Colin Kaepernick just lost his starting quarterback position with the San Francisco 49ers. Given his current status in the NFL following his politically-charged protests, he could get forced into an early retirement from professional football.
Last week, coach Chip Kelly confirmed that Blaine Gabbert will be the 49ers' starting quarterback for the 2016 NFL season. He will open the team's year with the game against the Los Angeles Rams. Backing him up is Kaepernick at the No. 2 spot and Christian Ponder as the team's third-string QB.
"Right now, I have met with our quarterbacks, Blaine is No. 1 and he'll start versus the Rams and Kap is No. 2," he said. "We'll only have two guys up [at quarterback] on game day."
As stressed by Kelly, the decision to move Kaepernick as the backup quarterback of the 49ers has nothing to do with the athlete's recent activisms when he refused to stand up during the national anthem at preseason games.
According to the coach, he has no problems with Kaepernick's political and social inclinations since his focus is still on football.
"When he's here at 4900 [Marie P DeBartolo Way]. He's all about football and all about work and that's what I've seen since he's been here," Kelly said. "He continues to display that every day he's in this building."
During the start of the offseason, there have already been reports about a rift between Kaepernick and Kelly. Some reports even suggested that this could push the athlete out of the San Francisco organization.
Now that he's a second-stringer, this could serve as the final straw that would drive him out of the team. If he doesn't leave, external pressure from NFL executives could force the San Francisco organization to kick him put.
However, given his current reputation in the league, he might not be able to find a new franchise to play for. As a result, this could force him to leave the NFL completely by retiring early.
Last month, team executives in the league expressed their thoughts on Kaepernick after he staged his protest at a preseason game. Many of them labeled his actions unpatriotic and even called him a traitor to the country for refusing to pay his respects to the American flag.
Now that he has been dubbed as the current most hated man in the NFL, Kaepernick will definitely have a hard time finding a team that's willing to sign him if he gets released by the 49ers.