Curtis Modkins on naming a starting QB: “It’s not time….Kap hasn’t had a chance to perform yet.”

SANTA CLARA — Here’s the transcript of Curtis Modkins’ Tuesday press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.


Opening comments:

“Well, coming off a, it was good to get a win. That was great. I thought the guys played well. Obviously we had some, starting off the game, we didn’t start quite the way we wanted to, but I thought our guys responded and we did a lot of good things. We had a lot of young players do some good things. We’ve had a ton to fix from the film, but that’s to be expected in the preseason. If you guys have any questions, let’s go at it.”


A couple of your early drives have stalled in the first two games. Is that a timing issue? Is it a rhythm issue? How can you get things going faster in these upcoming games?

“Well, that’s something we’ve addressed. I would say it was probably more an execution deal. We had a couple breakdowns to start off the game. The good thing is that we were able to address that and we were able to fix it and the guys came out and responded. We’ll continue to work on that and we’ll continue to stress it, but I thought they responded to that pretty good.”


How are you guys approaching the whole situation with figuring out who your starting offensive linemen are and then start the process of cross-training the right tackle who doesn’t win it or the inside guy to have flexibility and versatility to suit-up on game days?

“Well, I think that’s one of the keys in this league to have that mindset from the beginning. And I think [offensive line coach Pat Flaherty] Flats has done a good with just mixing guys around. We try to expose them, not only on the field with what you guys see, but in the classroom. We try to expose them to everything because the final fit is you’d like to get the top seven or eight or whatever on the roster and then on game day the top five. So, it changes. Being able to mix them up, play different positions is critical. We’ve tried to do that. We’ll continue to do that and see where it all falls.”


Did T Anthony Davis play right guard in practice yesterday?

“Yeah, I think he took a few snaps there.”


In his limited reps there, how has he played and what have your impressions been?

“Anthony’s been fine. He’s been fine in every aspect, practice, meetings he’s been fine. He was fine yesterday. With him, it’s a deal of him being comfortable. So, we’ll try to get him more and we’ll see where he’s at and there’s no decision’s being made yet. We’ll see where he’s at. He gives us, the more he can play, all of them, the more positions they can play, the better for us.”


What did you see from QB Colin Kaepernick in practice yesterday and where does he currently stand in that quarterback competition?

“I thought Colin was fine yesterday. I don’t think there’s anything different as far as where he stands in the competition. We’ll see how the week goes, see how he progresses and see what happens on Friday.”


The third preseason game is typically a time where the starters get their last kind of bulk of time together before the season starts. Is this an unusual situation maybe for this team? Is there just more that needs to be determined in this third preseason game than if this team had been together longer under this coaching staff?

“I don’t know if it’s unusual. I think each team you have to deal with certain things and no matter how it’s normally done we’re going to do things our way regardless. And, we’ll see in this third game how the game goes and who all gets what snaps and how many. We’ll kind of determine that on how the game flow goes.”


Can you talk about WR Devon Cajuste? He obviously transitioned from tight end to now a wide receiver.



Yeah, he also made a nice 40-yard catch downfield, gaining inside leverage and then stacking the cornerback up top. What have you see from him in terms of his adjustment to the wide receiver position?

“That’s the coach in you, huh? Inside leverage, stacking the cornerback, I like that. He did good. He’s been steady. Obviously, he’s an intelligent guy. He’s a smart football player. He does what he’s coached to do and he did exactly that on that play. It was good to see him go make a play.”


What does TE Vance McDonald do so well as opposed to TE Garrett Celek? Are they similar, different when you look at those two tight ends?

“I think Vance has done a good job and I don’t look at it as opposed to Garrett. Vance happened to be in when the read took the ball to him. So, it’s nothing planned. It’s not that Garrett hasn’t done a good job because I think he has. Vance has made some plays for us and hopefully he’ll continue and I think Garrett will have his fair chance to make some too.”


We saw G Zane Beadles snapping the ball early in practice. Did he do that throughout the day? Is he getting cross-trained at center a little bit?

“We’re just trying to see what everybody can do. Let’s just see it because you never know what’s going to happen. In the course of a season, you never know what’s going to happen, who’s going to have to play what and the more they’re exposed to now, that’s what training camp’s about. We’re still in training camp. The more they’re exposed to now, the better we are in the long run.”


