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Kerley: Chip Kelly galvanized 49ers’ after Kaepernick’s first kneel in ‘16

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Kerley said, “I love Chip for it.”

San Francisco 49ers v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Former San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jermy Kerley told TMZ Sports that former Niners head coach Chip Kelly “punted the elephant out of the room” after Colin Kaepernick’s first kneeling protest. Kerley said Kelly didn’t allow things around the locker room to get awkward after Kaepernick began his protests of social injustices during the 2016 NFL national anthems. Kerley also said that Kelly brought the team together almost immediately after and gave Kaepernick the floor to speak his mind to the locker room:

“For Chip being able to do that, I think that was pretty cool for him to kind of take the elephant out the room and remove all doubt. I think that was pretty cool; I love Chip for it. It kind of removed all doubts and stuff in the locker room, and we just bonded, like we were close, and it was fun.” Kerley said that, despite how the 2016 season turned out for San Francisco, it was his favorite year of his eight-year career because they were able to “have a blast.” Kerley also added, “To play with Kap —a lot of people forget, Kap was a ballplayer.”

Kerley believes Kaepernick should be in the NFL: “I think it’s definitely time for him to jump back on the field and for people to accept him back on the field.” Kerley hadn’t played in the league since 2018 when he was with the Bills. Kerley is currently coaching a prep school in Arlington, Texas, and is hoping to climb the coaching ladder, though he’s not opposed to returning to the game as a player.

This story is somewhat out of the blue, but Black Lives Matter protests continue around the world, and many relate the movement to Kaepernick taking a knee. I’m sure during the time there were plenty of people who felt like Colin’s actions divided the locker room, so it’s nice to hear a former teammate come out and say he not only enjoyed it, but Kelly gave the floor to Colin, and that apparently didn’t have a negative impact in the locker room.