San Francisco 49ers: Ray McDonald

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York acknowledged in his Monday news conference that it was his decision to let Ray McDonald play to begin the season with the defensive lineman being investigated for domestic violence.

And it was McDonald's behavior that ultimately got McDonald fired earlier this month when he was the subject of a sexual assault investigation.

"When his first issue came up, he was not charged with anything," York said. "We sat down with Ray and said, 'Ray, whether you were guilty or not, you can't put yourself in these types of positions.' And very shortly after that he did that again. You need to make sure people are accountable. That's up to me.

"We might not win the Super Bowl every year, but we can conduct ourselves with class. And we can conduct ourselves in a way that makes me proud. I'll put that on me."

Off-the-field issues, including 10 arrests over a 32-month period, have dogged the Niners in recent years.

"There were other things that we talked to Ray about and there had been incidents with alcohol," York said. "We need to make sure that we are much better with alcohol on this team. And that was one of the things and the next incident that came up with Ray, I have no idea what happened. But I know Ray put himself in another position and it hurts me to know that Ray, who has been a good kid with us, put himself in that position.

"We've had those conversations with Aldon [Smith]. I personally think Aldon's a pretty good kid. He has things that he needs to overcome. When you look back to letting him play in the Indianapolis game (after getting a DUI last year), that was a very, very tough decision and I said that at that point. It's unprecedented that a player would leave in the middle of a season and go to rehab. But, he's got to continue to work on that. He understands that very clearly. And that's something that we need to hold him accountable for and we need to make sure that we keep him going in the right direction."

Smith's name was mentioned in the search warrant affidavit as drinking alchohol with McDonald and the woman who accused McDonald of sexual assault. Smith denied it.

"I talked to the guys today," York said of the 49ers' players. "I talked about winning with class. I said, 'You guys are responsible for how you act outside of this building. Don't get cut because of something you do off the field. You're the one's that control that.'

"And that needs to come directly from me. And when that slips you see level of accountability slip and that's not acceptable. If you want to blast me for something, by all means blast me for that."

Many observers have put the blame for bringing in less-than high quality players at the feet of general manager Trent Baalke. York was asked if he also looks at his GM to draft and sign high quality players.

"Absolutely, absolutely," York said. "And there are guys that, they might not be 100 percent choirboy, perfect quality players, and the NFL is made up of teams that have mixtures of personalities. You need to find a way to get to the guys that are potentially on the edge, that have the ability to really be good guys. And maybe they didn't have the greatest background, they didn't have the greatest upbringing, but that doesn't mean that they're bad people.

"And that's where you get to the teacher (-type coach) to make sure that you find a way to keep those guys instead of going to the other side, keeping them on the side of the road that fits with our core values."
The San Francisco 49ers “terminated” Ray McDonald last week for what general manager Trent Baalke said was a “pattern of poor decision making” in the wake of the defensive lineman being investigated for sexual assault.

The team may be faced with another unwanted decision with another of their star defensive players.

In the search warrant affidavit released by the courts on Monday, the alleged victim said she spent the day drinking with McDonald and outside linebacker Aldon Smith, who served a league-mandated nine-game suspension this year for numerous indiscretions, including a DUI in 2013.

Smith’s three-year probation, which was handed down last July, includes not drinking alcohol. He said before the season he was sober.

If Smith was indeed drinking alcohol at the scene of a crime, the 49ers, after years of standing by Smith and his numerous transgressions, will be in an interesting position having already taken the moral highground with McDonald, after the Niners were eliminated from the playoff race.
With defensive end Ray McDonald “terminated” by the San Francisco 49ers on Wednesday in light of him being investigated for sexual assault, the team currently only has four defensive linemen currently on the 53-man roster in Justin Smith, Tony Jerod-Eddie, Quinton Dial and Tank Carradine.

49ers coach Jim Harbaugh was asked Thursday who could be promoted from the team’s practice squad to provide depth for Saturday’s game against the San Diego Chargers.

