Friday, January 31, 2014

Kaepernick driven by failures, snubs to succeed

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: QB Colin Kaepernick talked about the disappointment of 2013 season, but also reiterated his desire to do whatever it takes to win.

Raiders in need on continuity on offensive line

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: This offseason, Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie hopes to re-sign OT Jared Veldheer and perhaps add talent to a revolving-door offensive line.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Culliver eager to get back on the field for 49ers in 2014

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Cornerback Chris Culliver says his rehab from knee surgery has gone well, and he's ready to participate in 49ers' full offseason program.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Minnesota star Hannah Brandt had a 'perfect' freshman season, but her sophomore season is proving to be more of the same

As a freshman, Hannah Brand was No. 2 in the nation in scoring and helped Minnesota go 41-0 and win its fourth NCAA women's hockey title. Now as a sophomore, Brandt may be even better. My story for USA Hockey's "Kaz Watch" series, leading up to the Patty Kazmaier Award to the best player in the nation.

49ers' Reid was a hit (and a hitter) in rookie season

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Some draft pundits thought the 49ers made a mistake in trading up in the first round last year to take safety Eric Reid, but the 2013 season proved San Francisco knew what it was doing.

Center or guard? Raiders' Wisniewski is happy where he is

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Stefen Wisniewski was a hit as a rookie at left guard, but has played center the past two seasons. Where is his future?

Monday, January 27, 2014

49ers' Patton aims to work hard, make bigger contribution

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Rookie wide receiver Quinton Patton had some setbacks in 2013, yet is ready to work hard this offseason with Colin Kaepernick and Anquan Boldin to get better for 2014.

Friday, January 24, 2014

After sitting out 2013, two 'redshirts' eager to help 49ers

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Running back Marcus Lattimore and defensive end Tank Carradine didn't play a single down in 2013, but could make first-round type of impacts in 2014 for 49ers.

Raiders need kicker Janikowski to cure 2013 problems

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: What was wrong with Sebastian Janikowski in 2013? It's not certain. But Raiders can't afford a shaky, highly-paid kicker.

With Olympics looming, figure skater Ashley Wagner switches programs and regains confidence after rough U.S. Nationals

Ashley Wagner is going to her first Olympics in Sochi, and she'll be going with  new routine after ditching the long program she had so much trouble with at the U.S. Nationals. My story for

Thursday, January 23, 2014

It's time for 49ers to extend Harbaugh's contract

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Jim Harbaugh signed a five-year deal in 2011 to coach the 49ers. Now that he's proven what a difference-maker he is, the 49ers must extend his deal this offseason.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Hannah Dreissigacker, whose parents were both Olympic rowers, skied her own course into biathlon

When she was a girl, Hannah Dreissigacker rowed and skied. Her father and mother, both Olympic rowers, helped each of their three children learn to row. But if a girl grows up in Vermont, it's easy to fall in love with skiing, and that's what Hannah did. Now she's qualified for the U.S. Olympic biathlon team that will compete in the Sochi Olympics next month. My story for

Niners' bodies and spirits were battered in Seattle

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: 49ers had a long list of wounded players after Sunday's loss, but the rehabilitation of NaVorro Bowman will be the focus of this coming offseason.

Might Johnny Football be destined to be a Raider?

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: With the fifth pick in the draft, the Raiders might select ... Johnny Manziel? That scenario might play out.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Clarkson's high-energy Jamie Lee Rattray has become school's all-time leading scorer and one of nation's best hockey players

Even when she was a freshman, Jamie Lee Rattray was a scoring machine. Four years later, she's broken all of Clarkson University's scoring records and is tied for the national lead in goals scored. But what she'd really like is to have one more shot at the NCAA Tournament. My story for USA Hockey's "Kaz Watch" series:

49ers will have to say goodbye to some key veterans

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: As much as the 49ers would like to keep their roster intact, the team will have to part ways with some veterans because of current and future salary realities.

Raiders likely to go hard into free-agent market

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie has the will and the means this offseason to go after free agents to beef up the Oakland roster.

Monday, January 20, 2014

San Diego triathlete and non-smoker, shocked by his diagnosis of lung cancer, now fights every day to maintain a normal life and look to a better future

Jonathan Jefferson didn't think he heard the doctors correctly when they diagnosed the soreness in his hips as lung cancer. But it was. The cancer had been in his lungs so long it had started to move through his body. Now Jefferson is fighting ever day, vowing that the two years the doctors have given him will actually be 20. My story on Jefferson for U-T San Diego's "Courage Through Cancer" series:

Talented Kaepernick shows he's still a work in progress

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Colin Kaepernick's fourth-quarter errors were costly, but it's obvious he's still raw, still learning and still growing. Yet even while learning, he's led his team to a Super Bowl and two straight NFC title games.

Costly late errors doom 49ers in NFC title game

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Two interceptions and a lost fumble, all in the fourth quarter, are costly for 49ers in 23-17 loss to the Seahawks in NFC Championship Game.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The 5 keys to victory for 49ers vs. Seahawks

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Getting an early lead would be a nice change of pace for the 49ers in Sunday's game at Seattle. It's one key factor among several for San Francisco to beat Seahawks.

Friday, January 17, 2014

49ers will have to be in best mode to stop 'Beast Mode'

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: The Seahawks present numerous challenges for the 49ers in Sunday's NFC title game, but No. 1 is stopping Marshawn Lynch.

