Colin Kaepernick can shed the title of backup quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers.
The multi-talented second-year player assumed the starting role for the 49ers after Alex Smith went down with a concussion, and led the team to a resounding victory over the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. Now, head coach Jim Harbuagh is rewarding Colin Kaepernick by having him practice with the first team ahead of Sunday’s matchup with the New Orleans Saints.
Kaepernick’s promotion to the first team was confirmed to ESPN by Alex Smith, who had missed time with a concussion. In practice Kaepernick had taken all the first-team reps for the 49ers.
As ESPN noted, the move in practice would seem to indicate that Colin Kaepernick is getting the start on Sunday. Players who practice with the first-team during the week will generally be starting in that week’s game.
Colin Kaepernick’s apparent status as starter doesn’t mean he will be the only quarterback to take the field. Harbaugh noted that he wants to find a way to use both of his quarterbacks, changing within the game or even within an individual drive.
For his part, Smith said he plans to fight for the job once he returns to full health. As of Wednesday he had yet to be medically cleared to play after missing last week’s game with a concussion. But both quarterbacks have stressed that there is no controversy, and each remain supportive of the other.
“If you can’t be happy for your teammate’s success you’re playing the wrong sport. Go play tennis or golf or something,” Smith said Wednesday. “That’s ridiculous, I think. That doesn’t belong in team sports, in my opinion. It’s the quarterback position. It gets a lot of attention. We’re going to get talked about.”
Colin Kaepernick has also remained civil, though he’s made it clear he wants the starting job, writing in October on Twitter: “Bout to get this workout in because yall ain’t goin keep me on this sideline forever!”