Even though he has only started 10 games in the NFL, 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has become a well-known player throughout the league in a short span. After winning two playoff games and having a signature “Kaepernicking” gesture, he has gained national attention everywhere.
Not only is Kaepernick being popular among fans, but also in the 49ers locker room and with the coaching staff.
“[Kaepernick] is a diverse guy,” Jim Harbaugh said on Thursday. “[The coaches and players] love him. It’s unique.”
Harbaugh was saying how well-respected Kaepernick has become as a player and a person off the field. In his starting QB debut against the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football, Kaepernick put himself on the national radar when he threw for 243 passing yards and two touchdowns. He did it with ease and made it look easy as if he was a 10-year veteran on that night.
Kaepernick said the leadership is a key reason to success on the field. He wants to build strong chemistry with teammates in all games.
“I think [leadership and respect] are very important,” Kaepernick said. “If your players and teammates don’t respect you, someone they can talk to or associate with, they’re not going to follow you. They’re not going play as hard for you.”
Kaepernick said he still thinks about the Super Bowl loss to the Ravens looking back in hindsight. He admitted it was a poor first half start and not the final four plays which were the reason the 49ers lost the Super Bowl.
Even though Kaepernick has been getting attention from the national media through magazines, Twitter, award shows and even commercials, Harbaugh said he isn’t distracted with it. Harbaugh said he is amazed at the how popular others will view him as a role model both on and off the field.
“[Kaepernick] is a very diverse guy and very intelligent guy,” said Harbaugh. “He’s got a lot of common sense. It’s plus, plus, plus across the board when you talk about the way he thinks, the way he operates. It’s A-plus.”
Harbaugh added how it is for a quarterback to be well-liked by teammates. With the quarterback in charge of calling most of the shots, he said it drives or breaks an offense.
“For a leader to be effective, [they need] to be followed by most of the group that he’s leading,” Harbaugh said. “[Colin Kaepernick] definitely has that love and respect from his teammates.”
Kaepernick said isn’t thinking about the recognition he has received either whether it’s the ESPN Magazine appearance or the comments on his fashion and fast food eating talks. It’s all about business with the 49ers, according to Kaepernick.
“Football is football. I’m here to work,” Kaepernick said. “I’m here to make sure I get better.”