Teammates react to Kaepernick GQ appearance
Add gracing the cover of GQ Magazine to Colin Kaepernick's offseason exploits. (BEN WATTS/GQ)
It's been a wild and busy offseason for Colin Kaepernick. One day in early June -- just before the 49ers quarterback threw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Giants game -- Kaepernick spent his time in Santa Clara giving GQ Magazine its cover story.
After the pictures went public this week, multiple teammates indicated there would be words exchanged in jest over Kaepernick's fashionable outfits. GQ provided the entire wardrobe -- specific to tall, long-legged individuals -- giving the quarterback the final say on which articles the Adonis would don for the cameras. So don't expect Kaepernick to be bothered by flak for his yellow-cardigan-and-football-pants look. He wanted to do it. He wasn't even compensated for his full day of work, which included hours of interviewing with writer Andrew Corsello followed by hours being photographed by Ben Watts.
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"He was really psyched," Corsello told CSNBayArea.com. "There are smart guys, and there are thoughtful guys. And he's both."
The article focuses on how Kaepernick is misunderstood. Seen strictly for his freakish athleticism, people don't realize how studious he has been in his approach to football. With critics claiming his offseason exploits were too many and too distracting, his stories of developing as a disciplined pocket passer and spending too much time studying provide stark contrast.
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Kaepernick opened up in the GQ interview, detailing anecdotes from his upbringing that appeared a direct response to those naysayers. Message sent.
"There's no doubt about that," Corsello said.
The character depicted is a departure from the tight-lipped Kaepernick that meets the media every week in Santa Clara.
"I found that wasn't the case at all," Corsello said. "There's a huge difference between a press conference situation and a one-on-one. I think he's a really shy guy. And he's very uncomfortable with fame and celebrity. He knew it was coming, but part of him just doesn't get it."
It explains why Kaepernick displayed no remorse for wearing a Dolphins hat or posing with Dodgers star Yasiel Puig. While there's nothing implicitly wrong with those actions, they are questionable for an NFL quarterback who makes his living in the Bay Area. While he's taken a cue from Harbaugh in his press conferences, Kaepernick is learning that his actions speak just as loud … and people are watching intently.
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"He's getting used to (the fame)," Corsello said. "I think he's starting to be a little less shy and to embrace some of the fun to be had by being who he is."
Kaepernick is still hesitant to so much as enter the city of San Francisco, though, for fear of being hounded by fans. While his jersey can be seen everywhere -- it was the best-selling NFL jersey from April 1 to June 30 -- Kaepernick isn't much for getting out on the town himself.
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"He's kind of locked himself down a little bit," Corsello said. "He doesn't even come to San Francisco. He can't go out in public and just be anymore, acknowledging 'I haven't gotten used to it, yet.'"
One thing he is used to, though, is preparing for football. And with the 49ers preseason schedule already underway, you can bet Kaepernick's offseason exploits are far from forefront.
"It's a boon to be on the cover of GQ," Corsello said. "We always had (Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III) in mind," Corsello said of the new edition of the magazine, which hits newsstands nationwide on Aug. 20. "We just thought they would capture the imagination of our readers. They are really dynamic individuals."
Between endorsement deals with MusclePharm and Jaguar, presenting at the American Country Music Awards, throwing out the first pitch at the Giants game, appearing naked on a magazine cover, starring in Yahoo! commercials, donning Dolphins hats and posing with Dodgers star Yasiel Puig at the Playboy Mansion, fans are getting a look this offseason at just how dynamic Colin Kaepernick can be.
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The supposedly shy quarterback came out of his shell after his trip to Super Bowl XLVII made him a household name. Maybe a few more offseasons in the limelight will give the 25-year-old phenom the experience to handle a trip to the city in which he is fast becoming king.