One common thread with most of the great players in sports is the insatiable hunger to keep winning. The greats are never satisfied with one accomplishment. They have a fire that burns year in and year out to keep winning, to keep being the best. 49er fans are hoping Colin Kaepernick has that fire. From the sounds of things, they need not fret. Fresh off of leading his team to a Super Bowl appearance in just 10 career starts, Kaepernick has quickly gotten back to work this offseason.
According to reports, Kaepernick shunned invites to take part in events like Grammy awards and the Oscars and was instead working out with college players at a training facility in Atlanta. The facility, CES Performance, was the same one Kapernick trained at before the 2011 draft. 49er’s receivers Chad Hall, Ricardo Lockette and A.J. Jenkins all joined Kaepernick as he starts to get ready to lead the 49ers on another run towards the Super bowl.
Kaepernick’s dedication has been well documented in the past and could was something that attracted 49er’s head coach Jim Harbaugh to him in the first place. According to an article by Peter King shortly after the 2011 draft, Harbaugh saw a lot of himself in the way the Nevada quarterback prepared.
“Harbaugh wanted a baller out of his quarterback. He wanted a player who loves to practice, loves to learn, loves to play. As a friend of both Harbaugh and Baalke, Trent Dilfer told me in a quote I used in Sports Illustrated this week: “Kaepernick’s a football junkie, and he’ll be trained 24/7/365 by Jim Harbaugh to be an NFL quarterback. Every aspect of his life will be about being a quarterback. Perfect guy for Harbaugh.” As another draft analyst told me Sunday: “Harbaugh drafted himself.”
Harbaugh’s impressions of Kaepernick turned out to be spot on almost immediately. Shortly after the quarterback was drafted, the two spoke on the phone. Kaepernick was about 90 minutes away from the 49er’s complex in Santa Clara. Harbaugh, excited to get working with his new quarterback, suggested the two could meet halfway the next day and drive the rest of the trip together. Kaepernick trumped even that suggesting his could come right over. The 49ers took him up on the suggestion and he was in the building within a few hours.
About a year and a half later, Kaepernick took the NFL by storm. He subbed in for an injured Alex Smith and shredded what was, at the time, a feared Bear’s defense to the tune of 243 yards through the air and 2 touchdown passes in a 32-7 49er’s route. He took over as the starter from there and, for the season, finished with 1814 yards passing and 10 touchdowns. Kaepernick was only intercepted 3 times for a 98.3 rating. He added 415 yards on the ground at 6.6 yards per carry and 5 scores.
In the playoffs is where Kaepernick really excelled, coming within 5 yards of winning a championship. In three games, he completed 61.3 percent of his passes for 798 yards and four touchdowns, with a quarterback rating of 100.9. Kaepernick added 264 yards on the ground with 3 more scores. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment was the poise he showed leading his team back from deficits including a 17-0 hole in the NFC championship game.
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