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NFL looking into Seattle’s Jeremy Lane getting taken out by Niners’ sideline (GIF)

Jeremy-Lane-sidelineThe San Francisco 49ers saw their season end with a loss in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, and they could also be facing a fine after a certain play is reviewed. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Monday that the NFL is looking into a play where it appeared Seattle Seahawks special teamer Jeremy Lane was taken out by someone on the Niners’ sideline.

The Seahawks punted on 4th-and-20 from their own 41-yard line early in the second quarter. Lane was one of the gunners on the play, and he somehow ended up out of bounds. As he was making his way back toward the field of play, it appeared that a 49ers staff member got in his way and knocked him to the ground.

While it is difficult to tell if there was intent, the reaction from the Niners staffer certainly seemed suspicious. As we know, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was fined $100,000 earlier this season for a play where it appeared he intentionally stepped onto the field to get in the way of a kick return. In 2010, the New York Jets were fined the same amount when a strength and conditioning coach tripped a Miami Dolphins player who was running down the sideline.

GIF via Shutdown Corner

Ric Flair speaks to 49ers before playoff game in ‘s— hole’ that is Green Bay

Ric Flair 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers have a secret weapon entering their playoff game against the Green Bay Packers: The Nature Boy.

Wrestling legend Ric Flair visited the 49ers to speak with the team on Saturday night, the day before the team’s playoff game in Green Bay. We first learned about Flair’s visit through a tweet by Niners offensive lineman Anthony Davis, who called the city a “s— hole.”

Flair apparently took a private jet and stretch limo to go speak to the Niners, who are holed up in sub-zero temperatures in Wisconsin. You think The Nature Boy is going to let a little bad weather keep him from delivering a pep talk to a football team? Not a chance. Wooooo!

Photo: Twitter/49ers

49ers send letter to fans reminding them how to cheer

49ers-Fan-Climbs-Onto-Church-Roof-After-Loss-to-EaglesThe San Francisco 49ers have a huge game on Sunday against the NFC West rival Seattle Seahawks. We all saw the way Seahawks fans can impact a game when the New Orleans Saints were blown out in Seattle on Monday night. Can Niners fans duplicate that type of atmosphere at Candlestick Park? It’s highly unlikely, but the team is doing all it can.

Earlier this week, the 49ers sent out letters to their season ticket holders that basically refreshed their memories on the proper way to cheer. The letter urged fans to be quiet on offense and “deafening on defense,” while also reminding them of some traditional rallying cries that have become a part of Niners home games over the years. Deadspin shared a copy of the letter with us:

49ers

As usual, I have only one word for this — lame. It was ridiculous when the St. Louis Rams released a “Ram Rules” video and even worse when the Dallas Cowboys reminded their fans how to cheer only to have them wind up booing.

Stadium noise should be a natural occurrence. The fans in Seattle don’t need instructions on how to cheer. They just care about impacting the game and living up to their reputation as the best 12th man in football.

San Francisco 49ers hope Aldon Smith will return after bye

Aldon Smith 49ersA month has passed since Aldon Smith left the San Francisco 49ers to enter rehab following a DUI arrest, and the team is still hoping to have him back after the bye week.

The 5-2 49ers face the Jacksonville Jaguars this week in London and then go on their bye week. Six weeks will have passed when the team returns for their Week 10 game the Carolina Panthers. Will that be long enough for Smith to return to the team? GM Trent Baalke answered that question for 49ers reporters on Thursday.

“Our ultimate goal hasn’t changed: help Aldon get back to a place he feels very comfortable and move forward in a very positive manner,” Baalke said via the San Jose Mercury News. “We’re obviously hopeful (for a return after the bye). At the same time, we’re prepared for either outcome.

“It’s like anything, you’re developing that trust factor again. We all understand, including Aldon, that situations like this have to be in the past.”

I really think this could go either way. Six weeks is a long time to be in rehab and away from the team, and keep in mind an initial report said he could miss five weeks. He probably would only need a week of practice to get back in shape to play. I wouldn’t be pushing for a return earlier than necessary, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Smith returned in Week 10.