“Mike Purcell would the next option,” Harbaugh said.

“He’s been good. He’ll do a good job.”

With Dial the lone nose tackle, the 6-feet-3, 303-pound Purcell has a leg up on fellow D-line practice squad player Lawrence Okoye, who is primarily an end in the Niners’ 3-4 base defense.

“He’s ready to go,” Harbaugh said of Purcell, “and (we) feel very confident that he’ll do a good job.”

Jerod-Eddie figures to start in place of McDonald, alongside Smith at the other end and Dial at nose.
San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh stood his ground Monday when asked about California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s released statement of a day earlier that criticized the team for playing defensive lineman Ray McDonald in the wake of his arrest Aug. 31 for domestic violence.

“There’s been a lot of public speculation and people weighing in with their opinion, whether it’s a public figure or people through social media,” Harbaugh said in his weekly news conference. “Our response would be, we have two principles at play here and one is respect for due process and we’re not going to flinch based on public speculation.”

The other principle, as Harbaugh, general manager Trent Baalke and CEO Jed York have said is that the 49ers have a zero tolerance for domestic violence. And with McDonald yet to be formally charged, the 49ers continue to allow the starting defensive lineman to play.

Harbaugh, though, acknowledged that he had not seen the specifics of Newsom’s statement.

Newsom, a former mayor of San Francisco, called for the 49ers to sit McDonald in the release with his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom.

“The 49ers’ continued insistence on playing Ray McDonald during his ongoing criminal investigation is a painful affront to every victim of domestic violence and sends a troubling message to our community and especially our children that ‘zero tolerance’ are empty words, not real actions. In light of the increased public awareness of this issue in the wake of the horrific Ray Rice assault and today’s decision by the Carolina Panthers to deactivate Greg Hardy, we strongly urge the 49er organization we grew up revering to do the right thing -- right now -- and bench Ray McDonald, pending the outcome of his felony domestic violence by San Jose law enforcement.”
San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young took a strong stand on how his former team has handled the Ray McDonald arrest for domestic violence and allowed him to play in the season opener.

Young, speaking on the set of ESPN’s "Monday Night Countdown," disagreed with how the 49ers have handled McDonald in the course of discussing Ray Rice being cut by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL in the wake of a video of him punching his then-fiancée in the face being released by TMZ.

“Then Ray McDonald gets arrested, and has visible bruising on his wife, felony domestic abuse, violence,” Young said. “Any company in this country, any big company, if that happens, they send you home. They might pay you, but you don’t play. You don’t come to work until we figure this out.

“You take an affirmative position on it. You’ve got to have no tolerance about it and mean it and then say, 'Look, if something happened and if it’s faulty, it’s a fraudulent assertion, then we’ll work it out in a few days or weeks and miss a couple of games, OK?'

“But we have got to have a policy that, if you get arrested for this, until we figure it out, we’ll call you when we figure it out. We’re going to call you from home. It just has to be that way or you’re not serious about it.”

San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh, general manager Trent Baalke and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell have all said they wanted to let due process play out, while CEO Jed York has not yet commented.

“I understand due process; that goes on,” Young said. “Every owner can decide this for themselves.”

McDonald, Crabtree active for 49ers

September, 7, 2014
ARLINGTON, Texas -- A week after his arrest for domestic violence, and without formal charges filed against him, defensive lineman Ray McDonald is active and expected to start for the San Francisco 49ers in their season opener at the Dallas Cowboys Sunday.

The 49ers are already down three starters in the defensive front seven in nose tackle Glenn Dorsey (left biceps), inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman (left knee) and outside linebacker Aldon Smith (nine-game league-mandated suspension).

Also active is receiver Michael Crabtree, who missed practice Wednesday but was limited Thursday and Friday and listed as questionable to play on Friday.

Right guard Alex Boone, who ended his holdout on Monday, is active, though it is unknown if he will start. Joe Looner handled the position in the preseason.

