Alex Smith calls ex-49er Colin Kaepernick not having NFL job 'absurd'


Alex Smith calls ex-49er Colin Kaepernick not having NFL job 'absurd'

Alex Smith had a front-row seat to Colin Kaepernick’s rapid rise, losing his job as the 49ers’ starting quarterback as Kaepernick seized the reins during the 2012 season.

Two Kaepernick starts while Smith recovered from a concussion turned into seven in the regular season, and then three more in the playoffs as the 49ers finished the season arguably a Frank Gore hand-off away from winning Super Bowl XLVII. The world was Kaepernick’s oyster, with the dual-threat QB on what Smith termed an “absurd” trajectory after his first extended NFL playing time.

Just as absurd, in Smith’s eyes? No NFL team signed Kaepernick four years after that run.

“It was hard to kind of see that trajectory because he was playing so good, and doing things nobody had done,” Smith told ESPN Radio’s “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” on Friday. “I think he still holds the single-game rushing record for a quarterback. It was crazy.

“So with that said, it was so absurd -- I think equally -- that it was only a few years later when you’re like, ‘This guy doesn't have a job.’ That was hard to imagine. It still is, a guy with his ability and his trajectory that all of a sudden isn't playing.”

Kaepernick threw for 2,406 yards, 14 touchdowns and five interceptions in 10 starts during the 2012 regular season and playoffs, completing 62.5 percent of his passes while also rushing for 502 yards in that span. The 49ers traded Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs the following offseason, and then-ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski infamously opined that Kaepernick could be one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.

The 49ers made it to another NFC Championship Game in Kaepernick’s first full season as the starter, with the then-Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman deflecting Kaepernick’s pass into the arms of linebacker Malcolm Smith. San Francisco wouldn’t make the playoffs during the QB’s final three seasons with the team, firing a different head coach after each.

Kaepernick didn’t enter the 2016 season as the starting QB as he worked his way back from an injury to his left shoulder. The spotlight still shined on him, as Kaepernick first sat, then kneeled during the playing of the national anthem before games to protest police brutality against African Americans and systemic racism in the United States.

The 2016 49ers were a far cry from their contending predecessors, yet Kaepernick finished the season 17th in passer rating (90.7) -- and just behind Smith -- among qualifying quarterbacks. Every single QB behind him started at least three games in 2017, while Kaepernick wasn’t on a roster.

Kaepernick asked for his release from the 49ers heading into the 2017 offseason, after incoming coach Kyle Shanahan deemed the QB wasn’t a fit for his offensive system. He remains unsigned, and Kaepernick settled a collusion lawsuit with the NFL last year.

“My desire to play football is still there,” Kaepernick told USA Today’s Jarrett Bell in February, after announcing he was writing a memoir. “I still train five days a week. I’m ready to go, I’m ready for a phone call, tryout, workout at any point in time. I’m still waiting on the owners and their partners to stop running from this situation. So I hope I get a call this offseason. I’ll be looking forward to it.”

[REALTED: Ryan's second season with Shanahan bodes well for Jimmy G]

Smith spoke to Le Batard and Stugotz “from a pure football standpoint,” calling Kaepernick “really, really competitive” and “a great teammate” during their two seasons together.

It has been over seven years since that Super Bowl run, and more than four since Kaepernick last took an NFL snap. Considering how he began his NFL career, both those facts are, as Smith put it, “hard to imagine.”

Seahawks claim D.J. Reed day after 49ers waived injured defensive back

Seahawks claim D.J. Reed day after 49ers waived injured defensive back

The 49ers took a gamble Tuesday when the club placed defensive back D.J. Reed on waivers.

One day later, the Seattle Seahawks pounced.

The Seahawks claimed Reed off waivers. He goes on the active/non-football injury list due to a torn pectoral sustained during an offseason workout.

General manager John Lynch said this week the decision was made to effectively end Reed’s season with the 49ers because the club anticipated his return no earlier than November. Lynch said the team did not want to devote a roster spot to a player who might not be available to play until December.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

While Reed currently counts against the Seahawks’ roster, he will open the season on reserve/non-football injury. He will be ineligible for the first six weeks of the season, but could return to contribute later in the season.

Reed, a Bakersfield native who attended college at Kansas, was a fifth-round draft pick of the 49ers in 2018.

He appeared in 31 regular-season games and all three postseason games during his time with the club. He started two games as a rookie and is capable of playing cornerback, nickel back and safety.

[RELATEDMostert explains tough decision to play 2020 NFL season]

After registering 41 tackles and a sack as a rookie, Reed saw limited action last season with 13 tackles. He was one of the team's core special-teams players. Reed scored a touchdown on a 5-yard fumble return on kickoff coverage after a botched lateral on the final play of the 49ers’ 36-26 victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 17.

Reed becomes the fourth former 49ers player on the Seahawks, joining running back Carlos Hyde, guard Mike Iupati and fullback Nick Bellore.

49ers' Raheem Mostert explains tough decision to play 2020 NFL season

49ers' Raheem Mostert explains tough decision to play 2020 NFL season

Raheem Mostert has a secure role on the 49ers.

And he had an adjusted contract to account for the possibility -- if not likelihood -- that he again will be the team’s leading rusher.

Yet, it was not a simple decision for Mostert and his wife, Devon, to go ahead and report to training camp in Santa Clara.

“I’m not going to be opting out, but it was a long, very long, and tough discussion with my wife,” Mostert said Wednesday on a video call with Bay Area media.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

There have been 54 players around the league who officially have opted out this season over concerns about the spread of COVID-19. Wide receiver Travis Benjamin on Tuesday night became the first player on the 49ers to announce his decision to opt out

Mostert was among the first athletes to take the threat of the coronavirus seriously. He announced on March 4 he was canceling an appearance out of an autograph show in Santa Clara.

Devon and the couple’s 13-month-old son Gunnar remain in Cleveland. The couple is expecting their second child in late-September.

But Mostert finally has built his career to the point where he will be able to provide for his family. It would have been difficult to pass up a season at a time when Mostert is in his prime.

“She understands the importance of me being out here, being able to provide for the family and all those good things,” Mostert said. “We had more positive talks than negative.

“We’ve been able to communicate on a day-to-day basis, just understanding each other’s feelings and make sure she’s at ease, especially during her time with this with the uncertainty of COVID, as well as having the (upcoming) birth of our second boy.”

[RELATED: 49ers need Taylor now more than ever with Benjamin out]

Mostert said he is not certain if he will return to Cleveland to be with his wife early in the football season for the birth of their second child. He and Devon will continue to weigh the pros and cons. But Mostert said coach Kyle Shanahan pledged his full support of whatever the Mosterts decide.

“He told me, ‘Hey, man, we’re always here; whatever you need, we’re going to provide that for you; and we’re going to make sure everything is in your corner,' " Moster said of Shanahan.