Helmet smack to Pro Football Zone

Aldon Smith could miss five weeks; 49ers will pay his salary

Aldon Smith 49ersThe San Francisco 49ers are expecting to be without Aldon Smith for at least five weeks, according to a report.

Smith entered rehab this week following his second DUI-related incident. The latest stop occurred last Friday morning around 7 a.m. Smith allegedly had pills and marijuana with him in addition to being drunk. The 49ers let Smith play in their home loss to the Indianapolis Colts, but his locker was cleared out following the game and the team announced he would be entering rehab.

According to NFL.com’s Albert Breer, the Niners expect Smith to be in rehab for a minimum of 3-4 weeks, and they’re expecting to be without him for at least five weeks. Additionally, Breer says the feeling is that the league will suspend Smith 2-4 games after his case goes through the court system. Altogether, the recent DUI incident could cost Smith around half a season, though that amount of games might not be missed consecutively.

Another interesting note is that the 49ers will pay Smith’s full salary while he’s in rehab. It’s certainly a nice gesture by the team, but keep in mind that he’s only making about $100,000 a week and severely underpaid based on how good of a player he is.

San Francisco crushed St. Louis on Thursday night in their first game without the all-pro pass rusher.

Helmet smack to the Red Zone

Packers-49ers brawl after Clay Matthews’ late hit on Colin Kaepernick (Video)

Clay Matthews Colin Kaepernick

The Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers brawled during Sunday’s season opener after Clay Matthews launched himself at Colin Kaepernick with a late hit in the second quarter.

The Niners had a 3rd and 6 situation and Kaepernick didn’t find any receivers, so he decided to run to his left. He was by the sidelines and had stepped out of bounds when Matthews hit him, leading to an sportsmanlike conduct penalty for the linebacker. But Matthews’ late hit caused 49ers offensive lineman Joe Staley to get upset and step in to defend his quarterback. A mini-brawl broke out, and the teams were hit with offsetting penalties.

The referees actually made a mistake by allowing the 49ers to replay the down after the offsetting penalties. Kapernick threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin to make it 14-7 San Francisco on the replay of 3rd and 6. Maybe the touchdown was karma for the late hit.

There were a few questionable aspects of that drive. One, Packers coach Mike McCarthy opted to decline a 5-yard penalty for illegal formation, making it 3rd and 6 instead of 4th and 1. Two, the refs gave San Francisco an extra down when they allowed them to replay 3rd and 6.

Matthews said during the week before the game that he would be looking to get his hits in on Kaepernick. He was not lying.

Video of the brawl is below:

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Michael Crabtree reportedly tears Achilles: How will it affect 49ers?

Michael-Crabtree-Misses-Flight-Pulled-Over-by-Raiders-Fan-CopColin Kaepernick and Michael Crabtree seemed to establish instant chemistry when Kapernick took over for the injured Alex Smith last season. Crabtree racked up more than 90 yards in four of the final five games of the season last year and finished with the first 1,000-yard season of his four-year career. Now, he could be in for a long and trying rehab.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Crabtree recently suffered a torn Achilles tendon and is expected to miss roughly six months. Chris Mortensen later confirmed that Crabtree has already undergone surgery. If he misses six months, the 25-year-old would be out until at least November.

Obviously, this is horrible news for the San Francisco 49ers. Crabtree finally broke out in 2012 and emerged as the most reliable receiver on the team. When the Niners traded for Anquan Boldin earlier this offseason, they were looking to add depth to their receiving corps. Now, they will need to either add another piece or look for guys to step up in a big way.

To make matters even more complicated, Niners receivers Mario Manningham and Kyle Williams are both coming off torn ACLs. Boldin was dominant in the playoffs for the Baltimore Ravens last season, but he is hardly the force he once was with the Arizona Cardinals years ago.

Perhaps the only positive we can draw here is that Kaepernick is a dual-threat quarterback. It would be more devastating if a pure pocket passer lost his favorite target, but Kaepernick is capable of making plays in a number of ways. Still, Crabtree was one of the few players on offense that San Francisco can’t afford to lose for a significant period of time. His injury will surely throw a major kink in the team’s offseason plans.