DALLAS — Without question, I am a diehard San Francisco 49ers fan, have been for the past three-plus decades.
And for someone who has actually interviewed and had one-on-one conversations with 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, I think he’s a tremendously compassionate and talented guy.
Heck, the guy, all while displaying his signature grin, even asked if he could have the Niners cufflinks I wore in the visitors’ locker room following San Francisco’s game at the Tennessee Titans in September 2014.
Regardless, in the wake of this seemingly ongoing controversy surrounding the veteran All-Pro quarterback, this is my forthright take on what obviously has become a public relations fiasco for a team that’s expected to be one of the NFL’s worst in 2016.
All things considered, it would be in Kaepernick’s best interest to win early and often this upcoming season, especially if he’s named the starting signal caller for a struggling 49ers team that hasn’t sniffed the postseason in two consecutive seasons.
Anything short of a drastic improvement from the previous two seasons, anything short of why Kaepernick had emerged as the NFL’s most feared dual-threat quarterback under ex-Niners coach Jim Harbaugh’s regime, anything short of a playoff berth or even a near-playoff-clinch would undoubtedly give way to more backlash for an overpaid, underachieving quarterback who, quite frankly, still hasn’t learned the basic fundamentals of reading defenses and, unfortunately, has so much to atone for on the field to even be mentioned in the same breath as, say, fellow NFC West quarterback and Super Bowl champion Russell Wilson.
In essence, while I do not, in any shape or form, oppose to Kaepernick’s sideline national anthem protest that consequently has generated excessive headlines, I do, nonetheless, sense his blatant, dauntless actions will undoubtedly give way to his performance under center being monitored even more closely in 2016, especially by new head coach Chip Kelly and team officials.
Which, of course, in Kaepernick’s case, he had better accomplish at least one of the following feats:
Either he had better engineer the Niners to a somewhat respectable record this upcoming season, either he had better become the ringleader in helping the Niners silence critics and prognosticators by clinching an unlikely playoff berth, or he will surely become the most ridiculed quarterback in the league opposite Robert Griffin III.
For all the right reasons, too.
So for your sake, Kap, here’s hoping you go out and win games early and often this season for a team that hasn’t done much of that in recent years.
Here’s hoping you go out and win games so that you can finally prove that you are worth every penny of the six-year, $126 million extension you signed two summers ago.
And for your sake, here’s hoping you go out and win games so that you can return to kissing your biceps, thus demonstrating you have a leg to stand on.
Figuratively, of course.
Andre T. Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport.com. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson covers the NBA and NFL. To reach him, send email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.