When Colin Kaepernick held a news conference recently, he said all the right things.
After being cleared to be on the field after offseason surgery, Kaepernick took part in the three-day minicamp and told the Bay Area media, “I’m excited to get back on the field.”
His request for a trade earlier this offseason was in the past, saying he and his agent simply were looking “at different opportunities.”
“At this point everything is football, I’m a 49er and excited to work with Chip (Kelly) and his coaching staff. I’m excited about what’s to come,” he said.
But Kaepernick, once a rising star in the NFL, has a long way to go to earn back the starting job that Blaine Gabbert took from him in 2015.
In fact, a pair of national NFL writers, John Clayton of ESPN and Michael Silver of NFL.com, have reported that Kelly and his staff love what they see in Gabbert.
Clayton wrote that Kelly “is particularly pleased” with Gabbert and that he has a substantial lead in the competition.
Silver called Gabbert the heavy favorite in the quarterback competition.
“(Gabbert) is loved in his locker room, did a lot of good things last year and I would be shocked if he’s not the quarterback in the opener,” Silver wrote.
Kelly, however, has said there will be a true competition in training camp, when Kaepernick will be completely healthy. And, he said both quarterbacks have the skill set to play in his spread, fast-paced system, saying they are “cut out of the same mold.”
Until the two can make their cases in game conditions in this summer’s exhibition games, Kelly won’t be truly able to pick a winner.