Chip Kelly defends Colin Kaepernick: He was not a distraction
Much has been said about how much Colin Kaepernick was a distraction in the San Francisco 49ers’ locker room last season, but the man who oversaw things is defending the quarterback.
Chip Kelly joined ESPN’s Adam Schefter on the “Know them from Adam” podcast, which was published on Wednesday. The two are now colleagues at ESPN, and they talked about Kaepernick, who served as Kelly’s quarterback in San Francisco most of last season.
Kelly was adamant that Kaepernick was not a locker room distraction despite kneeling for the national anthem. He also defended Kap’s play.
“Kap was awesome. At the beginning of the year he made his stance on what he believed was right. We recognized and supported his ability to do that. But he never brought that into the locker room,” Kelly said, via Black Sports Online. “We had a meeting the day after the Green Bay game that he did it in the preseason and he explained to all the players the process and mindset of what he was doing. And there were some players that agreed with him and there were some players that didn’t agree with him.
“After that point we heard from the outside what a distraction it is except those people weren’t in our locker room and Kap never was a distraction and turned it into a circus. He came into work every day, extremely diligent in terms of his preparation, in terms of his work ethic in the weight room, in terms of his work ethic in the meeting room.
“I really enjoyed Kap. I’ve talked to him three or four times since we left San Francisco. I know he’s working out really hard in New York right now. I think he’s a really good person and a really good player. And I really enjoyed coaching him.”
In addition to talking about Kaepernick, Kelly answered a question about his alleged pursuit of Marcus Mariota during the 2015 NFL Draft.
Kelly says that contrary to the trade rumors leading up to the draft, the Eagles never made the Titans an offer because Tennessee was adamant about selecting Mariota and would not entertain trades.
“With Tennessee, they weren’t moving off the pick. Rightly so. They were looking for the same thing we were, to get themselves a really top-quality quarterback. It really wasn’t like … We didn’t really get into a conversation of what we can offer or what we can’t offer, because they made it known that they really weren’t looking to trade the pick.”
The Titans were smart for that, because now they have Mariota and appear to be building a contender.
As far as Kaepernick, Kelly defended the QB during the season, so it’s not a huge surprise that he’s continued to back Kap. He also said he felt multiple surgeries the year before resulted in Kaepernick not being at his best.