As training camp approaches and free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick remains unsigned, plenty of opinions will be offered on his status. Earlier this week, Joe Montana told the Sporting News that he thinks Kaepernick might land a chance if somebody gets hurt, but raised issues of his skillset and distractions he might bring.
On Friday, Steve Young had a chance to speak about Kaepernick’s situation. Young stopped by the KNBR booth at the American Century Championship golf tournament, and after speaking about what John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan hirings mean for the 49ers, he got a Kaepernick question.
The host asked about Kaepernick not having a job, and if it was because of his throwing skills, or that he touched the “third rail” with his protest. Young offered this.
“It’s hard to know. Probably a piece of all of it. Colin, I’d have to sit down with him, look him in the eye, see what he really wants to do, see how much work he has in him. Because if he wants to work — the guy can play. So if he wants to do the work and he wants to get better, which I can’t imagine him not.
“I’m surprised, even with the situation last year with the kneel-down during the National Anthem, that people can’t see through that and see, like here’s a good player that wants to play and not toxic in the locker room … But he’s gotta fit too. He’s the kind of guy who’s going to come off a play fake, see a guy, throw it. If you want him to read through, you want him to find the fourth receiver, the outlet — that’s probably not his game. So he’s got to find the right spot for himself.”
On the one hand, it’s a fairly measured response. He brings up the question of dedication, but he makes sure to be clear that it is something he would sit down and talk to him about. He also ended the first part of his answer saying he can’t imagine Kaepernick not wanting to do the work and get better.
He expresses surprise that people aren’t seeing through the National Anthem protest that he is not toxic to the locker room. We’ve heard a variety of excuses that do not relate to Kaepernick’s playing ability. The Giants owner expressed concern about fan reaction. Others have talked about distractions in the locker room. There is a football discussion to be had about what Colin Kaepernick brings to the table. But there have been deflections by owners and others to the distraction topic. I’m not sure how Young is caught off guard by the fact that some owners and others hold the protest against Kaepernick, but I suppose it could be a learning experience for him and others about how some folks operate.