What’s your assessment of QB Blaine Gabbert through the first two preseason games?

“Blaine’s done a good job. I was pleased with what he did. I like to see how he started and he responded. He got the team moving. So, I think Blaine’s done a good job. He’s been accurate with the ball. All our quarterbacks have, and I think Blaine’s been good.”


What’s the best way to coach ball security for your running backs?

“Well, you just have to emphasize it. We talk about it a lot. [Running backs] Coach [Tom] Rathman does a good job in his drills. We address it. Obviously, that’s got to improve. You can’t win many games in this league turning the ball over three times. But, coach Rathman, I think he’s been coaching 19 years or so, his backs are number one as far as turning the ball over, fewest amount. So, he knows what he’s doing. We’ve just got to continue to emphasize it, not only with that position, but all our players. There are some that you may not see that it resulted in a fumble, but the ball security wasn’t where it needed to be. We try to coach that into everybody.”


If you’re happy with Blaine and he’s doing a good job, why not name him the starter now?

“It’s not time. It’s a competition and Kap hasn’t had a chance to perform yet. So, when that happens and when [head] coach [Chip Kelly] feels like it’s time, we’ll do that. But, right now it’s not time. We’ve still got a ways to go before we play.”


During your running back days, did you ever get any great ball security coaching tips?

“Yeah. We were playing University of Arkansas. We were up 21-0. This was back in the Southwest Conference days. I tried to jump over somebody and I hit the top of, it was [former NFL head coach] Barry Switzer’s son. I flipped over, fumbled, got the ball the next series, fumbled again, they end up winning and they told me if I did it again I’d never play again. So, that was my tip. So, I fixed it. I didn’t jump over anybody anymore.”


Did you fumble again in college?

“Maybe once or twice, but not after that.”


Was it just fear that–?

“No. You know, you’re trying so hard out there. You’ve just got to train your body that when you’re making moves, when you’re doing things, you have to keep the ball connected to your body. You have to keep your wrist up. You have to keep the nose of the ball up. Sometimes, when you’re trying to make moves and you’re spinning and you’re dodging, you tend to let the ball separate. So, I just had to train myself. And our guys work hard at that. Our coaches work hard at making sure the ball’s in the correct position.”


WR Bruce Ellington said yesterday he really wants to take all the return reps, you know with kicks and punts. Given that he could have a significant role in this offense working out of the slot, where do you stand on him getting all that extra work and whether or not he should be doing that or not?

“That’s not my department. I think our coaches will do what’s best for the team. I don’t have any issues with that.”


When he’s been out there practicing, what have your impressions been of him entering this season?

“Good. I was impressed with Bruce. I’ve been impressed with Bruce and I look forward to him getting out there and getting with it.”

This article has 120 Comments

  1. I’m really having no fun with this version of the 49ers QB controversy. I just don’t like either of them that much and i’m not really enamored with Driskel either. So I sit on the sideline and read all of your posts and just disagree for the most part with all of the posts.
    I just hope one of them stands up and grabs the job this week but i kind of agree with Grant, I think we might see all three by the end of the season.


    In the wake of a report from Yahoo sports writer, Frank Schwab, that Blaine Gabbert is inches away from being named 49er starting quarterback comes this statement from San Francisco beat writer, Mini Bach:

    Mindi Bach Verified account 
    The question was in response to Modkins saying he’s happy with Blaine Gabbert the first two games, so why not name him the starter? #49ers

    This is the strongest evidence to date that San Francisco 49er Head Coach, Chip Kelly, will name Gabbert as starter, not even waiting until preseason game 4.


  3. I hope White takes the punts and Harris takes the KOs, so Ellington can concentrate on his WR duties. Less chance of injuries.

    1. Old Coach, I am reading that the kicking teams are only try to reach the goal line. I was read/heard that somewhere. In fact right now there are more runbacks this year then last year. The competition committee thinks its backfiring on them. Sure wish I could remember where I saw/heard that.

      1. Undercenter
        I noticed [in the few exhibition games i’ve watched] that KO’s seemed to be shorter i was wondering if it was on purpose I guess that answers my wonderings.

      2. I heard that too, UC. But it was from the analyst in the broadcast booth for one of the preseason games (it wasn’t a niners game).

