SANTA CLARA – Here’s a transcript of Colin Kaepernick’s first press conference of the offseason.
Q: How is your health?
KAEPERNICK: My health is doing well. I was happy to get back on the field this week. Everything is coming along, progressing as planned. At this point, I can really start to get rolling. I’m excited to get back on the field, get healthy and get ready for this training camp.
Q: You expect to be full go come training camp?
KAEPERNICK: Yes. Full go come training camp. Ready to compete. Ready to give this team everything I have.
Q: Has this been an odd situation for you these last couple of months coming in after the trade request? How have you handled that, and do you have to smooth over some waters with teammates?
KAEPERNICK: No, I don’t think it has been an odd or awkward situation. That was the business aspect of football, and at this point I’m here, I’m excited to be with Chip and these coaches. The offense has been amazing. My teammates have been great with their support. I’m excited to be back on the field with them. It was a great feeling to be out there this week.
Q: Why did you request a trade?
KAEPERNICK: Organizations at the end of the season go through and evaluate personnel and opportunities. That was something that I sat down with my team and did the same thing. That’s how we handled the business.
Q: What led you to that? Why did you think it was better for you to go elsewhere?
KAEPERNICK: Once again, we were looking at different opportunities. I really don’t want to get into specifics of what happened, why things happened. At this point everything is football, I’m a 49er, once again excited to work with Chip and this coaching staff, Curtis (Modkins) and Ryan (Day) have been amazing and I’m excited about what’s to come.
Q: Are you confident that your best opportunity now is here?
KAEPERNICK: Yeah, I’m very confident in that. What Chip, the coaching staff and my teammates have done this offseason and the work they’ve put in and how everything’s going, I’m very excited to be here, I’m very happy to be here and looking forward to being here?
ME: Have your agents dropped the trade request?
KAEPERNICK: Have they dropped the trade request? I haven’t even thought about a trade request in a long time. I’m here. I’m a 49er. I’m excited for this offseason, the work that I’ve been putting in this summer to get ready for training camp and to come in and compete.
Q: Chip said you were able to do more on Tuesday than maybe they even expected. Is it a fine line of pushing your body to do as much as you can while also remembering you had three surgeries and you might not be able to do everything you want to do right away?
KAEPERNICK: Yeah, it is a fine line. Tuesday, I was only supposed to do individual drills. I felt good where I could do 7-on-7 and some of the 2-on-2 and 3-on-3 drills. And I was happy I was able to participate in that, get some live action against a defense, but also keeping in mind that I can’t just jump back into everything and get out there and start going full go. So, it is a balance of, “What’s the limit? How far can I push things?”
Q: Where are you at upper-body-strength wise? Are you still getting some of that back?
KAEPERNICK: Yeah, still working on gaining strength throughout my entire body. It’s something with three surgeries that it took a while for me to be able to get back in the weight room and start lifting and being able to put some of that muscle back on, which is what I’m really excited about this summer. The point I’m at now is I can start doing those things and really get prepared for the season.
Q: With regards to the trade request, did it have anything to do with Chip Kelly becoming the head coach, or was it something more that you had going on with the organization?
KAEPERNICK: Once again, I’m not going to get into specifics. I know you’re trying to do your job and get all the information you can, but right now I’m a 49er, I’m excited to be here, I’m happy to be with Chip and my teammates and I’m excited to be here.
Q: What have you been told about the training-camp competition and how the pecking order will go, and do you feel you have a shot at the starting role?
KAEPERNICK: You know, they haven’t said anything about pecking order or anything like that. All I’ve heard is Chip has told me it’s going to be a competition, as well as Ryan and Curtis, and to come in and be ready to compete. That’s going to be my mindset and I’m excited to do that.
Q: You have a fairly significant injury guarantee in your contract. Do you see that as a hindrance at all as far as them wanting you on the field where you could get injured and collect that money?
KAEPERNICK: To be honest, I haven’t thought about that. My focus has been getting healthy, learning this playbook and getting ready for training camp and doing everything I can to prepare this team and my teammates to help win.
