After 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick ran for 181 yards in San Francisco’s playoff victory over Green Bay last season, the NFL took notice.
So did former Olympic sprinter Ato Boldon.
Boldon told Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News that Kaepernick – a big man at 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds – has special speed.
“He’s a freak in the same way that Usain Bolt is a freak,” Boldon said.
Boldon said NFL teams know Kaepernick is fast, but when they actually see him on the field, his speed is almost shocking. He said that was obvious when Kaepernick broke away for a 56-yard touchdown sprint in the victory over the Packers.
“The defensive secondary had a long time to look at him coming around and they still couldn’t do anything about it,” Boldon said. “As much as Kaepernick is known for his speed, I think he has the most underrated speed in the league. He’s fast. Then he runs by people and they think, ‘Oh, he’s that fast.’ ”
Now, Kaepernick is determined to get even faster.
The Niners’ quarterback spent two weeks of training in Georgia this offseason on the track with two world-class sprinters in hopes of refining his running technique, reports Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee.
“Anything you can do to get faster, any tips you can take, you want to do it,” Kaepernick told Barrows.
Though Kaepernick was a three-sport standout in high school in football, baseball and basketball, he didn’t run track. But those who saw him doing track workouts this offseason said he was fast, willing to work, willing to listen to ideas and a hard worker.
At one point, reports Barrows, Kaepernick ran nine consecutive 150-meter sprints in 18 seconds or less. Paul Doyle, the manager at Doyle Sports Performance Center, where Kaepernick was training, said Kaepernick already has a great base.
“He absolutely can get faster,” Doyle told Barrows. “He can improve. But we’re starting from a very solid place with him.”
Though 49ers GM Trent Baalke is excited about a lot of things right now – including the draft that begins Thursday and the recent addition of several free agents – he’s also optimistic about Kaepernick’s first full season as a starter in 2013 based on his great debut in 2012 and what he’s seen and heard about the work he’s put in since the Super Bowl loss to the Ravens.
“He’s doing an excellent job,” Baalke recently told Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group. “There is no harder worker. I can say that about a lot of guys. This team works.”