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San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick won't be cleared to practice for the team's first mandatory minicamp this week, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Rapoport states that the hope is that Kaepernick would be cleared closer to the team's training camp in July.
The #49ers have minicamp this week, but QB Colin Kaepernick won't be cleared to participate, per source. The hope is closer to training camp— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 6, 2016
On Thursday, during the 49ers' final practice of OTAs, Kaepernick was seen throwing on the practice field for the first time. However, he cannot participate in drills until he is cleared by the medical staff. Before Thursday, Kaepernick had only been witnessed throwing with the training staff on the side of the practice field. While on the field, he has only been mimicking the quarterbacks' in an effort to better prepare himself.
Seeing Kaepernick throw on Thursday led to some speculation that the quarterback might be cleared to practice this week.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee states that, according to a source, there are two reasons that the 49ers did not clear Kaepernick for this week's minicamp. The team wants the quarterback to continue to work with the 49ers' strength and conditioning staff to get back into his pre-injury shape. Kaepernick had appeared to lose a significant amount of weight and strength following his 2015 injury and the surgeries that followed.
The second reason is that, should Kaepernick suffer a career-ending injury, his 2017 base salary of $14.5 million and a portion of his 2018 salary would be guaranteed. That is likely a risk that is not worth taking for in exchange for participation in a three day minicamp.
Kaepernick has been rehabbing from multiple surgeries. Kaepernick tore a ligament in his throwing hand's thumb during an October 22 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. During his next game, a November 1 matchup against the St. Louis Rams, Kaepernick said that he suffered a bone bruise and cracked cartilage. That game would be his last of the season before being benched in favor of QB Blaine Gabbert and eventually placed on injured reserve.
Until Kaepernick can participate in practices, Gabbert will continue to get the majority of the offensive snaps. Head coach Chip Kelly and offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins have expressed a good deal of confidence in Gabbert, crediting his athletic ability.
Kaepernick has been impressing coaches as well with his work in the classroom as the team installs its new offense. "We as coaches, our jobs are to coach who's out there on the field practicing. Whenever they say Colin's healthy, I'm sure he'll be there. He's around us, he's in the meetings, he's doing a great job. It's not up to me when he's released, so we'll see," said Modkins this week.