Q: After the Broncos took Paxton Lynch, John Elway said he was surprised that it didn’t work out. What kind of sense did you get meeting with Elway, and were you surprised that the draft came and went and you were still here?
KAEPERNICK: Once again, that’s a better question for the organizations. For me, I’m not going to get into that. I’m focused on football. I’m happy to be here. I’m excited to be here with Chip and my teammates.
Q: How does Chip’s system suit you?
KAEPERNICK: I think Chip’s system is great for me. I think it’s very similar to what I’ve done in college. More detailed and more complex, but I think it’s something that I’ll be able to thrive in and I’m excited to be a part of and really get on the field and get those reps and see what we can do in games.
Q: Does the fast-break stuff suit you too?
KAEPERNICK: Yeah, most definitely. It’s an explosive offense – he has proven that with his track record through college and the NFL. And it’s something that I’m excited to be a part of and to see what we can do this season.
Q: How much do you think the mental reps have helped you?
KAEPERNICK: I think it’s something that I wanted to be able to take those mental reps and at least get a semblance of what the picture is that I’m going to be seeing on certain plays, and work through my reads and get those mental reps. So, I think that’s something that greatly helped me when I got to 7-on-7s this week and started working 3-on-3s, 2-on-2s where mentally I felt like I was already in it, now it’s just getting my body to catch back up.
Q: Was there a moment when you said, “Oh, I can do that!” Or a moment when your body said, “Not quite yet.”
KAEPERNICK: It was a balancing act. The first time being back on the field and getting live action, there is a little bit of that coordination that you have to regain. Somethings in my mind I was on time, but physically I was late. So there was a little bit of catching up there, but I thought Wednesday was a really good day as far as making a step and coordination and being on time with throws and things like that. So, I was excited about that.
Q: Do you feel like you can benefit from the coaching change and Chip Kelly comes in and it’s just a fresh start for everybody?
KAEPERNICK: Yeah. Chip has been phenomenal. Chip, Curtis, Ryan – they’ve all been phenomenal. Very focused on details and making sure that everybody is prepped for what we’re doing, we know what we’re doing when we step on the field so we can go out and play with a clear mind. Chip brings a lot of excitement with this offense and what he’s been able to do in the NFL. I think everybody on the team is excited to play for him.
Q: Blaine has been taking all of the first-team snaps for two-and-a-half months and he finished last season as the starter. What do you feel you’re going to have to do to reclaim your job?
KAEPERNICK: Compete. That’s all I know how to do. Every year that I’ve stepped on the field it’s a competition. Whether people like to say you’re the No. 1 or not, it’s always a competition. There’s always someone trying to be that starter, trying to make that step, and this year is no different. To me, I’m going to go out and compete and make sure I’m doing everything I can to go out and start
ME: You seem really happy and talkative. We don’t really see this side of you. Where is it coming from?
KAEPERNICK: From the soul.
Q: Is there less weight on your shoulders now though? Because you can only go up, right? Is that less pressure on you now?
KAEPERNICK: That depends on whose perception it is. I always put a lot of pressure on myself to do well. Those are things that I want to do. But at this point I’ve really had an opportunity to sit back, be with my family, be with my woman and really view what’s important and making sure that when I do step in the building I’m focused on football and that’s it.
Q: Just following up on his question, with everything that happened to you last year, the injuries, the trade talk, everything. Are you still the same person you were, or did that change you somehow?
KAEPERNICK: No, definitely not the same person. What I try to do is grow. And that’s not just on the football field, that’s in life. That’s in my relationships. That’s in everything. Being able to grow and have that growth is something that I strive to do, and I think that’s something that I took a big step in in this past year.
Q: How much muscle mass would you like to put back on?
KAEPERNICK: That really depends on how training goes and everything like that. There is a pretty substantial amount of weight that I want to put on this summer.
Q: You were wearing a visor today. That’s kind of a new thing for you. Can you tell us why?
KAEPERNICK: For me, it was something I need to protect my eyes. I’ve been doing a lot of things to make sure that my vision is correct and everything like that, so the visor has been there to help with that.
Q: Three weeks after you reported here, Trent Baalke said he still hadn’t had a conversation with you, which seemed odd given the fact that you had made a trade request. Have you since had a sit down with Trent, whether it was to clear the air or just have a conversation with him?