    2. Coach, I believe that teams will kick the ball as high as possible, and aim it to land on the 2 yard line so it has to be brought out, then stopping the returner before the 25 is a good play. If they stop him before the 10, it is a great play.

  4. “Kaepernick did something in practice Monday that has not happened against cornerback Jimmie Ward in the 49ers’ two exhibition games. He targeted him for a pass and completed it”.

    Sounds similar to the completion he made to Boldin over Thomas, against the Seahawks….

        1. OC,

          It’s going to be a long season, as Grant noted, watching all the QB’s on this inept QB roster.

          I’m waiting to draft the Clemson QB

          1. Yeah, and before last year it was Hunley from UCLA that was supposed to be the sure fire #1 pick and where did he go?

            And before that Teddy Bridgewater was the sure fire cant miss qb…and look at him now.

            Every year, some hot soph or jr qb gets tagged as being the next great qb, then goes out and never lives up to expectations and some other qb comes out of nowhere to take the spotlight…and none of them have done anything in the NFL. Just go back through the last few years, Manziel, EJ Manuel, RG3, Tannehill, Weeden, Locker, Gabbert, Ponder, Bradford ,Tebow, Sanchez, Freeman, Russell, Quinn, V. Young, Leinart, Campbell, JP Losman, Leftwich, Boller, Grossman,….

            Of those drafted in the 1st round only a handful over the last decade have had any level of success and guys like Ryan, Cutler, and Stafford are beiging to show that they haven’t truly lived up to their draft position, yet better than those above.

            Point is, waiting on Watson will prove futile.

          2. I’m excited to see Baker Mayfield this season for my Sooners. If he stays on the “rise” I’d like to see him behind Kelly in the NFL

        1. Kap has never beaten the Seahags – Direct from the Dimwit Zone

          Dec. 8, 2013 19-17 49ers defeat Seahawks at Candlestick

          TomD clearly is an avid fan of our storied franchise….

      1. Dec 8 2013. SF 19 Sea 17. Starting QB for the 49ers..Colin Kaepernick.

        At least try and get your facts straight before you post.

          1. Thanks, Lotstosay,

            Exactly why I stay on this blog. Apparently astute 49er fans exist

            Kap is and always was all about a strong run game with stout defense.

            I could take snaps from center, not fumble the ball , and win on those 49er teams…..Gore did win that game—it was all about Gore–astute observation, Lotstosay.

            Incidentally, here’s Kap on a QB sneak fumbling the ball, exactly what not to do on strong defensive teams, which is why Gabbert beat him out in 2015.

        1. I watched that game in Seattle. I listened to the after game report where an analyst, who is an ex-Seahawk, talked about the Kap run to get the first down and basically end the game. The thing that impressed him the most was the patience Kap showed in waiting until the last minute to turn upfield and get the first down.

  5. So Gabbert hasn’t done anything to distinguish himself yet and they’re all praying that someone, anyone take the mantle of the team leader.

    1. Yeah well, that article is from last year. Niners did pull the plug on him shortly after. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then – Kaep’s surgeries, new CS/system. Kaep gets his second chance these next two weeks. If his arm holds up and he’s not put on IR, he’ll probably get a 3rd chance some time this season. He needs to make all of Seb’s wet dreams come true, or it’ll be his last.

    2. Al Sacco is just another Joe and a fan just like the rest of us. He does not cover the 49ers like Grant Cohn, Maiacco, Barrows, et al actually do.

      49erswebzone is the biggest wasteland on the internet. They a bunch of crybaby fans who sob, throw tantrems, and write stupid opinions…keyword: OPINIONS with nothing to back it up.

      That site and its idiotic members are delusional, pro-Gabbert, who thinks this QB will turn his career around and lead SF to the playoffs. Dumbest people and site on the planet.

  6. Could this be the one pre season where game 4 still has some significance? Maybe they use the last 2 games even if it’s against conventional wisdom. As far as leadership goes I think that went out the window for Kaep with respect to some of his teammates (especially on D) when he took Aldons girl!

    1. You can’t take away what wasn’t Aldon’s to begin with. It’s not love, that left Aldon standing. It’s not love, that left him cold….

            1. Something like that, yes Cubus! There was a time when I believed Davis would become an All Pro RT, and that he’d eventually replace Staley. His kick slide against outside pass rushers was never quite quick enough, then the injuries and then finally calling it quits….

