Craig Dahl and Dan Skuta. The 49ers also have two picks in the second round – their own and Kansas City’s, which was dealt for Alex Smith – and three in the seventh round.

The 49ers have their own pick in that round as well as New Orleans’ and Carolina’s, which they received in trades for Parys Haralson and Colin Jones, respectively.

• Osgood signs – The 49ers on Monday signed special-teams standout and wide receiver Kassim Osgood to a one-year deal. Osgood, 33, is set to earn the league minimum for an 11-year veteran, $955,000.

The 49ers added Osgood last season, and with veteran Ray Ventrone, he solidified a special-teams coverage unit that had lapsed in 2012.

A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Osgood finished with 12 tackles on special teams to go with one reception for 17 yards that came in the Candlestick Park finale against Atlanta on Dec. 23. The 49ers tied for third in the NFL in kickoff coverage. They finished 13th in punt coverage.

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