As Griffin goes to Browns, Kelly calls Gabbert 'intriguing'

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As Griffin goes to Browns, Kelly calls Gabbert 'intriguing'

BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Colin Kaepernick’s status has ranked near the top of the list of NFL storylines this offseason.

But while there is still no certainty where Kaepernick will play this season, there is no question Blaine Gabbert will be involved in the 49ers’ quarterback competition that will play out before the opening of the regular season.

Coach Chip Kelly, who has been asked often about Kaepernick, shared his thoughts about Gabbert on Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings while fielding a question from CSNBayArea.com in Boca Raton, Florida.

“(I’m) impressed with Blaine,” said Kelly, who met with Gabbert once in person and talked to him multiple times over the phone since taking the job. “You watch him the last couple of games he started. He’s another guy, you look at his skill set. He took off against the Bears and went (44) yards for a touchdown. He ran 4.61 in the combine when he was coming out.

“He’s big. I’d never really dealt with Blaine because he came into the league before I came into the league, but just how big and physical and impressive he is. He’s a 6-4, 245-pound guy that can really run. I thought the last part of the season he played really well. It’ll be intriguing to work with him, too.”

[MAIOCCO: Kelly trusts 49ers' front office; time with Eagles 'weird situation']

If Kaepernick remains with the team this offseason, there will be a competition involving at least those two players.

“I think there’s competition everywhere,” Kelly said. “We haven’t seen anybody in terms of our staff working with them. Day 1 it’s a blank slate for the entire group. Let’s get out there and run around and see where it is.”

The 49ers do not appear to be interested in adding another quarterback at this time. General manager Trent Baalke said the organization has no contact with former Washington quarterback Robert Griffin, who signed with the Browns Thursday morning. 

“Right now, we’re focused on some other things,” Baalke said. “Will there come a time when we sit down? That certainly could happen, but it hasn’t happened to this point.”

When asked why the 49ers had not touched base with Griffin, Kelly said, “I think we probably need to figure out what’s going on with Kap before we make any decisions. That’s really where we are from a quarterback standpoint. But I’d like to be able to work with Kap and Blaine when we get going in April.”

Gabbert and Kaepernick started eight games apiece last season. Gabbert completed 63.1 percent of his passes for 2,031 yards in 282 attempts with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions for an 86.2 passer rating. Kaepernick completed 59 percent of his 244 attempts for 1,615 yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions for a passer rating of 78.5.

Kelly blamed Kaepernick’s slip in play last season on injuries that required surgeries to his left shoulder, right thumb and left knee.

“I think the biggest misconception that people don’t realize with Kap is just injuries,” Kelly said. “It’s not like his skillset diminished. He went on injured reserve last year, so he was only available for eight games. He was legitimately injured.”

Report: Free-agent Kaepernick to meet with Seahawks

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Report: Free-agent Kaepernick to meet with Seahawks

Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick reportedly flew to Seattle on Tuesday night and will meet with Seahawks officials on Wednesday.

Kaepernick and at least one other quarterback, whose identity was not reported, will visit with the Seahawks, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. It will be Kaepernick’s first visit to meet with a team since opting out of his 49ers contract in March to become an unrestricted free agent.

Kaepernick, 29, has likely not been signed for a variety of reasons, including his decision to kneel during the national anthem last season to protest racial inequality in America. His representatives have said Kaepernick will stand for the national anthem this season, as he continues to donate his time and money on programs to assist disadvantaged individuals.

The 49ers have shown no interest in re-signing Kaepernick, opting to add veteran quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley.

Kaepernick, a second-round pick of the 49ers in 2011, played six seasons with the club. Beginning in the middle of the 2012 season, when then-starter Alex Smith originally left the lineup due to a concussion, Kaepernick started 58 games. The 49ers were 28-30 in games in which he started.

In the playoffs, the 49ers posted a 4-2 record with Kaepernick at quarterback, including a trip to Super Bowl XLVII in February 2014.

Kaepernick is coming off his best season since 2013, his first full year as a starter. He completed 59.2 percent of his passes with 16 touchdowns, four interceptions and a passer rating of 90.7. He also rushed for 468 yards.

The Seahawks have three quarterbacks under contract. Russell Wilson is the starter and second-year player Trevone Boykin served as the backup last season. Jake Heaps, whom the Seahawks cut before the start of the 2016 regular season and spent less than a month on the practice squad, was re-signed in May.

Bowman guarantees he will not be odd-man out of 49ers' competition

Bowman guarantees he will not be odd-man out of 49ers' competition

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers’ biggest free-agent acquisition on defense and one of the team’s first-round draft picks play the same position.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said he is holding off on thinking about how everything is going to play out this season at the linebacker position.

“I really try not to envision it too hard because I see a lot of good players there,” Shanahan said Tuesday during the 49ers’ first week of organized team activities.

The 49ers awarded weakside linebacker Malcolm Smith guaranteed money as an unrestricted free agent totaling approximately $12 million. Then, on the first day of the draft, the 49ers’ No. 3 rated prospect experienced a free fall, and the club traded into the back end of the first round to select him.

While Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster has been sidelined through the offseason program as he recovers from shoulder injury, he figures to compete with Smith for the starting job. Foster will also learn middle linebacker, where NaVorro Bowman has earned first-team All-Pro honors in four seasons.

Bowman looks to be nearly all the way back from a torn Achilles that limited him to just four games last season.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen,” Shanahan said. “Seeing Bow out here and how healthy he’s been, knowing we’ve added some good free agents, and the way the draft worked out, having a linebacker we had ranked very highly fall to us at the end of the first round. We got a lot better pretty fast.

“When you ask me how it’s going to play out, I’m not sure. It’s a good problem to have. It’s something you’d like to have any every position. There’s going to be a very good player who’s not out there all the time. That’s not a bad thing. That makes the two guys who are out there go a lot harder and play better. It makes special teams better and it allowed you to survive injuries, which almost always happen.”

Bowman’s vision for the upcoming season includes him retaining his role in the middle of the 49ers’ defense.

"I won't be on the sideline, I'll tell you that right now,” Bowman said.

Bowman said he was not fazed with the 49ers selected Foster in the first round. Foster is likely considered the heir apparent to Bowman.

Shanahan called Bowman after the selection of Foster was made, but Bowman said he did not need to speak with the coach about why the selection was made.

“I wasn’t expecting it,” Bowman said of the phone call, “but it was good to hear from him, to see that he had something to say or an idea of what he wanted to get across to me.

“But we haven’t talked about it. I did that on purpose. It doesn’t matter to me. I’ll compete with anyone, whether he’s 21 or 35. It doesn’t matter. I’m a guy who’s going to give my best effort and have full confidence in my abilities to play this game. I know how much I study this game. I know how good I am and that’s what was going to bring back here.

“It’s always a competition. There’s always someone trying to take your spot. As a player, if you keep that in mind, you’ll always put the work in that’s needed.”