McKenzie outlines offseason plan for Raiders

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: GM Reggie McKenzie says Raiders have many needs and will try to add quality and depth via any means possible.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Cardinals gave 49ers a game plan for victory in Seattle

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Winning at Seattle's CenturyLink Field is an almost impossible task the past two years, yet Arizona provided a great game plan in its recent victory in Seattle.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Like many, Larry Macon decided to run a marathon; the difference is, he's never stopped after race No. 1, running more than 1,200 -- including a world-record 255 in 2013

Larry Macon admits he's a bit obsessive. So it didn't surprise the people close to him that he became compulsive after running his first marathon at age 51. Since then, he's run more than 1,200 and set the Guinness World Record for marathons in a year four times, including in 2013 when he ran a whopping 255. Why does he do it? It makes him happy. My story for's Endurance Sports section:

49ers will face struggling Seahawks passing game

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Over the past five games, Seattle QB Russell Wilson has hit a passing-game slump. But will that matter in Sunday's NFC Championship Game?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Wisconsin goaltender Alex Rigsby has reflexes, anticipation and experience, but mental toughness might be No.1 trait

When Alex Rigsby was a freshman at Wisconsin, she gave up three goals and was pulled at the end of the first period in a game against Minnesota. The next day, she came back to shut out the Gophers. Though Rigsby has been a standout for the Badgers for four years, it's that failure that helped motivate her. My story for USA Hockey's Patty Kazmaeir Award watch list:

49ers say they're ready to win at CenturyLink Field

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Seattle's CenturyLink Field is a hostile environment for all visitors, and the 49ers have lost two in a row there by a wide margin. But after winning two road playoff games, they say they're ready for whatever Seattle has to throw at them.

Raiders should target Porter as free agent to keep

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: The Raiders have to make decisions about whether to keep 18 free agents, but cornerback Tracy Porter should be one on the "keeper" list.

Monday, January 13, 2014

It was destined: 49ers vs. Seahawks for NFC title

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: The 49ers-Seahawks rivalry has been on high heat for a long time now, so it's only fitting that the NFC Championship Game this coming Sunday matches the NFC West rivals for a third time this season.

Will Raiders defensive coordinator Tarver return?

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Jason Tarver's contract as defensive coordinator is up. Will Oakland keep him, the way it did Tony Sparano?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Niners top Panthers, earn trip to NFC title game

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: A goal-line stand changes the momentum of the game in the second quarter and sets the tone for 49ers' 23-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers in the NFC divisional round.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Five keys for 49ers to beat Panthers

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: If the 49ers want to beat Carolina in Sunday's playoff game, they'll have to do a better job of blocking and catching than they did in November's loss to the Panthers.

Raiders GM McKenzie needs a high-scoring offseason

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: The ball is now in the court of Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie: He needs a big offseason for Oakland to advance in 2014.

Boston University hockey standout Sarah Lefort's scoring skills came via an assist from her older brother

Sarah Lefort leads the nation in scoring this season, and she's been scoring goals for her teams since she first starting playing hockey. One of the reasons: hundreds of hours on the ice with an older brother who gave her a shooter's mindset. My story for USA Hockey's annual Kaz Watch series:

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Niners' Staley will need to tame "The Kraken" Sunday

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: 49ers left tackle Joe Staley will have his hands full with Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy, the self-labeled "Kraken" who was No. 2 in the NFL with 15 sacks.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Monday, January 6, 2014

Julia Garmo, age 6, is coping with hospital stays, tests and treatments the best she can, while her parents are taking solace and hope from the love and support they've received

David and Anita Garmo's son, Isaac, is in remission now from neuroblastoma, a cancer that afflicts children. But now their daughter, Julia, age 6, has been diagnosed with the same illness. The Garmos are staying positive and feeling fortunate for all the support and love they've received the past few months, while helping their daughter negotiate through her maze of treatments. My story for the U-T San Diego's Courage Through Cancer series.

49ers show true grit with victory in Green Bay

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area website: Head coach Jim Harbaugh praised his players this past week for their heart and competitiveness, then watched them rally in the fourth quarter to beat the Packers in the first round of the playoffs, 23-20, to advance to the divisional round vs. Carolina.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Vegan student has found the perfect place to work at Native Foods Cafe in Encinitas

As a vegan, Ashlen McCormick is always on the lookout for restaurants that serve food that fits with her tastes. When she found Native Foods Cafe, she not only became a regular customer, she became an employee. My story for the "On the Job" series of U-T San Diego.

Things are finally coming together for U.S. bobsledder Jamie Greubel, just in time for the Sochi Olympics

Jamie Greubel found bobsledding by accident, just as her career as a heptathlete at Cornell was coming to an end. After injuries and setbacks, the driver of USA's No. 2 sled now appears on a fast track to a great season and perhaps an Olympic medal at Sochi. My story for

Friday, January 3, 2014

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Weather could play starring role in 49ers-Packers game

Daily 49ers blog for NBC Bay Area: Sunday's forecast for Green Bay is a high of 4 degrees. Will the 49ers be able to perform?

It's hard to evaluate Raiders' 2013 draft class

Daily Raiders blog for NBC Bay Area website: Because of injuries to D.J. Hayden and Menelik Watson, it's still hard to know if the Raiders' 2013 draft class was good.

'Fearless' Oksana Masters has made transition from Paralympic rowing medalist to cross country skiing, with an eye on Sochi

Oksana Masters survived much in her early years, including the loss of her legs because of radiation poisoning from Chernobyl and spending seven years in a Ukrainian orphanage. But since being adopted and raised in Kentucky, Masters has become a powerful rower, model and inspiration. Now, she's attacking cross country skiing and biathlon on a sit ski, and loving the new challenge. My story on Masters for