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Seahawks rookie DK Metcalf partners with coffee company to sell ‘Decaf Metcalf’

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Anyone who enjoyed ESPN’s Joe Tessitore referring to Seattle’s DK Metcalf as “Decaf Metcalf” can now drink it as well.

A Georgia-based coffee company, Volcanica Coffee, partnered last week with Metcalf to begin selling 16-ounce bags of “Decaf Metcalf” coffee on the company’s website.

Tessitore has blessed the deal, with Metcalf and him making sure part of the proceeds will be donated to charities of their choice.

Metcalf is donating part of the proceeds to Prison Fellowship, which helps prisoners, former prisoners and their families and is a leading advocate for justice reform. It is the same organization for which he is wearing his My Cause My Cleats on Sunday.

Tessitore is donating part of the proceeds to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Both charities’ logos will appear on the back of the coffee bags.

While Metcalf prepared for the Seahawks‘ big NFC West game Sunday night in Los Angeles against the Rams, Volcanica went to work to rush out its new product.

The company already has designed packaging for Decaf Metcalf and believes it can sell thousands of units, according to one company official.

Metcalf loves the idea of having his own coffee, and it doesn’t hurt to have a financial stake in it as well.



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Why chiefs coach Andy Reid’s legacy is on the line in Super Bowl LIV

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AVENTURA, Fla. — Hang around the Kansas City Chiefs as they prepare for Super Bowl LIV and it’s easy to get the feeling players and coaches want a victory for coach Andy Reid more than the head coach wants one for himself.

“Nobody deserves it more than Andy,” longtime special teams coordinator Dave Toub said. “He’s such a great coach to not have a Super Bowl win under his belt. This would be huge. I don’t know if I’d stop crying with him. I’d probably hug him forever. I’m just so proud of what he’s done and everything he’s done in his career. He needs that.”

Several Chiefs players, including tight end Travis Kelce, donned Hawaiian shirts for the flight from Kansas City to Miami for the Super Bowl. Reid himself was wearing a suit but favors the Hawaiian style during casual times.

The tribute by the players is an illustration of what they think of Reid and how much they’d like to win Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers (6:30 p.m. ET, Fox).

“Just getting him [to the Super Bowl] isn’t the goal,” Kelce said. “Winning this thing for him is.”

Reid is arguably the most accomplished coach in NFL history without a Lombardi trophy to his credit. He is sixth in all-time wins with 221. Three of the coaches ahead of him worked during the Super Bowl era and won at least two titles. The other two coached before the Super Bowl era but won multiple NFL championships.

Then there’s Reid. He coached the Philadelphia Eagles, who lost to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX. On Sunday, Reid will make his Super Bowl return after a 15-year absence.

Reid, the seventh coach to take multiple teams to the Super Bowl, insisted recently the gaping hole in his career accomplishments doesn’t keep him up at night.

“Life’s bigger than that,” the 61-year-old said. “That doesn’t tell you I don’t want to win. This is America. I’m in it to win. That’s what we do. I don’t want that to be slighted. But I also understand the perspective of life. Maybe it’s because of my age. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to work hard and coach hard and do all of those things and come in swinging to the best of my ability. But I’m not going to tell you there aren’t other things in life. I understand that, too.

“I think more of the players than I sit here thinking about myself. That’s not where I go.”

Those close to him, but not connected to the Chiefs, say not to be fooled.

“He understands what this would mean for his career,” said Louis Riddick, the ESPN NFL analyst who worked with Reid for five seasons in the Eagles’ personnel department. “You don’t coach and dedicate yourself in the manner in which he has because it’s fun. You do it because you’re Type A competitive. You don’t get to this point where he’s gotten to in his profession if you didn’t care about legacy. That’s important to him. He wants that on his wall.

“He’s never going to let you in on just how important it is. He’s just not that guy who’s going to give you that sound bite interview where he says, ‘Man, this means everything to me!’ But that competitiveness burns in him. I’ve seen it in different areas and different ways. I know it exists. You don’t get to where he is without it.”

There seems to be little question Reid needs a Super Bowl victory to strengthen his eventual candidacy for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Only one coach in the Super Bowl era failed to win a league championship but still make the Hall. Buffalo’s Marv Levy took the Bills to four consecutive Super Bowls and lost them all.