Here are the 49ers’ inactives: QB Josh Johnson, WR Quinton Patton, CB Chris Cook, C Marcus Martin, RT Anthony Davis, DT Quinton Dial and DT Tank Carradine.
A decision on the playing status of Ray McDonald, who was arrested last weekend on domestic violence charges, has not been made yet as the San Francisco 49ers continue to weigh facts and information while letting due process play out.

The defensive tackle continues to practice, though. According to a team spokesman, McDonald joined his teammates about 40 minutes later Thursday after coming out 19 minutes late Wednesday.

Neither coach Jim Harbaugh, who gave a civics lesson to media Wednesday about the Constitution and the Fifth Amendment in discussing due process, nor general manager Trent Baalke, who earlier in the week reiterated Harbaugh's stance on zero tolerance for domestic violence, were available Thursday.

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio could not comment on McDonald's status. He did say, however, that if McDonald is out, the 49ers should have enough bodies to step up Sunday in the season opener at the Dallas Cowboys.

"We feel good," Fangio said. "We've got [Demarcus] Dobbs and [Tony] Jerod-Eddie, [Quinton] Dial, Tank Carradine that are all ready and willing to go.

"Obviously, Ray would be a loss. He's one of our top players, particularly up front. But we played without Ray some last year, too. We'll be ready to go."

Fangio said it would be a "mix and match" situation as to who would play when for McDonald, as far as situations and packages.

Beyond the real-world implications wrought by Ray McDonald’s arrest on suspicion of domestic violence, the defensive lineman’s legal trouble is another blow to an already weakened San Francisco 49ers defense.

It is not so much a matter of if but when McDonald is served with a six-game suspension by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell under his more stringent policy for domestic violence offenses.

General manager Trent Baalke issued a statement.
“The 49ers organization is aware of the recent reports regarding Ray McDonald and we take such matters seriously. As we continue to gather the facts, we will reserve further comment.”

Coach Jim Harbaugh has taken a strong stance in general in the past on violence toward women.

“He said that we can do anything in the world and we can come and talk to him and he’ll forgive us, except put our hands on women,” former 49ers safety Donte Whitner said last season, according to the Sacramento Bee. “If you put your hand on a woman, then you’re done in his book.”

Besides McDonald’s pending status -- backups are Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial -- the 49ers are already without outside linebacker Aldon Smith, who was given a nine-game unpaid suspension Friday for numerous transgressions. Plus, inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman is out for at least six weeks and more likely half the season as he recovers from a devastating knee injury suffered in the NFC title game.

Then there’s nose tackle Glenn Dorsey, who is likely headed to the injured reserve/designated to return list, which would keep him out at least eight games as he recovers from surgery on a torn biceps.

Inside linebacker Patrick Willis has also been banged up in the preseason with a stinger, and the secondary essentially has three new starters to go with Pro Bowl free safety Eric Reid.

Still, per the NFL’s conduct policy, discipline handed down by the league might not be swift.

“Unless the available facts clearly indicate egregious circumstances, significant bodily harm or risk to third parties or an immediate and substantial risk to the integrity and reputation of the NFL,” the policy reads, “a first offense generally will not result in discipline until there has been a disposition of the proceeding (or until the investigation is complete in the case of noncriminal misconduct).”

But with Goodell’s new, tougher stance on domestic violence -- six games for a first offense, a lifetime ban for a second -- in the wake of his self-described mishandling of the Ray Rice case, in which he gave the Baltimore Ravens running back a two-game suspension, the commissioner might act faster than he has in the past.
Examining the San Francisco 49ers' roster:


Because of heavy competition elsewhere, the 49ers will likely only carry two quarterbacks. They finished last season that way. The competition will be to see if undrafted rookie Kory Faulkner can take McLeod Bethel-Thompson's spot on the practice squad.


The fact that the 49ers drafted Hyde in the second round and Lattimore is healthy means some tough decisions will have to be made. Hunter is too valuable to let go. That means 2012 second-round pick LaMichael James will have difficulty making the roster.


