With reports that the Seattle Seahawks want to sign former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, should fans be worried that he will haunt the team?
The 2016 season was awful for the San Francisco 49ers franchise. Leading the way was now former 49ers starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick who many hoped would turn his career around under the tutelage of former head coach Chip Kelly.
Kelly ran a system who many assumed would be favorable to a player of Kaepernick’s playing skills. Unfortunately, the team lacked offensive talent from and struggled mightily on the defensive side of the roster. Muddying the waters, Kaepernick decided to not stand for the playing of the national anthem. This silent, peaceful protest quickly became the epicenter for anything Kaepernick related in 2016.
Despite a putrid 2-14 finish, Kaepernick improved his overall performance from that of his two previous years, even though his supporting cast was mostly atrocious. Regardless, the damage was done. His decision to protest via the national anthem largely overshadowed his improvement as a quarterback.
To fans, and the majority of the NFL, Kaepernick had broken a sacred, unwritten code. Never disrespect or give the appearance of disrespecting America. Whether this is what Colin Kaepernick did or meant to do is a matter for each individual to explore for themselves.
This is not the intent of this article.
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The above is stated to highlight where matters currently lie in the Kaepernick Saga. Kaepernick, a quarterback who clearly should start for one of the 32 NFL teams in the league but isn’t. In fact, players of far lesser playing skill were signed in favor of Kaepernick over the course of the offseason.
Many prominent sportswriters have commented on the matter. You can read more on the matter here. Mike Freeman, writer for Bleacher Report, has covered the topic extensively. In his coverage, he clearly believes that the NFL has “blacklisted” to a large degree. All this for a player who believed he was doing the right thing — take a stand against what he believes is wrong.
Now, recent reports have NFC West rivals, the Seattle Seahawks, showing strong interest in him as their backup quarterback. Russell Wilson, the established starter, would remain the starter. There is no questioning that. Wilson, however, would help develop Kaepernick’s game further than where it is now.
However, injuries can and will happen. It is a part of the game. There is just no way to extricate injuries from football. Nonetheless, Seattle, with their brand of football, is the best place that Kaepernick could go to rehabilitate his reputation and quarterback play.
In addition to the Seahawks interest in him, there are also reports that Kaepernick has regained all of his previously lost weight. He had previously lost weight due to surgeries he had just prior to the start of the 2016 season.
The dramatic weight loss caused him to lose arm strength and speed. Now a full year removed from his surgeries, his strength and conditioning coach reports that he is back to full strength and speed. His reported offseason weight is now 230 pounds which is his normal playing weight, as reported by Tim Kawakami of The Mercury News.
One can imagine that Kaepernick feels wronged. A slight for his attempt to bring attention to a perceived social slight. You can bet that Kaepernick is ready to play. He plays best when he has something to prove — when he’s angry. Now, he isn’t the type of quarterback that can do it all by himself. Few quarterbacks can. However, if he does sign with the Seahawks he would be joining the reigning 2016 NFC West Champions.
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The Seahawks are a dangerous team with a strong defense and a competent offense. Their locker room is as strong and supportive as they come. Not to mention that their head coach Pete Carroll is the epitome of a player’s coach.
Carroll would embrace Kaepernick’s political movement just as easily as 49ers CEO Jed York and former head coach Kelly did last season. In fact, the Seahawks team was very supportive of Kaepernick’s message last season. Many Seahawks players have even come out in his defense in the last few months.
Reversing years of animosity between two teams who seemed to have bitter hatred for each other. Yet, you have players like Michael Bennett and Richard Sherman who have publicly praised Kaepernick either for his playing ability and his social activism.
The Seahawks have built an image of rebellion. The thumb-your-nose, we-do-it-our-way team would certainly allow Kaepernick to thrive as a player and social activist. He could come in, sit, learn the system, train and train some more. All the while bide his time for his opportunity to take the field once again and prove he should be leading an NFL team as a full-time starter. A fully healthy Kaepernick on a talented roster, firing on all cylinders, would certainly be intriguing to say the least. Which brings us back to the question at hand.
Should 49ers fans be concerned? Yes, they should.
Should Kaepernick become a Seahawk, 49ers fans should hope that Wilson never goes down with an injury. The last thing any San Francisco 49ers fan would want to see at this point is Colin Kaepernick scoring a touchdown, in Levi’s stadium, Kaepernicking in a Seahawks jersey, as he leads them to the playoffs.
As fans, that would just be unbearable.