“Four in a row is an incredible feat and that’s why [Levy] is in,” longtime Hall of Fame selector Rick Gosselin said. “Reid doesn’t have a championship. I think he’s got to win a championship.”

Even if Reid wins one, he’s not a sure thing. There are four coaches — Tom Coughlin (Giants), Tom Flores (Raiders), George Seifert (49ers) and Mike Shanahan (Broncos) — with two Super Bowl wins who aren’t in the Hall of Fame.

The recent election of former Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher, who won one Super Bowl with the Steelers, could help Reid. Cowher had a .623 winning percentage in the regular season, with eight division championship teams in 15 years. He was 1-1 in the Super Bowl.

Reid has a .618 winning percentage in the regular season with 10 division titles in 21 seasons. He’s 0-1 in the Super Bowl.

“If Bill Cowher is in, Andy Reid has a good case,” Gosselin said. “I think he compares favorably with Cowher. But there are a number of coaches who have won twice and aren’t in so it’s mandatory that he wins at least one.”

If it’s true Reid cares more about his legacy than he lets on publicly, it’s equally true he enjoys coaching for more than game days. Each week during the season, Reid says he’s “looking forward to the challenge” of facing the upcoming opponent, his way of saying he’s eagerly anticipating matching wits with the opposing coaching staff.

He gave up personnel duties he had with the Eagles when he came to the Chiefs. He told team chairman Clark Hunt he wanted more time to teach his players and be an offensive innovator than to be a personnel evaluator.

It’s not as if Reid would like to be a coach even if they didn’t keep score. But he enjoys more than just the competition.

“That’s why so many of these great coaches have not been able to coach for as long as he has or been as fresh and driven as he has been,” said Joe Banner, who was the Eagles’ president for most of Reid’s time in Philadelphia (1999-2012).

“I don’t think Andy is tracking public opinion. I don’t think he’s moved by public opinion and I don’t think any choice or decision he’s ever made in his life was driven by public opinion. In the eyes of some, he probably needs to win a Super Bowl to be considered among the best. That’s not what drives him but it would be gratifying to him.”

That’s not to say winning isn’t important to Reid. He took the loss to the Patriots in last season’s AFC Championship Game hard. Even after beating the Tennessee Titans in this season’s AFC title game, Reid made reference to Dee Ford‘s offside penalty late in the fourth quarter of that loss against New England. The penalty nullified an interception that would have clinched a Chiefs victory, and Reid reminded everyone by saying his team missed back-to-back Super Bowl appearances by four inches.

That’s about how far Ford lined up offside.

“In all the years I worked with Andy, including the really disappointing ends to some seasons, I never saw him or heard him sound like a particular game really took a toll on him because he’s incredibly resilient,” Banner said. “But after that game last year was the first time I ever had an interaction with him where I felt like this hit him a little bit harder than these other losses.

“He’s always positive, always has a good energy, the way he carries himself and thinks and talks. That was one of the rare times and maybe the only time on a football-related issue where I had a conversation with him and I felt like he’s human and it was really hard for him to take.”

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Judge frees NFL star Antonio Brown of ankle monitor, house arrest restrictions

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A Florida judge freed NFL free agent Antonio Brown from house arrest Tuesday, allowing him to travel freely as he awaits trial on charges that he attacked the driver of a moving truck.

Circuit Judge Michael Usan agreed to let Brown travel freely within the United States so he can fulfill contractual obligations. Instead of wearing an ankle GPS monitor, Brown, 31, will have to check in with court personnel daily.

In a video posted via Instagram Live, Brown panned to his ankle monitor and said, “I’m about to get this taken off. I’m free to go.”

His $110,000 bail remains in place and he still must surrender his passport, possess no weapons or ammunition and submit to a mental health evaluation and random drug testing.

Brown was one of the NFL’s top wide receivers during his nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was traded to the Oakland Raiders last year, but after several off-the-field incidents, he was released before playing a regular-season game. He then signed with the New England Patriots, who released Brown in September after a second woman in a span of 10 days accused him of sexual misconduct.

He was charged last week by Hollywood, Florida, police with burglary with battery, burglary of an unoccupied conveyance and criminal mischief. Officials responded on Jan. 21 to a disturbance call in which the moving truck driver said Brown and his trainer, Glenn Holt, hit him outside Brown’s home.

