Colin Kaepernick has ignited a firestorm of criticism this season. On Sunday, a regular old storm did him in.
The national anthem-kneeling face of athlete protest was historically abysmal at a snowy Soldier Field, throwing for just four yards in the snow before he was lifted in the fourth quarter, in a humiliation that couldn’t have come at a worse time.
Prior to the 26-6 beatdown by the Bears, NFL Network reported Kaepernick would opt out of his contract at year’s end, making him a free-agent quarterback in a league desperate for any sniff of quarterback talent.
Kaepernick didn’t have that whiff Sunday. Amid swirling winds and an environment more fit for shovels than shovel passes, San Francisco coach Chip Kelly opted for a game plan more extremist than conservative. In Kaepernick’s three quarters, he attempted five passes (completing one) and ran six times for 20 yards. In that span, 49ers running backs were given 27 rushing attempts.
Kaepernick brings obvious baggage, seen by patriotic fans booing him wherever he goes. The question has become whether he brings a talent worthy of being a starting quarterback. He was relieved by the unimpressive Blaine Gabbert (who also had beat him out at the season’s start), and now may not even be the starting quarterback for a horrid 1-11 49ers team. Kelly wouldn’t commit to either quarterback after the game.
“That’s not my decision,” Kaepernick told reporters. “My feelings on it really don’t matter at this point. I’m just going to do everything I can to make sure I’m prepared.”
Prepared for this season or next season? Though NFL Network reported his opt-out would not preclude him from a 49ers reunion, it seems as if the one-time face of their franchise will be moving on. And according to the Mercury News, he may have an idea of where his next step will be. Kaepernick is selling his San Jose, Calif., home and has purchased a Manhattan condo.
The Jets could be in search of a new starting quarterback next season after Ryan Fitzpatrick proved to be a one-year wonder, and the team has been unwilling to trust young backups Bryce Petty or Christian Hackenberg.