SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick did not offer much clarity on his relationship with the team's front office months after requesting a trade earlier this year, but Thursday he said he plans to compete for the starting job and that he is excited to work with new coach Chip Kelly.
"I am not going to get into specifics," Kaepernick said regarding his decision to request a trade. "We were looking at different opportunities."
When asked specifically if his trade request had anything to do with Kelly being hired -- Kelly will be Kaepernick's third head coach -- the quarterback declined to cite the reason, but said more than once that he is excited working with Kelly and that Kelly's offensive system is "great for me."
There wasn't anything Kaepernick said or didn't say that implied mended fences from any previous or ongoing issues with the front office and/or ownership. Kaepernick said that he has not spoken to general manager Trent Baalke in months. Baalke, weeks ago, said that he has not spoken to Kaepernick.
Kaepernick was medically cleared from thumb, shoulder and knee surgeries, to go through the team's final minicamp this week. The three days of on-field work were his first all offseason. He seems comfortable, now, that his lot is cast with the 49ers since no trade was brokered over the past few months.
The former starter, who lost his job to Blaine Gabbert last season, did say that he has matured over the last few months and that he hopes that comes through with his relationships with teammates and coaches and on the field.
"I'm definitely not the same person," Kaepernick said. "Being able to grow ... I took a big step this offseason."
One of those steps was his 18-minute news conference, unheard of in previous years with the tight-lipped, introverted, sometime antagonistic Kaepernick. He was usually quick, not very insightful and out. When a member of the 49ers' media relations staff tried to end the news conference Thursday, Kaepernick balked, stating that this was a "unique situation," and that he wanted reporters to unload questions for in the future, everything would be football related.
"To be perfectly blunt, I was not playing my best football." Kaepernick said of last season.
Moving forward, Kaepernick said that he still has to rehab from the surgeries. He also said that he must gain weight, without saying how much he lost or needed to add. The operations kept the gym-junkie from lifting weights and adding bulk, which is needed "for the way I play," he said. Kaepernick said that he will be at the size he prefers when he comes back in late July for training camp.
Gabbert has been working with the first team offense through the offseason and has built a solid rapport with teammates on and off the field. Gabbert, Kelly and Kaepernick have said that they believe there will be a fair competition for the starting job with each player getting quality reps with the first-team offense.
Although Kaepernick was not medically cleared until this week, he has been with the team and taking walk-through reps on the field before being cleared this week. He also has been in meetings and film sessions. Kelly said Kaepernick is on fairly even footing with the mental aspect of learning the offense.