Colin Kaepernick’s chances of winning his “inappropriate language” appeal dwindled even more Monday night when Chicago Bears defensive end Lamarr Houston changed his story and said the 49ers quarterback did in fact use the “N” word following a fourth-quarter interception.
Houston originally said he didn’t hear Kaepernick say anything following a play that resulted in a personal-foul penalty and an $11,025 fine, which Kaepernick said he would appeal. But after Monday’s night’s Bears-Jets game – and a Sunday report from Fox Sports saying Kaepernick used a racial slur – Houston told The Chicago Tribune that’s indeed what happened.
Asked if he was insulted, Houston told the newspaper it’s more a “cultural thing” and reiterated that he angered Kaepernick by saying “nice pass” after the 49ers quarterback’s third interception of the Sept. 14 game won by Chicago 28-20 at Levi’s Stadium.
Kaepernick originally told reporters he didn’t say anything. When television footage clearly showed him saying something, he admitted talking on the field but insisted he didn’t say anything “racially derogatory to” Houston. The story has now lasted more than a week.
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Houston himself was flagged for “inappropriate language” in Monday’s win against the Jets. He claims he didn’t say anything other than “back up” to earn the penalty.
The NFL informed teams this summer that language penalties – especially racial slurs –would be a focus this season.
On the mend – A week ago, Vernon Davis needed crutches to get around. On Tuesday, the 49ers tight end was moving without a limp, a sign that his injured ankle is healing rapidly and that he has a good chance of being on the field this Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
“I’m feeling great,” Davis said at his locker. “This is going to be a good week for me.”
Davis’ ankle injury, plus a knee injury to fellow tight end Vance McDonald, prompted the 49ers to go with an uncharacteristic wide receiver-heavy offense Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. It worked early as San Francisco took a 14-6 lead.
But the 49ers sputtered in the second half and, without their top two tight ends, they were unable to turn to their power running game en route to a 23-14 loss. Frank Gore had one carry in the second half and was too upset to talk to reporters after the game. Gore, through a public relations staffer, said Tuesday that he would speak later in the week.
Meanwhile, the 49ers are 0-4 since 2011 in games in which Davis was either injured or missed entirely because of injury. He said he knew Saturday that his ankle hadn’t healed in time to play against the Cardinals.
“I could really tell right then and there that it was going to be a little struggle, wasn’t quite ready,” he said. “So coaches and the trainers, they told me to sit this one out.”
Going and coming back – Davis is progressing so well that the 49ers released rookie tight end Asante Cleveland, called up from the practice squad last week, and re-signed quarterback Josh Johnson.
The team released Johnson on Saturday to make room for Cleveland.