Colin Kaepernick spoke at his locker Friday afternoon for the first time since getting benched. Here’s a transcript.
Q: What was the conversation like on Monday when you found out your coach had made a decision (to bench you)?
KAEPERNICK: They told me they were going to sit me, and that was about the extent of the conversation.
Q: Did you ask why, or were there any reasons given?
KAEPERNICK: That decision is out of my control and I left it at that. I respect their authority.
Q: Jim Tomsula said on Wednesday he’s benching you to give you an opportunity to breath, take a step back and refocus. Do you think you need that opportunity?
KAEPERNICK: I’m not out of breath, so I don’t understand that reference.
Q: I think he meant mentally, just giving you a break from all the pressure that has been building this year. Do you feel that was building inside of you, too?
KAEPERNICK: No, I don’t believe in pressure. Pressure is not being prepared for what you want to do. To me, I’ve played full seasons. I’ve played full seasons and been successful. It’s something that mentally I’ve been through before. I’m not incapable of going through things.
Q: Is it hard for you to go out there knowing you’re not the starter?
KAEPERNICK: No. To me, that’s selfish, to put that on myself and take away from my teammates and take away from Blaine. I’ll support my teammates and I’ll support Blaine in everything they do because they’ve been good to me.
Q: A year and a half ago, you had a press conference where you talked about signing a team-friendly deal to try to get some of your other teammates signed. Do you feel like the team reciprocated, held up their end of the bargain?
KAEPERNICK: That’s not something for me to say. I just try to do my part to try to help this organization, help this team and do everything I can to try to help us be successful.
Q: Geep Chryst was saying yesterday that he simply doesn’t think you have the same support around you that you did in 2012. What’s your take on that? Do you feel like this is as good of a team as the Super Bowl squad?
KAEPERNICK: We have a very different team than we did then. We had a lot of veterans, a lot of very experienced players who had been through a lot of different things and had been through a lot of struggles. So, when they stepped on the field, it was with a passion that they didn’t want to go back to where they were at before. And that’s something that we haven’t faced those struggles as a team until now. We have a lot of young players.
Q: You’re the first person that has gotten benched of poor performance. Do you feel like you’re being scapegoated?
KAEPERNICK: I don’t pass judgment on that. I do everything I can to try to help this team win, try to support my teammates and try to go out and help us get a “W” on Sunday.
Q: When you look back at the last few games, were instances where you thought you could have played better?
KAEPERNICK: Yeah, there’s always times you think you can play better. Even in wins, there are things you can do better. I haven’t seen a quarterback play a perfect game yet. I’m very critical of myself. I’m very critical of what I feel I can do to try to help this team.
Q: In the backup role, are you spending more time watching film of yourself or preparing for the Falcons?
KAEPERNICK: No, I’m still game planning for Atlanta. I’m still mentally focused and locked in.
Q: Geep said quite directly yesterday, he thought when you came in in 2012 you had the mentality of, “OK, I’m the new guy – I’m going to go make some plays.” Whereas he thought this year you were trying to avoid mistakes. Would you agree with his assessment?
KAEPERNICK: No, I don’t believe that’s accurate. Every time I step on the field, I step on the field to make plays. So, that’s just a matter of opinion.