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Colin Kaepernick caps busy week with NFC title game

This is the new life of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick: He was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week and recently saw a girl "Kaepernicking" on a horse. Yup, things have changed.

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Over the course of the season, Kaepernick has gone from Alex Smith's backup to one game from leading San Francisco back to the Super Bowl. He celebrates touchdowns with a flex of the biceps, which has been titled "Kaepernicking." The horse incident sounds like something from a novel with Fabio on the cover.

Despite the newfound fame, Kaepernick continues to fight the stigma of being labeled a running quarterback.

"Pretty much my whole life I've been categorized as a runner," Kaepernick said during his news conference Wednesday.

Kaepernick studied Vince Young, Michael Vick, Donovan McNabb and Randall Cunningham in high school and college and wants to accomplish something none of them could -- win a title. Kaepernick set an NFL record with 181 rushing yards by a quarterback against the Packers last week, but he also threw strikes to the tune of 263 yards and two touchdowns.

The Packers barely laid a finger on Kaepernick, something the Atlanta Falcons don't plan to repeat in Sunday's NFC Championship Game.

"If you get the opportunity to blow up somebody and make a statement, that's what you want to do," Falcons safety William Moore told USA Today's Jim Corbett. "They're a physical team, too. Their receivers block down the field.

"We're going to go out there well-prepared. Keeping the quarterback in the pocket, we have to go in there and keep contain on him."

Safety Thomas DeCoud added, "You definitely want to set the tone and send a message if he's a guy that likes to run the ball: 'We're going to be here.' "

The Packers didn't seem prepared for everything Kaepernick brought to the table. The Falcons won't be surprised.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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