LaMichael James 49ers punt return

Frankly, it would be a surprise if the 49ers weren’t shopping LaMichael James. They don’t see him as a fit in the offense, he scares the hell out of everyone (including himself, it sometimes appears) when he returns punts, and he doesn’t want to play for the 49ers. Correction: he may want to play for the 49ers, but he doesn’t want to be one of the last 10 guys on the 53-man roster, which is what he’s been since the team drafted him in the second round in 2012.

Sources told Matt Barrows the 49ers are trying to unload their emo deliverer of cryptic tweets (example: “I’d rather they just let me go”) on some other NFL team, something James either already knew or assumed.

Barrows’ story was published at 5:02 pm that same day, which shows just how closely he pays attention to what’s written about him. Case in point: his response to Rotoworld’s Evan Silva.

James has posted a lot of interesting thoughts on Twitter. Most of them are clearly about non-football matters, others are kinda footbally, whether he cares to admit it or not.

Besides the tone of his Twitter timeline, the only real complaint 49ers fans had about James was in regards to that unfortunate fumble in the Super Bowl. The NFL won’t allow us to embed their videos, which is probably just as well in this case. The sad thing about the fumble (okay, one of the many sad things) is how James made four Ravens miss on the play before Courtney Graham grabbed ahold of him and Courtney Upshaw knocked the ball loose. What a weird fumble, too. Delanie Walker, Mike Iupati and Randy Moss all stood closeby while it happened, as if they were watching the end of a preseason play. Then again, Moss spent most of the Super Bowl spectating.

Why am I bringing up such a painful moment in franchise history? James has probably received tweets like these for the last year, but he finally reacted to some guy later that same evening.

  • missed tackles: according to Pro Football Focus, the 49ers missed eight on defense along with one on special teams
  • interception: Colin Kaepernick overthrew Moss, who expended all his Super Bowl Week energy during media day
  • kor: Jacoby Jones taking it to the house

49ers fans (and players, clearly) have a distaste for all those things. None of the other players have voiced them on Twitter, but that’s LMJ. We’ve been following his Twitter behavior for about a year now for that very reason — he’ll tweet stuff he probably shouldn’t, then let you know you’re free to unfollow if you take offense — and with James you have to take the good with the bad. We want our athletes to be honest, but role players who complain while the team wins most of its games are never looked upon favorably. Once the inevitable deal happens, we’ll see if James proves Silva wrong. I’d be shocked if that’s what happened (I see James as RB No. 1a of a two-RB committee on a mediocre team, at best), but it’d be interesting to see if his Twitter persona changed if he seized an opportunity to become a star.

One last thought … we’re just regular people who follow sports because it’s entertaining. How do NFL teams, which would do psychological testing on players’ mouth guards if they thought it’d give them an edge, feel about James complaining so often in a public forum about how the 49ers have mistreated him? The trade values for specific NFL players are almost impossible to determine, but based on production and behavior, it’s hard to see the 49ers being able to use James as a chip that would do much more than move them up a half dozen spots in the third round.