The Chargers are giving Robert Griffin III a look this week. Some might wonder when a team will extend Colin Kaepernick, a player with an arguably more well-rounded skill set who was relatively healthy in 2016, the same opportunity.
It calls to mind an interesting comment made late last week by one of Kaepernick’s teammates from last season, wideout Jeremy Kerley. Kerley said on NFL Total Access on Friday that Kaepernick would be a valuable addition to any roster.
“You’re going to get a ball player, man,” Kerley said. “Colin is a friend of mine, so I have the utmost respect for him. I love talking about him because he’s a guy who loves what he’s doing. He loves the game of football. If a team gets him, they will definitely have a guy who has been there before, he’s been to a Super Bowl before. I think he knows how to get back, and that’s what a team should expect.”
Kerley dismissed the notion that Kaepernick’s national anthem protest and subsequent campaign for social justice caused a distraction inside the 49ers‘ locker room — a theory backed up by the fact that Kaepernick won the team’s Len Eshmont award following the conclusion of the 2016 season.
“He wasn’t a distraction at all,” Kerley said. “He was a distraction to the people who had different expectations of him. We only expected him to come in and do his job and that was it. And that’s all he did. He didn’t bring a lot of controversy to the locker room. He didn’t bring a lot of noise in there. He just did his job.”
Kerley had by far his most targets in a season last year alongside Kaepernick (115) and also set a career high in receptions (64). While the ultimate product was a miserable 2-14 season which resulted in the firing of head coach Chip Kelly, that didn’t all seem to fall on the shoulders of the quarterback. Basic quarterback stats can be misleading, but Kaepernick came out of 2016 with 11 starts, a 16-4 TD to INT ratio, a completion percentage near 60 and the second-most rushing yards on the team (468). For the most part, that’s more than Griffin can say for last year.