San Francisco 49ers legend Joe Montana called out Colin Kaepernick’s leadership abilities in a recent interview with SI.com.
Montana, who knows a thing or two about leadership and locker room camaraderie, doesn’t think Kaepernick has, to this point in his career, done enough to communicate with his teammates.
“Well, (the quarterback) is usually the leader of the team in most cases. And people look to (Kaepernick) at this point, and he’s a quiet person. You know, he doesn’t share a lot, he doesn’t talk to a lot of the guys,” Montana said. “And that’s difficult for an offense to operate because the communication between the quarterback and the receiver is one of the most important things.”
Montana also touched on the difficulties facing Kaepernick and the 49ers following his failed attempt to get moved prior to and during the 2016 NFL Draft.
“…when you have a guy who doesn’t really want to be there, you don’t know whether to put yourself behind him or not. And you want to believe in him, but if he doesn’t want to be there then — I’m sure they did everything they could to try and get him to some place he’d be happy because it would be best for both teams.”
Indeed, it was reported that the 49ers and Denver had the framework of a trade in place well before the draft. However, Kaepernick didn’t have any interest in taking the massive pay cut he was asked to take to move to Denver. So the deal went through and the Broncos decided to throw in with rookie Paxton Lynch instead.
Now, Kaepernick and the 49ers appear stuck to one another, which is a scenario the team had been preparing for the entire time, and they will not cut him. But the fact remains that Kaepernick is still that same guy, and now he’s coming back to the team after a contentious offseason in which he made it clear he wanted out.
The best solution at this point is for Kaepernick to take a good look in the mirror. He needs to ask himself what he can do to fix his problem and stop looking for others to change circumstances so he can continue behaving the way he likes, on his own terms.
Montana’s observations are hardly the first that paint Kaepernick in this light. Last year, when things were going sour, it was reported that his “confidence was shot” and that he was “alone on an island” and isolated within the team’s locker room. That isn’t the look of a leader.
He needs to become an accountable leader who’ll step outside his own comfort zone to embrace the needs of a team. Lord knows, if he were to buy into what Chip Kelly is about to do in San Francisco, he might recover his recently lost superstar status. And it could happen quickly.
But only if he chooses to realize that he is — at least in part — the problem with what’s going on in San Francisco.