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I mean, seriously. You'd think that the Niners, after their third straight gut-wrenching playoff defeat, would do us the courtesy of taking the offseason, you know, off. Stopping the madness, and thereby stopping our collective face-palming. But no—the offseason turned out to be as crazily dramatic as anything they've done on the field. Purely for the sake of preserving the record, I hereby present this timeline of events. This is what happened, or at least it's how I remember it....
In February, the Niners came this close to trading superstar coach Jim Harbaugh to the Browns, in exchange for draft picks. "I love Jim Harbaugh," general manager Trent Baalke said, "but I love my mom too, and you can bet I'd trade her for a first and a third." Harbaugh, though, averted the deal. "I myself was on the fence," he said, "but when I asked my wife how she'd feel about giving up the Atherton estate and moving to Cleveland, she just glared at me and finally said, 'Who would still be married to you? NOOOOBODY!' So that was that, essentially."
"Now if you'll excuse me," Harbaugh continued, "I'm going to have a push-up contest with Andy Reid. At least I think it's Andy Reid."
In March, cornerback Chris Culliver was arrested for hitting a bicyclist with his car, threatening a witness with brass knuckles, and then hitting the witness's car. "I hope this sets the record straight," Culliver said. "I am not a homophobe. I'm an equal-opportunity asshole. I'm an asshole to people of all kinds, equally." When reached for comment, Baalke added, "I see this as progress. The 49ers are committed to equality."
In April, quarterback Colin Kaepernick was investigated for his connection to a possible sexual assault at a Miami apartment. According to a 911 call, apparently placed by ex-Niner Ricardo Lockette, a naked woman was refusing to get out of Kaepernick's bed, proving once more that athletes are different from you and me. Whereas most of us spend the bulk of our lives trying to get naked women into a bed, athletes need to call the cops, just to get naked women out.
Ultimately, though, no charges were brought. In a wholly unrelated story, the Niners signed Kaepernick to a contract extension with a potential value of $126 million. Kaepernick celebrated by getting a tattoo illustrating that "money is the root of all evil." When reached for comment, Jed York said he wished that Kaepernick had gotten the tattoo before he signed. "If he'd like to give some of that money back," York continued, "my folks and I could always use a tad more evil."
Also in April, linebacker Aldon Smith was arrested for literally the trillionth time, getting pushy with TSA agents at LAX before finally suggesting that he had a bomb. "I'm not sure why he got so pissed off," an agent on the scene reported. "He was selected for a secondary screening, a totally random selection that had nothing to do with the fact that he's a black man roughly the size of your average Yeti." Once again, no charges were brought, leading Baalke to say, "Well that's a relief. To be honest, though, if you can't mess with a TSA agent, who on earth are you supposed to mess with?" Seeing Baalke's point, the California legislature promptly enacted "Aldon's Law," legalizing messing with TSA agents.
In May, during the draft, Baalke acquired wide receiver Stevie Johnson, giving the Niners an elite receiving corps for the first time since the halcyon days of Rice and Owens. Naturally, no one was happier than Kaepernick. "Stevie's obviously an exceptional talent," he said. "I can't wait to see him running wide open downfield during the playoffs while I'm forcing the ball to Michael Crabtree in triple-coverage. That'll be incredible."
Of course, the Niners also selected this year's draft class. Afterward, Baalke said he was disappointed, as he failed to achieve his goal of obtaining every pick in the fourth round. Still, the class was rated highly by the so-called "experts," who lauded Baalke as one of the very best in the business. "It's pretty gratifying," Baalke said. "I mean, my 2012 class was the worst in franchise history, and my '13 class gave us exactly one impact-rookie. Just imagine how great they'll think I am if some of these guys actually start to produce!"
In June, Vernon Davis, four years into a five-year deal, started a holdout. When he signed his contract, which was then the richest ever for an NFL tight-end, he assured us that he wasn't playing the game for money. Now, though, finding himself only the fourth-highest-paid tight-end in the league, he seemed to change his tune a bit: "I want the 49ers to win the Super Bowl, ... but I have to worry about my future first." (Unlike at least a few of the above, that quote's real.) Now keep in mind, even if Davis never plays another down, this contract alone guarantees him $23 million, which you'd think would be enough to secure any reasonable future. Also worth noting is that his holdout has already cost him $200,000, by itself a decent nest-egg. No matter. For Davis, "It's all about getting paid what you deserve. It's not that complicated." (Again, real. Unbelievable, but real.)
When reached for comment, Baalke responded, "See, this is why, if anyone deserves a raise, it's me. I'm the guy who's gotta listen to this shit!" Then, perhaps recognizing his breach of professional etiquette—that is to say, his brutal honesty—Baalke took a deep breath and added, "Vernon's a valued member of our team, and we'll be calling his agent soon." (To which Alex Boone replied, "Mine too, right?")
And finally, just this week, as this crazy offseason came to a close, Jed York let us into his pants.
He'd kept them buttoned up for more than a year, during which we'd often wondered, When will he display what he's hiding in there? When will he be confident enough? But now, at last, he unzipped and showed us the glory inside. And these are glorious pants indeed. Stylish, yet practical; not so roomy as to be unflattering, but not so tight as to be uncomfortable. These are pants designed for royalty—pants the Niners have long deserved.
Of course, they're also traveling pants. As great as they look, it's sad that the pants of the San Francisco 49ers were made in a suburb of San Jose. (No team imports its pants, or anything else, from a greater distance.) But after playing so long in soiled pants, these pants here will do just fine.
And most importantly, they'll do just fine with a Super Bowl ring—and that's what this is all about. All this offseason stuff is just noise, maddening as that noise might be. But now the season's about to start. A 20-year Quest is about to continue.
Mercifully, the noise is gone.
Finally, it's time to play.