Holt was arrested and charged with one count of burglary with battery, but officials couldn’t make contact with Brown at the time.

According to a police arrest report, the altercation began as an argument over Brown’s refusal to pay $4,000 to the driver to release his household goods. The driver called police and reported vandalism after he said Brown threw a rock as he drove away, causing a small dent and chipping the paint, an officer wrote.

The driver later returned when the manager of his company told him that Brown would now pay the $4,000 and an additional $860 for the damage and the driver’s time. Brown then paid the $4,000 but refused to pay the rest, so the driver returned to the van to call his company, and that’s when Brown “started another verbal argument,” police said.

They said Brown climbed into the truck and tried to pull out the driver while Holt grabbed the keys from the ignition.

Police say the driver suffered injuries including scratches on his neck, shoulder and arm, a cut on his finger and a scrape on his stomach.

Holt then used the keys to open the truck, while Brown “and other unidentified friends” began removing boxes. The boxes, however, belonged to another client, police said. When the driver told them so, Brown and the others “started tossing the items back into the truck, causing damage to some of the property,” an officer wrote.

Hollywood police were called again, and when officers arrived, Brown “retreated inside of his residence and shut the door.”

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The 49ers are back and that’s a good thing for the NFL

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MIAMI — Two months after Hall of Fame 49ers wide receiver Jerry Rice visited London, where he helped launch a workout facility at the NFL Academy, there’s one memory he can’t shake.

“Just working with those kids over there, there were so many fans that love the San Francisco 49ers in London,” Rice said. “And you know to see someone walking around in my jersey and all that I was like ‘Wow, this is really cool.'”

As San Francisco prepares for Super Bowl LIV Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs (6:30 p.m. ET, Fox), there’s no denying the 49ers have officially returned. Returned to the top of the division, top of the conference and the forefront of football’s collective consciousness, even internationally.

A season removed from 4-12, the Niners seem to have found something sustainable with coach Kyle Shanahan, general manager John Lynch and a roster loaded with young talent. And, at least to some prominent football voices, having the Niners back in the mix has helped make the league whole again.

“It makes people watch,” Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young said. “You need these iconic franchises like Green Bay, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, because it brings in the whole country.

“We’ve been so many fits and starts that I’ve forgotten how important that really is. It anchors the league in some ways to the West Coast. … I think having a West Coast presence in the NFL is important. We’re unbalanced otherwise. I think because the 49ers have the most history, they’re the ones who can have the biggest effect and have the strongest weight. It really does make a big difference.”

Must-see TV

In the glory days of the 49ers’ dynasty, their popularity was undeniable. They were loaded with stars like Rice, Young, Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott, Roger Craig, Deion Sanders and many more. Coach Bill Walsh brought an elegance to the passing game mostly unseen in the NFL.

From 1981 to 1998, they won five Super Bowl championships and missed the postseason just twice. As one would expect with so much star power, the Niners became a national brand that fans from all over the country loved to watch.

“They did it with multiple head coaches and quarterbacks, but they were always reloading with one thing in mind: win the Super Bowl,” said Fred Gaudelli, the executive producer of NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.” “They were must-see television.”

Gaudelli, who is in his 30th year producing prime-time NFL games, recalls the first regular-season game he ever produced: San Francisco vs. Dallas in 1990. He walked away impressed with the way the Niners carried themselves, noting a “quiet confidence” and high-energy practices in which the ball never touched the ground.

“The Niners were classy to watch play football and classy the way they ran it,” longtime ESPN NFL broadcaster Chris Berman said. “It was the best. It was Camelot.”

It’s far too early to put these Niners in the same class, but the 49ers’ resurgent popularity is evident in the ratings. Fox, which broadcast the majority of the Niners’ 2019 schedule, had its highest viewership for regular-season broadcasts since 2016, averaging 19.2 million viewers per game, a 7% increase from 2018.

“Sunday Night Football” took a similar step forward, with its highest viewership since 2015 with an average of 20.5 million viewers, according to the company’s numbers. That was a 5% increase from 2018 and a 12% bump from 2017.

How do Shanahan & Co. factor into the ratings mix? The 49ers-Seahawks “Sunday Night Football” game for the NFC West title Dec. 29 was the most-watched game between West Coast teams in the show’s history and fourth highest-rated individual show in NBC’s fall slate, with an average of 23.3 million viewers.