The 49ers are so much deeper here this year than last. That means they will likely have to keep six receivers. Lloyd may look good and Patton has too much potential to give up on. That means it could be tough for Kassim Osgood to make it even though he is a special teams cog.


If Davis ends his holdout, I can't see the 49ers keeping more than three tight ends because of the glut at receiver. Unless Garrett Celek has a big camp, he may be in trouble. Carrier intrigues the 49ers because of his size and speed.


Assuming Boone ends his holdout, this is a pretty nice group of eight players. It's improved from last year. A solid veteran like Adam Snyder and a promising youngster like Ryan Seymour will have trouble making the team.


This is another power spot. It's deep. Players like Jerod-Eddie and Dial are too valuable to cut. Ramsey has looked good and I have a hunch the 49ers may like him too much to expose him to the waiver wire. That means Demarcus Dobbs could be in trouble.


Most teams carry six linebackers but the 49ers are stacked here, especially with NaVorro Bowman out for about half the season. Because fifth-round pick Lynch is promising he should make the roster. Dan Skuta is an excellent player, but there might not be any room for him. I could see him being one of those later-summer Trent Baalke trade specials because he has value.


This unit is in flux, but I see Johnson making it. Don't be surprised if there is some in-camp jockeying as the 49ers look for the best mix.


Ward, the 49ers' first-round pick, will play nickel cornerback as a rookie, but projects long term as a safety. Ventrone and Spillman should stick because they are great on special teams. Craig Dahl could be in trouble.


This group is set and it's excellent.

49ers rankings: 16-20

February, 13, 2014
We are taking a look at the top 60 players in the San Francisco 49ers' program and will rank them from 1-60. We are going to take a look in a 12-part series, moving upward. The ranking considerations are based on 2013 production, future projections, age, and contract status:

16. Safety Donte Whitner: Whitner is a solid player. He had a good season in coverage and he is an enforcer. He is a free agent and he could command a big deal elsewhere. I know the 49ers have other long-term needs, but keeping Whitner is vital.

17. Defensive lineman Ray McDonald: If he played on a less star-studded defense, he might be a standout player. But he is a perfect fit for this unit and is simply solid.

18. Cornerback Tramaine Brock: No player improved as much as Brock did in 2013. He went from a special team player to the 49ers’ best cornerback. He was rewarded with a four-year contract and his future is bright.

19. Defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey: He was a great free-agent addition, is a terrific fit for this defense, and a strong part of the rotation.

20. fullback Bruce Miller: The run game missed him when he was lost for the season with a broken scapula in December. The 49ers will welcome this unique player back with open arms.

Arrow indicates direction team is trending.

Final Power Ranking: 4
Preseason Power Ranking: 2

Biggest surprise: The impact that Michael Crabtree's injury and then his return had on the team. When Crabtree suffered a torn Achilles in May, the 49ers knew it would affect their offense. But his absence was felt dramatically during the 11 games he was out. The 49ers had essentially nothing behind receiver Anquan Boldin and tight end Vernon Davis in the passing game. However, when he returned Dec. 1, the 49ers were instantly a better, more varied, dangerous offense. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick was more confident. The difference was stark.

Biggest disappointment: The loss at New Orleans on Nov. 17. The 49ers appeared to have sealed the game when linebacker Ahmad Brooks sacked and forced New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees to fumble late. But Brooks was called for a questionable personal foul. The Saints rallied to win. It was a major storyline in the NFL that week. Had the 49ers won, they would have finished 13-3, won a tiebreaker over Seattle in the NFC West and would not have had to play at Seattle in the playoffs.

Biggest need: The 49ers are deep. They don't have many holes. But they can use another young receiver. Boldin is 33 and a free agent. Fourth-round pick Quinton Patton looks promising, but San Francisco will likely take a speed receiver early in the draft. Expect the team to take a cornerback fairly early as well. The 49ers need to develop a young player there.