KAEPERNICK: No, haven’t had any discussions with him. But once again, don’t want to get into any specifics. I want to focus on football and making sure I’m prepared for this up and coming season.
Q: You had the shoulder injury in October. You played several games after that. How hurt were you last year? How difficult was it for you physically to play in those games?
KAEPERNICK: Yeah, it was something that at the time I didn’t realize how bad things were until I went and got a second opinion and really saw what had happened. But, at this point to being 100-percent healthy, close to where I can start training again and really looking forward to the progress I can make this summer and being ready for training camp.
Q: There were a lot of whispers about your rapport with the locker room and how your teammates view you. How do you feel that is, how are you with some of those veteran teammates and do you think you have their support? Do you think they have your back through this competition?
KAEPERNICK: Yeah. From my standpoint, I have a great relationship with my teammates. I really can’t answer that question for them how they view me. That’s a question better suited for them. But for me, I have a great relationship with them and we’re all working hard trying to make sure we’re prepared to win this season.
Q: Were there times last year when you went back to pass and you felt like injuries were preventing you from making throws?
KAEPERNICK: To be perfectly blunt with you, I didn’t play my best football last year. Injury, no injury, I wasn’t playing my best football. And that’s something that I’m excited about for this season is being able to redeem myself, go out there and play well and prove to everybody what I’m capable of.
Q: How would you characterize your relationship with the front office?
KAEPERNICK: Once again, that’s not something I want to get into. I’m here to talk about football. I’m excited to be here. I’m excited to play football. I’m excited for this competition this fall.
Q: How was it psychologically to be the rehab mode this offseason?
KAEPERNICK: It was tough. It was something where I wasn’t able to do a whole lot for a pretty substantial amount of time. That’s why this week I was so excited to be out there. Really felt like I got to be an athlete again and start moving around and being on the field. It was something that really helps your confidence and gets the wheels turning before summer.
Q: How much weight do you think you need to put on before training camp and how much did you lose?
KAEPERNICK: I don’t know exactly how much I need to put on, but I need to put on quite a bit. But that’s not something I’ve had a problem with in the past.
Q: Would you care to say specifically how low you got?
KAEPERNICK: I don’t know how low I got. Wasn’t where I want to be. But I have put on quite a bit of weight, and I will be prepare for training camp.
Q: You’ve been a workout warrior. As a quarterback, is it possible you worked out too hard and got too muscle-bound up top and too tight?
KAEPERNICK: Too tight? I do think that’s possible. Too much muscle for what I do and how I play? I don’t think so. I’ve been heavier in the past and played just as well and better. So I don’t think that’s really the issue. It’s making sure I do everything on the recovery end and making sure that I stay limber as well.
Q: You said you were too tight. What didn’t you do enough of?
KAEPERNICK: There were things as far as stretching, soft tissue, icing – all those recovery methods that help keep your muscles loose, flexible, all of those things so when you step on the field you’re ready to go.
Q: Have your injuries led to reassess your style of play and be more cautious?
KAEPERNICK: No. My style of play is my style of play, so I have to be able to continue with that and be able to do those things and do what this offense requires of me. It’s really just building a new foundation for what this season is going to be.
Q: Do you think you will have more or less opportunity to run in this offense than in the past?
KAEPERNICK: I think it will be more, but it really depends on what the offense is doing, what the game plan is and what the calls that are coming are. All of those things are dictated by what the coaches feel as far as game plan is going to be giving up.
Q: Can you explain why you had your surgeries after the season rather than earlier, and why you did them in Vail instead of with the team doctors here.
KAEPERNICK: I’m not going to get into specifics on my medical side. Those things are the past. I’m trying to stay focused moving forward. Trying to keep everything positive energy, positive vibes, and excited for this fall.
Q: How do you see your relationship with Blaine Gabbert unfolding this fall?
KAEPERNICK: To me, I don’t see it any different. It’s always a competition. We’re going to help each other. We’re going to do everything we can to make sure we’re prepared for games. But it is a competition and I’ll be prepared for that as well.