“Whenever you have a team rich in championships, there’s an aura around them fans don’t forget,” Gaudelli said. “That aura reappears every time they climb back into contention. The names Walsh, Montana, Young, Rice and Lott still carry a lot of weight.”

The cool factor

This year’s Niners have carved out their own place with big personalities like tight end George Kittle and cornerback Richard Sherman. Beyond that, they’ve won in nearly every way imaginable, ranging from a 48-46 shootout in New Orleans to a 9-0 slopfest in Washington.

“There’s a comfort factor and there’s a cool factor and they’re from a part of the country that a lot of people don’t know,” Berman said. “But it’s representing another time. There’s a lot that goes into it … but everybody views San Francisco as a cool place. And it’s cool that the Niners go right along with the city that they represent.”

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1:44

Field Yates, Ryan Clark and Dan Graziano examine the 49ers’ turnaround from 4-12 last season to a spot in the Super Bowl this season.

Any question about whether that cool factor has waned was wiped out this season. Every road game the Niners played included a large contingent of their fans in attendance.

According to Ticketmaster, the NFL’s official ticketing partner, an average of 750 fans a game traveled an average of 1,345 miles to follow the 49ers on the road this season. That’s a 39% increase from 2018 in the number of fans traveling and 11% increase in average distance traveled. The Niners’ average resale price was $232 per ticket, up from $147 in 2018 and $189 in 2017.

The Minnesota game in the divisional round was the first playoff game the 49ers hosted at Levi’s Stadium since it opened in 2014. The average resale price on Ticketmaster for the NFC Championship Game was $776, making it the highest-grossing, non-Super Bowl NFL event on the resale market in the company’s history.

With the Niners facing the Chiefs and their rabid fan base, which hasn’t been to a Super Bowl in 50 years, this year’s game could break records. Through championship Sunday, the average ticket price for Super Bowl LIV was $9,175, with a get-in price just south of $5,000. For context, the average Super Bowl ticket price through championship Sunday last year was $6,239.

Along with all of that, the 49ers have reestablished a true home-field advantage.

“I’m appreciative of our fans, especially the 40-to-50 thousand who were here in not the best times, you can tell their passion, their spirit for the team,” Niners CEO Jed York said. “I think it was awesome to really see that re-awoken this year. Especially, not just here but on the road. And for those who have traveled and seen our games on the road, it’s been so awesome to see that. I am happy for our fans.

“Being in the Super Bowl seven years ago doesn’t seem that long, except for the kind of deep valley that we went into between. But I’m so appreciative of them and happy for them that they get to see the team getting back to the Super Bowl.”

The fans are not only in the seats but buying the gear. Fanatics, the Niners’ official retail partner, said sales of 49ers merchandise during the playoffs have been greater than the team’s sales for each of the past three full seasons and the Niners are the top-selling NFL team since the postseason began. San Francisco also had the largest year-over-year growth in merchandise sales during the regular season of all NFL teams, a whopping 220% increase.

During conference championship weekend, Kittle, Jimmy Garoppolo and Nick Bosa were responsible for three of the four top-selling NFL jerseys and each ranks in the top five since the postseason began. At the NFC Championship Game, the Niners broke a single-day record for sales among Fanatics’ 50-plus partners across all sports.

Return of the rivalries?

Having the Niners back in the mix also opens the door for the return of some of the league’s marquee rivalries. The two meetings between the Niners and Packers this season could be an appetizer for future high-stakes matchups should both teams remain competitive. Of course, getting the Niners-Cowboys games back on the big stage would be the ultimate step for old-school fans.

“You knew how big it was and that the entire world was going to be watching,” Rice said. “I think if the Niners are in it, if the Cowboys are in it, yeah, it’s a much better league. Because, back in the day, whoever went on to win that championship game went on to win a Super Bowl.”

Finally, the 49ers have returned to football’s biggest stage. It remains to be seen whether they’ll be back in the near future, but for now, the sleeping giant is wide awake and, as Rice can attest, football fans all over the world have taken notice.

“It’s refreshing because if you’re a football fan, whether you’re rooting for the Niners or not, they’re like an old friend and they’re back,” Berman said. “They were down and now they’re back. And it’s good. It’s comfortable.”

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