Colin Kaepernick, he of the freshly signed six-year, $126 million deal with the San Francisco 49ers, had a some interesting things to say at his press conference as to the reason for his success.
"“I don’t think I would be at this point so quickly if (Alex Smith) hadn’t been such a great mentor to me and helped me along with things,” Kaepernick said at a Wednesday news conference to announce the deal. “I’m very grateful for my teammates as well. I wouldn’t be here without them.”"
The story of Kaepernick’s rise to being the quarterback who led the 49ers to the Super Bowl and nearly doing it again the following year begins with the fall of Alex Smith. Smith was knocked out of a Monday Night Football game against the St. Louis Rams after suffering a concussion. It was Kaepernick who would step in and lead his team to a tie before starting a run that would end with a last-second loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl.
Of course, Smith was traded to the Chiefs the following year for two second round draft picks, and led the Chiefs from a 2-14 record to a playoff appearance. His numbers in the playoff loss to Indianapolis were arguably the best every for a Chiefs quarterback in the playoff ever.
Interestingly, Smith is in a contract battle of his own with the Chiefs and is allegedly asking for money close to what Kaepernick just received from the 49ers. Kaepernick’s new deal may have just made Smith a lot more money.