This is the transcript of Colin Kaepernick’s Week 17 press conference, courtesy of the 49ers’ P.R. department.
What was it like to get back to work after Saturday’s game where you guys have a lot of fun, it showed? Is there a renewed spirit in here?
“I wouldn’t say renewed spirit. I think we’ve always had spirit to keep focused, keep fighting, make sure we’re doing everything we can to win. It’s just always a different feeling coming off a win where you see what it takes to win, you see what you did right and you have things to build on going into this week. So, I think we have a good opportunity this week to come out, try and get another win.”
With that comeback, you’ve been through so much this year with injuries, surgeries, trade talk, a lot of losses. Did that winning the game that way just kind of re-nourish a sense of love of the game that maybe was missing?
“I would say you know, a love of winning. It had been a long time since we had that feeling. And to get a win and get it that way I think was huge for this team. It kind of sets a standard for us now that we can look at and say, ‘OK, this is what it took for us to win this week. We have to hold ourselves to this standard and above.’”
What did it do for you personally?
“It got us one more win this year. For me, it was great to see our team continue to fight. We weren’t in the best situation in the fourth quarter and to come out, put two drives together to get the win and see our defense make huge plays at the end of the game to allow us to win, I think this team sees what it’s capable of and now we have that foundation to be able to build upon.”
You know how this works. Anytime there’s a bad season, people look at the head coach, the general manager and the quarterback. Looking ahead to next year, do you feel kind of a sense of uncertainty within the organization of what steps will be taken or what steps need to be taken in order to get this team back on track?
“For us, looking ahead is Sunday. So, that’s where our focus is right now. That’s where all of our energy is going. We want to make sure we end this season right with a win and do everything this week to prepare for that.”
But, there’s going to be a lot of evaluation going on with all the players. Have you given any thought at all to this could be, you could opt out, have you given any thought at all that this might be your last game?
“No. My focus once again is this week and making sure that I’m doing everything I can to prepare and to try to help my teammates prepare this week to get a win and I think that’s where this whole team’s focus is.”
How important is it to build momentum? Winning last week and trying to go ahead and win this week. How important is it just to build some positivity going into the offseason?
“It’s huge. When you’re in a situation like this, how you finish the season can help set the foundation for next season. And that’s what we have to be able to do this week is go out and get a win, leave on a positive note and have something to build on this offseason where we can improve and then come into next season ready to roll.”
Has it been harder to maintain your focus given everything that’s happened to you both personally, professionally, everything surrounding your future going on? Has it been different maintaining that week to week focus on the field?
“No. When I step into this building my focus is football and what I have to do to try to win and try to help this team win and I think our players, our coaches all have that same mentality. So, to me it’s an easy environment to come into and work and make sure you’re staying focused on that.”
This might come out of left field, but I ask this just because you obviously have interest in other passions beyond football. Do you for sure want to play in the NFL next year?
After the win, did maybe chief executive officer Jed York or Co-Chairman Dr. John York or general manager Trent Baalke reach out to congratulate you just on winning that game?
“They congratulated the team. They’re constantly around the locker room on game days and it was a great feeling to come down and come off a win and have that excitement throughout the entire organization. I think that was a huge step for this team and a great feeling for all of us.”
Has there been any one-on-one interaction with them in terms of mapping out your future or was that done in October?
“No. Once again, we’re focused on the next game. This week, it’s Seattle and making sure we’re prepared for them.”
When you look at where you’ve come in your starts, do you see yourself continuing to get better? There’s been a lot of outside talk about whether head coach Chip Kelly’s offense can work at the NFL level. Do you see that as an issue or do adjustments have to be made for it to be more successful, for it to be able to sustain success in the NFL?
“No. I think it’s like any offense. You have to go out and execute. If you execute and do your job, offenses work, and if you don’t do your job well, they don’t work. So, we have to be able to execute at a high level across the board on a continual basis and be able to sustain that for four quarters and we’ll start putting up more points and start winning more games.”
How would you assess the season that you’ve had?
“Once again, my focus is this week. I really don’t review what I’ve done in the past until after the season’s over.”
Are you happy with the way you’ve played?
“This past week? Yeah, to get a win. I base everything off wins and losses and make sure that’s where my focus is. Stats don’t matter if you’re not winning.”
How has your health held up so far? You haven’t missed a game since you started. What’s the condition been like, avoided major injuries?
“Feeling good. To me, I feel like I’ve gotten more and more back to myself as weeks have gone and gotten more comfortable in this offense. So, that’s something that’s exciting for me.”
You’ve played a lot of high profile games against Seattle. Has this defense, there are some new faces, some guys out of the lineup, but is it the same? Obviously, your offense isn’t the same. Has their defense maintained continuity through the years?
“Yeah. They’ve kept a lot of their core players. You see a lot of similar faces, familiar faces on defense and they run their defense, they run it very well. They know exactly what they’re doing over there and they’re very successful. They win a lot of one-on-one matchups, things like that. So, that’s something that we have to be prepared for.”
You had surgery about a year ago and got you off to a staggered start this year. In hindsight, are you glad you had them when you did and do you feel better physically now then you’ve felt in a long time?
“Yeah. It has been a long time since I’ve felt this good. I just felt fluid on the field. For me, that’s something I want to be able to continue to build on and especially moving forward making sure that I’m doing everything to keep myself here and being able to improve that.”
Do you feel more fluid than you did, I mean you seem quicker in a lot of ways than you had in the past. Is that something that you might have even improved upon this season versus the 2012, 2013 Colin Kaepernick?
“That’s hard to say because you really focus on what you’re doing in the moment. But, I do know this is the best I’ve felt in a long time and once again, I’m excited about that.”