Quarterback Colin Kaepernick will start for the 49ers Monday. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
For those 49ers fans wanting to see what Colin Kaepernick can do at quarterback, the time has come.
The second-year player from Nevada will start against the Bears on “Monday Night Football,” according to reports Monday morning.
ESPN’s Chris Mortenson broke the news on Twitter, reporting: “Alex Smith will not play tonight for 49ers, unable to get clearance from neurologist after suffering concussion last week, per sources.”
Smith, who suffered a concussion in the first half of last Sunday’s 24-24 overtime tie with the Rams, was cleared to return to practice this past week, but wore a black “no contact” jersey as he awaited final clearance.
Doctors and the team apparently believe, however, that more time off will help Smith, and the Niners will turn to Kaepernick, who performed well in relief of Smith against the Rams.
Kaepernick – who has never started a regular-season game – completed 11-of-17 passes for 117 yards and rushed eight times for 66 yards and a touchdown against St. Louis. Until his relief effort, Kaepernick mainly had been used this season in special situations as a change-of-pace quarterback.
Now it will be a battle of backup quarterbacks on Monday night, with Kaepernick of the 6-2-1 49ers and former Oakland Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell for the Bears, who also have lost starting quarterback Jay Cutler to a concussion suffered last week.