Team MVP: Inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman. The 25-year-old had an amazing season. He is an NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidate. He was dominant in virtually every game. He is a special playmaker. It was a sad sight seeing him being carted off in the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss at Seattle with a major knee injury. Bowman is expected back next season. The 49ers need him.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Some thoughts on the San Francisco 49ers' inactive list heading into Sunday’s game against St. Louis:

The 49ers better hope Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham stay healthy. The only other active receiver is Kassim Osgood. He’s, by far, more of a special-teamer than receiver.

So the 49ers must feel like Crabtree (in his first game this season after suffering a torn Achilles in May) and Manningham (in his fourth game since suffering a knee injury) are healthy enough to hold up. It will certainly be a major storyline in this game.

I’d expect rookie receiver Quinton Patton to play next week against Seattle if he doesn’t suffer a setback. He began practicing last week. He hasn’t played since breaking his foot in Week 4. Jon Baldwin is inactive Sunday, and with Patton coming back, he likely won’t be active again this season if the 49ers stay healthy at the position.

Baldwin has contributed very little since being acquired in a trade for fellow former first-round receiver A.J. Jenkins from Kansas City in August.

Rookie defensive lineman Tank Carradine is inactive for the fourth straight game since he was put on the 53-man roster. The second-round pick is coming off a torn ACL he suffered while at Florida State in 2012. He is still coming back from the injury and still learning the 49ers’ system.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers' injury report looked better Thursday than it did Wednesday.

Standout linebacker NaVorro Bowman (knee, shoulder) and pivotal receiver Mario Manningham (knee) both practiced on a limited basis Thursday, after both sat out Wednesday. Barring setbacks, expect both players to play Sunday against St. Louis.

Defensive tackle Ray McDonald (ankle) continued to be out of practice. He hasn't played the past two games and his chances of playing Sunday may be dwindling.

Meanwhile, receiver Michael Crabtree continued to practice fully and he's on track to play some Sunday. Crabtree, who tore his Achilles in May, will be eased back into action as he makes his season debut.

Rookie receiver Quinton Patton continued to be limited Thursday as he recovers from a broken foot he suffered in Week 4. He returned to practice Wednesday.

San Francisco 49ers injury wire

November, 23, 2013
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – There were no surprises Saturday when the San Francisco 49ers released their injury report for Monday night’s game at Washington.

As expected, guard Mike Iupati (knee), cornerback Tarell Brown (ribs) and receiver Quinton Patton (foot) have been ruled out. Adam Snyder will play for Iupati while Tramaine Brock – who signed a four-year contract extension with the club on Friday – will play for Brown.

Defensive tackle Ray McDonald (ankle) is listed as questionable. He hasn’t played in two weeks and it would be a surprise if he plays Monday. Tony Jerod-Eddie is set to start for a second straight game.

San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh said it would be determined in the next two days if receiver Michael Crabtree, who tore his Achilles in May, will be activated in time for the game. Crabtree still may be a couple weeks away from playing.

Vernon Davis, Eric Reid are active

November, 17, 2013
NEW ORLEANS -- As expected, star tight end Vernon Davis and standout rookie safety Eric Reid have been cleared to play Sunday at New Orleans.

Both players suffered concussions last week against Carolina. They both quickly recovered and showed strong progress through the week.

The 49ers need both players. Davis has been the catalyst to the offense. Reid has been outstanding all season and he will be needed against the pass-happy Saints.

Meanwhile, Demarcus Dobbs will start for defensive tackle Ray McDonald, who is out with a high left ankle sprain. Dobbs will rotate with Tony Jerod-Eddie.

Rookie defensive tackle Tank Carradine is inactive. He has been on the 53-man roster for two games but he hasn’t played yet. As expected, tight end Derek Carrier is active. He was promoted from the practice squad Sunday. Tight end Garrett Celek is out with a hamstring injury. Carrier will play in some alignments.