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Rookie Reflections: Colin Kaepernick

Posted Apr 25, 2012

The 49ers couldn’t wait to draft Colin Kaepernick, so general manager Trent Baalke traded up to select the a talented dual-threat quarterback out of Nevada. Once he got the phone call from Baalke, Kaepernick couldn’t wait to be a part of the team so he jumped in his car and headed west to the 49ers facility. In the year since, Kaepernick has learned immensely from his coaches and veterans like Alex Smith. Here’s Kaepernick’s reflection on his 2011 rookie campaign.

I was just at the house with the family. We didn’t have a big party or anything, we were just hanging out, having a good time and waiting to hear my name called. Trent Baalke called me up first and then I had a chance to talk to Coach Harbaugh, it was one of the most exciting moments of my life. That night I just hopped in car and drove out here from Turlock, Calif. From the time my name got called to actually getting here was probably, like, two hours.

Once I started working out with guys in the summer, that’s when I really started to feel, like, “Alright, I’m actually part of this team; I’m actually in the NFL now.” Up until that point, you know part of the team, but you don’t get that feeling until you actually start working out and doing stuff with the team.

It was tough because with the lockout and everything; everything’s thrown at you so quick that you’re just trying to keep your head above water for a little bit. Then you can start to get your feet sunk in and start trying to perform from there. But for the first week or so, you’re just swimming. There were so many checks and audibles – even just the base playbook was so detailed that it takes you a while to get used to hearing it. 

My favorite game personally was against Tampa Bay. I got to go in there and play and led my first scoring drive, that was exciting. You feel like you’re at home. When you’re on the field and you’re finally playing, you just feel like everything is right. To get that opportunity, it just felt good.

Alex Smith has been the main one that’s helped me through a lot of things. I talk to Delanie Walker quite a bit, too. He’s an easy guy to talk to, real laid-back, and he’ll teach you everything he knows to try to help you out.


During the season, you spend so much time with all of the coaches that you’re just trying to grab everything you can from all of them. Our quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst really helped me through last season, just talking through things. He’s real easy to talk to and he’s going to let you know everything straight up front about what’s going on. He made it easy to kind of go out there and make sure I knew what I was doing, whether it was a play, a concept, whatever it may be. 


Study. Just study. Once you know the playbook and you get comfortable with it, you can get back to just going out there and playing. When you aren’t comfortable with it, it’s hard to go out there and play because you’re thinking too much. You just want to be out there playing and reacting.

I’m always a big fan of high intensity players – people that can come in and like to work. Someone when the lights come on and they step on that game field – everything they have is going to be laid out there and everyone knows it.

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