San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly met with the media today and with Blaine Gabbert struggling to get the team's offense going, there is a lot of focus on Colin Kaepernick and whether or not the team would put him in as the starter to try to jump start the offense. Kelly had stated that he is not the starter because he is not 100-percent. However, he is healthy enough to be the team's backup.
The comments have caused some confusion within the media because if he is healthy enough to step in on the second play of game because of an injury to Gabbert, why is he not healthy enough to step in on the first play? Kelly tried to clarify the situation to the media.
"We are where we are and that's where he is," Kelly said while discussing the backup quarterback. "And he's the first one to tell you that he's not where he was in 2013 when he was 225 pounds and that's the only point that I'm trying to make up. It's not an indication on Colin. It's not a knock on Colin. I think what people don't realize is that he can't be at 225 because he had three surgeries. So he really couldn't lift. Sometimes when you have an upper body injury, you can still lift with your legs or if you have a lower body injury, you can still lift with your upper body. He had an upper body injury and a lower body injury, so therefore he wasn't allowed to do from a rehab standpoint, because of the injuries, where he was. What his state is now is not his fault. It's because he was injured.
"Has he been cleared to play medically? Yeah, he can go play in a game right now. But is he the same Colin Kaepernick that he was in 2013? I think he said yesterday that he's not that right now. That's the only point I'm making. It's got no indication of first team, second team, how could he be cleared to play this? He was cleared to play when he got back. He's played in games for us. But he's not the same guy right now that he was in 2013. That's the only point I'm trying to make."
Kelly was asked what Kaepernick's chances were to be a starter. "He has a chance every single day," Kelly answered. "Everybody has a chance every single day. But if you ask me where he is, he's not where he was in 2013. That's the only thing I'm pointing out. So he's not 100-percent back from a recovery standpoint. He's a 100-percent healed from those injuries, so that allows him to play in the game, but is he the same player that he was when he was running 4.5 and throwing the ball all over the place? He's not that guy right now because he's not where he was physically. You can just look at him physically. He's not the same guy right now. That doesn't mean that he can't be the same guy and he's working as hard as anybody I've ever been around to get back to be that right now."
Kelly was then asked if you have to be 225 pounds to play quarterback for him. "That's not what I said either," Kelly answered. "I'm just telling you where he is right now. So if you want to know what his state is right now, that's his state right now. But there's no weight limit that I put on him that he has to be this to play this."
Kelly clarified that there is good communication between the coaching staff and the players regarding health. "We talk to him and I think he knows he's not where he's been in the past," Kelly said. "I mean, I think he said that the other day. He's not where he's been in the past."