          1. Why Silberman, razor? He’s getting 3rd team reps, isn’t he?

            While you may not be a Martin fan, until he gets demoted I think he still has the inside track for a spot on the roster. Need a backup centre, and can’t just be a guy that has been given a few reps there in practice as part of ‘cross training’. Beadles getting reps at centre makes me think they will suit up only 7 OL on game day, with Beadles the backup centre if injury occurs. But Martin will likely be kept as the backup in case of long term injury.

            1. I would defer to your acumen. I just think they’ll want the best of the rest, and I just happen to think Martin is the worst of the worst. Plus, I liked the Silberman selection because he played in a Gibson ZBS at BC….

              1. Nah, suiting up 7 OL on game day would have no bearing on keeping 3 QBs on the roster. And they won’t suit up all 3 QBs on game day, unless Driskel makes it as a STs player.

                I believe suiting up 7 OL on game day is the norm. One backup at OT, one backup at OG/OC.

            2. I agree with Razor. as a dark horse, I like Silberman because he may fit well in the Chip Kelly system.

              Just dont let him hike the ball.

  7. Its the respect of his teammates and their trust. Though there are not many left, but I’ll bet some of the old school guys like Bowman arn’t down with what Kaep did. Interesting to know on “the inside” if this has an impact on who starts.

    1. Any player that does not give their full effort due to personal issues with Kaepernick at quarterback, will be jettisoned faster than you can say, “I got ’em boxed in like a turtle’s pecker”….

  8. Kap gives the niners the best chance to win, this is undeniable. Gabbert is terrified of being hit, it is so obvious in his play. It is mind boggling to me how fast ninernation turned on him. Colin has more ROAD WINS in the playoffs than any other 49ers quarterbacks.His early success was more of a curse than anything, coming out of college he was so raw, he needed time to develop. So the fact that the organization gave up on him is BS. Kap should be the starter, and I think Chip knows this. Otherwise get ready for another sub .500 season.

    1. Roxx

      Who do you think you’re kidding…? The reason Kaep wants to wear shaded eyeware is so the opponents, the cameras, and half the fans in the seats can’t see the “deer in the headlights” look when he comes up to the line. Get your numbers straight….Kaepernick is #7….

    2. Roxx,
      I have been, and still am a big CK fan. But loyalty and personal affinity (Kap comes from my neighborhood) doesn’t win you games – great play wins you games. And let’s face it, CK is not the same player he was in 2012 – 2013. If he were, there would be no TC competition and Blaine Gabbert would likely be competing for the backup position right now.

      Kap is no longer surrounded with the talent laden teams that were here his first two years, and the same goes for Harbaugh, who was his greatest supporter.
      My personal thought is that based on CK’ last two seasons he is lucky the team is giving him an opportunity to compete. He (IMO) is absolutely not entitled to anything because of past success.

      If Kap can recapture his mojo, I’ll be very happy for him. If he can’t, it’s the next man up.
      The harsh reality is sports is “what have you done for me lately,” not 3-4 years ago.

    3. It is funny how Kap had one bad season and half the 49ers fanbase who is delusional is suddenly putting their faith in a QB who is a 1st round bust, 8-27 as a starter, and only started 8 games for SF last year. Yes he played better than Kap but it was marginally and if you cannot significantly outplay a MENTALLY SHOOK Kap, then God help Gabbert.

      For all I know Kap played anywhere from average to good (not outstanding) in 2012-2014. 2015 is where he laid a big dud.

      If Gabbert can outplay Kap by a huge margin, hold down the starting job, and run away with it like Cousins did to RG3 then I will be the first person to praise Gabbert but the way he has been in training camp and preseason does not indicate that such a thing can or will happen. Here we have a guy in Gabbert who had all the reps in OTA and minicamp, healthy, has been training and throwing since week 9 of last year, sucked up to and bribed the locker room, has the backing of the front office; he has been given every oppurtunity to run away with QB1 yet the coaching staff has not given him the green light. Gabbert been given the oppurtunity of a lifetime and has not been able to run away with it. If Gabbert was actually good, he would have had this spot locked down after the 1st week of training camp.

      To me Gabbert looks worse as a player than last year or either he is being exposed for the fraud he really is. Last year he was asked to just make simple routine throws and checkdowns, now he is asked to be doing more and has been total trash so far.

