Former 49ers head coach Chip Kelly was front and center last season with the controversy that surrounded quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the 2016 season.
Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem as a stance against racial injustice in the United States. The former 49ers quarterback first sat while the anthem played in a preseason game and then decided to kneel throughout the regular season.
“There was zero distraction," Kelly said to the Monday Morning Quarterback. "He met with the team immediately after [his first protest]. He met with the other team leaders. He explained his position and where he was coming from."
After Kaepernick met with his teammates, Kelly saw one focus in his signal caller -- football only.
"Literally, that was it. Colin was focused on football. He was all about the team and trying to help us win," Kelly said.
Kaepernick is currently a free agent after opting out of his contract this offseason. Kelly believes Kaepernick is still plenty capable of leading an NFL team.
"Do I think he is one of the top 64 quarterbacks in the world? There is no question. Does he have the ability to play quarterback on a winning team in the NFL? There is no question," Kelly said.
In 2016, Kaepernick played in 12 games for Kelly, starting 11 of them under center. He threw for 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. On the ground, Kaepernick added 468 yards rushing and two more scores.
The person who replaces the next 49ers head coach could reportedly be the previous 49ers head coach.
Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn, who reportedly told his staff last week that Kyle Shanahan would take the 49ers job, has been compiling a list of offensive coordinator candidates.
On that list to interview is former 49ers coach Chip Kelly, reported Jay Glazer of Fox Sports. Kelly interviewed with Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Marrone for the team's offensive coordinator position last week. Marrone hired Nathaniel Hackett.
The 49ers are not allowed to hire Shanahan until the Falcons’ season is over. A source told CSNBayArea.com that the 49ers' interview scheduled depends on the outcome of the Falcons' NFC Championship game on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. The 49ers plan to interview Shanahan for a second time Monday and Tuesday if the Falcons lose on Sunday. If the Falcons win and advance to the Super Bowl, the Falcons will make Shanahan available for an interview on Friday.
The 49ers announced the firings of Kelly and general manager Trent Baalke just hours after the team concluded its 2-14 season.
It appears the Jaguars have passed on Chip Kelly for a second time this month.
After reportedly not getting their head coaching job, Kelly reportedly interviewed for their offensive coordinator position on Monday.
But two days later, Jacksonville announced that Nathaniel Hackett has been retained as offensive coordinator under head coach Doug Marrone.
Kelly told CSNBayArea.com recently he would take his time to determine his next career move.
“I’m not going to close the door on any opportunity, but I have to be very smart in what I do next,” Kelly said two days after his firing. “I don’t have to take anything, but I wouldn’t rule anything out. I need to make sure that I’m in the right situation.
“I don’t know what the future holds. I’ll do my due diligence. I’m not going to coach just to coach.”
The 49ers fired Kelly with three years, $18 million remaining in his contract. The 49ers hired Kelly just two weeks after the Philadelphia Eagles fired him. Kelly went 26-21 with the Eagles after leaving his successful program with the Oregon Ducks after the 2012 season.