MORRISSEY: Bears can take credit for 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick
BY RICK MORRISSEY firstname.lastname@example.org January 30, 2013 1:07AM
RAVENS VS. 49ERS
5:30 P.M. Sunday, Ch. 2
Updated: March 2, 2013 7:24AM
NEW ORLEANS — We made Colin Kaepernick.
By “we,’’ I’m referring to Chicago, but what I really mean is “that sad excuse for a Bears team.’’
Come to think of it, let’s leave us out of this.
But we can’t, of course. Kaepernick made his first NFL start against the Bears in November, lit them up in a 32-7 San Francisco victory and now, nine starts later, is basking in the klieg lights of the Super Bowl.
Throw in the fact that he turned down the chance to sign with the Cubs, and you can see two things: He’s clearly very smart, and we really are inextricably linked with the guy. Or, to put it another way, he’s the closest we’re going to get to this Super Bowl, so we’d be stupid not to adopt him.
Colin Kaepernick: Chicago’s very own.
Oh, and one more connection: The lead paragraph of my column after he cut the Bears’ defense to ribbons was, “The Bears got Kaepernicked.’’ Last week, Kaepernick filed to trademark “Kaepernicking,’’ his signature celebration of pretending to kiss his biceps after a big play. Coincidence? I don’t think so. So he and I are a team: He’ll make money off of it, and I’ll watch him make money off of it.
But back to the Bears, who can take credit for starting him on a path that brought him to Tuesday and the annual circus known as Media Day. In that Monday night game, he completed 16 of 23 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns. He had a season-high 133.1 passer rating.
“It’s always great to get a win, especially your first start,’’ he said to a mob of reporters Tuesday. “It was a big stage, and that always helps.’’
Kaepernick is not the most introspective person, and that might have helped him get through being at the center of a national controversy. It erupted two weeks after the Bears game, when coach Jim Harbaugh decided to keep a second-year pro in the starting lineup even though the veteran quarterback, Alex Smith, had returned from a concussion.
The Bears game sticks out for many of the 49ers.
“He came into the huddle and said, ‘We’re going right now. Let’s do this,’ ’’ tackle Alex Boone said. “The first play. And I think everyone was like, ‘OK, let’s do it. Let’s go.’ No questions asked. He went out and had a phenomenal game, and he’s been taking steps every week.’’
The reason there wasn’t more turmoil inside the 49ers’ locker room had to do with eyesight. The players had seen Kaepernick practice every day. Few of them might have liked the idea of a starter losing his job because of injury, but there was no denying the kid’s abilities.
“I was more excited for him to get a chance to show what he could do,’’ fullback Bruce Miller said. “I know around our facility guys knew what he could do and were confident in his ability to make plays for us.’’
“What he’s doing now is not surprising to us,’’ running back Frank Gore said.
As I said, Kaepernick doesn’t appear to be someone who dwells on things, and that’s good. The world is littered with athletes who dwelled too much on too many matters.
Listen to what Kaepernick said about the thought of playing in the Super Bowl with very little experience under his belt:
“Just because you’re in a situation you haven’t been in before doesn’t mean you have to feel pressure from it.”
There’s something almost calming in that statement, isn’t there? At a minimum, it’s very wise coming from a 25-year-old.
Not so long ago, he was a fairly obscure 24-year-old. Then, one day, Harbaugh tapped him on the shoulder.
“Three months ago, I could go anywhere,” he said. “Now it’s a little harder.’’
Blame the Bears, kid.
His favorite tattoo reads, “My gift is my curse.’’
What does it mean?
“There are a lot of great things about being an NFL QB, a lot of perks,’’ he said. “At the same time, there are a lot of things you can’t do as an NFL QB that you could do if you were just walking around if you had a normal job. I don’t get to see my family on a regular basis. I don’t get to go home for Thanksgiving. You have limited time.’’
Again, blame the Bears, Colin.
Me? I thank them. They gave us Colin Kaepernick. He’ll be playing football in February. He’s all we have.