      I honest to God believe the coaching staff hates Gabbert and thinks he is trash. Deep down I know they want to start Kap and even if Kap just outplays Gabby by a little or a lot vs GB, Kap will be QB1. This is a guy in Kap who hasnt trained or thrown in almost 10 months and basically hit the ground running, yet oppurtunity-squandering Gabbert cannot separate himself in this battle. If Gabbert cannot beat that, his career is over.

      1. AB
        “If Gabbert cannot beat that, his career is over.”

        You could flip the coin and say the same about Kap.

        “I honest to God believe the coaching staff hates Gabbert and thinks he is trash.”

        If CK fails to beat out a guy that the coaching staff hates and thinks is trash, what does that make CK?

    4. Kap has more road wins in the playoffs than any other 9ers quarterback.

      On that basis, he should start? Have you watched him the last couple of years?
      I believe you are using faulty logic, Roxx.
      Whoever Chip picks, it will be the right pick, tho……………….

  9. Starting offense prediction OL Staley- Garnett- Kilgore- A.Davis- T.Brown
    TE Mcdonald- Celek WR Ellington- Smith- Simpson RB Hyde QB Kaepernick

  10. Don’t think anybody is getting rid of Bowman. I’m not saying they won’t give their full effort if he’s the quarterback. I’m just saying they may have an influence behind the scenes as to whether he becomes the starting QB or not.

    1. If Bowman dogs it because Kaepernick allegedly stole Aldon’s girlfriend, he’d be a goner. This is professional sports, Bandit. The quarterback will be the one that gives the team the best chance to win, and that decision remains with Chip Kelly. Not the players….

      1. Aldon lost a 100 million dollar contract over a FORMER gf. That is obtuse, and shows how incredibly immature and stupid he is.

        Players have better and more important things to do than worrying about who is dating whom.

  11. Gabbert will open the season as the starter. That’s what this FO wants. That’s why they hired Chip.. Chip didn’t have any options so he was willing to start Gabbert in 2016 until he finds his QB.. Kaep is hated by the FO… It’s over fellas unless Gabbert gets hurt.

      1. It’s funny though, isn’t it razor? So many people (I think maybe yourself included) had written Davis off due to his attitude, didn’t want him back. But now he’s here and all is forgiven. Not just by the FO and coaches, but by many of the same fans that didn’t want a bar of him ever again.

          1. Yeah, regardless of being surprised though, what this really demonstrates is that it doesn’t matter what a player does off the field, so long as he plays well on it. I think it is really quite funny how many of the same people that were deadset against him ever playing for the 49ers again now are only too happy to have him start if he’s in the best 5 OL!

          2. I wonder if Mid recalls the conversations we had last year/ earlier this year about whether Davis would be accepted back? Mid was adamant he’d never be accepted back by the 49ers… but funny how shoddy play by those that tried to replace him can make people a little more forgiving than usual. :-P

              1. No. I had no idea what Davis would be like coming back. Whether he’d be in shape, whether he’d have the right mindset, whether he’d be any good. So I had no expectations.

                My thoughts were that the team shouldn’t rely on him coming back as the player he was, and if he does come back well then it’s a bonus. Seems to be how the team approached it too.

                As for Brown, I liked what I saw last season. The only thing that has surprised me regarding Brown apparently winning the RT job is how he’s held up under the fast pace Kelly sets.

              2. I definitely didn’t think the team should rely or trust in his comeback. But where I made my mistake was that I assumed he was a head case by his tweets and I also made the false assumption he would be out of shape. As for Brown, I was discouraged at his conditioning during Mini Camp, but prior to that I had liked what I’d seen as well….

    1. The FO has given Gabbert all the opportunities and advantages to win the starting job, but ultimately, the decision is Chips.

      Gabbert has not shined, so an injured QB is still competing.

      Friday is the key, for both players.

      1. “The FO has given Gabbert all the opportunities and advantages to win the starting job”

        How so? Was it the Front Office that made Kaepernick’s shoulder tight forcing him to not practice?

        “Ultimately the decision is Chips”

        No kidding. That’s the same thing that Baalke, one of those front office guys, said recently when asked by reporters.

        In all likelihood Kaepernick will see his first significant action on Friday. And as you said it will be key. The good thing is, there will be absolutely nothing that anyone can use as an excuse should he be average to below average. There’s none of this, oh look at the oline or anything now. It’s time to show up. We’ll see what he’s got for all to see.

        It’s showtime.

        1. During OTAs, Gabbert got all the first string reps, and during the offseason, he got to throw to his receivers. Kaep did very little.

          During TC, Kaep split the first team reps, but once he was shut down, Gabbert got all the first string reps. That sounds advantageous to me.

          1. Seb,

            Yes, Gabbert has had the edge on CK, that’s not in dispute. The problem with your statement is the part about the FO giving Gabbert “all the opportunities and advantages to win the starting job…” That never happened, no matter how much you want it to be true.

  12. I think they see what I do. Gabbert is a serviceable backup but does not play with the Moxie to be the focal point of the offense like Chip had when he was at Oregon. I think Chip also has liked Kap while he was in Philly and wants to see just what it would look like in the game.

    One of Chips staples is for the Qb to threaten in the run game and Ponder put Gabbert on notice for not pulling the ball out and keeping. Also the deep ball has been a non factor when Gabbert has played in games leaving plays on the field. The sink and dunk is great to get you through some games without your starter but not enough to win the starting job.

          1. Lights out after not playing in a game in 9 months and coming off over a week of inactivity? You might be setting your expectations a wee bit too high Razor.

            1. You could say the same thing about Christian, if you’d take a minute to Ponder. As you say he’s been out, he’ll be going against their one’s. If he throws for a TD and rushes for one through a half, given your astute handicap outline, I’d say that would be lights out, lights out in ‘Frisco! Hold tight, ’til the end…lol!

  13. Curtis Modkins on naming a starting QB: “It’s not time….Kap hasn’t had a chance to perform yet.”
    Now that sounds familiar, wonder where I’ve read that.

  14. This FO thinks they were the reason for the Niners success when Jimbo was here. They believed Tomsula could win as many games as JH.. They now believe Gabbert is better then Kaep. Chip will play the Poltics game until Gabbert falls on his face. Then Chip gets the go ahead to start Kaep. Which then leads to an eventual Balke firing at years end. This is very predictable barring an unexpected surprise season. This was never a competition. This was decided when Chip was offered this job. You want the job Gabbert starts.

    1. Rebuild you are building a case of lame excuses for CK. Like Seb blame the FO. CK has and will have ample opportunity to show case himself to this staff. And of eons the job great, of he doesn’t don’t bring that sorry attitude and excuses as to why. This is pro sports where winning matters. This isn’t about personal feelings between the Yorks and Baalke. Just like JH, they wanted him gone and he’s gone. Same goes for anyone they employ. You clowns make it sound like a soap opera!

  15. Razor-Never said Bowman will dog anything -it’s not in his DNA. And yes Chip will make the final decision with QB. However, the team as a whole will help influence that decision. Especially if all things end up even between GB and Kaep on the field.
    The $ will tell you Staley and Bowman and maybe Tory Smith will have most input from the players side.

    1. What you were suggesting is some players may be butt hurt over their buddy Aldon’s broken heart, and that it might be a factor in deciding who the quarterback would be. I call BS!

  16. Its not BS. In a team sport relationships and respect of your team mates on and off the field matter. You may get away with a little more if you’re Tom Brady or Joe Montana. But make no mistake Kaep does not have that much game.

    1. Or that much pull to determine who stays and who goes based on who’s pulling their weight for him of all people.
      Everyone keeps forgetting Kaepernick requested permission to seek a trade even before Chip arrived.
      You think his teammates have forgot that?

      1. They seem to have forgotten Mr. Davis’ transgressions. It comes down to performance. This is professional football, Prime. Not some love story, gawd!

            1. Unfortunately, that may very well have a lot to do with who starts–who Jed likes……….

              Remember, he didn’t like Harbaugh……where’s Harbaugh?
              Thats a bit simplistic, but not entirely–not with Jed at the helm.

  17. Kick off changes:

    Bradley Pinion has been using a one step kick off in preseason. It seems to bring the ball down around the goal and keep teams inside the twenty. Hang time will be the new critical stat for kickoffs. They will keep doing in until it doesn’t work.

    The next move might be back spin and targeting the five yard line.

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