SANTA CLARA – Coach Jim Harbaugh on Friday expounded on quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s terse exchange with the media earlier this week.
Harbaugh was asked about his players looking to bounce back after the loss to Seattle, and he spun it into a completely different direction. He offered an explanation and defense of how Kaepernick conducted his of weekly media obligation on Wednesday. According to the transcript the 49ers sent out, Kaepernick was asked 32 questions. He responded with 87 words.
“. . . I saw there was quite a bit of sport made of Colin Kaepernick, and people were even tallying his responses,” Harbaugh said. “It’s sad, really, because you don’t know him. He’s a determined person. He’s a spiritual person. He is a very hard worker, and he wants to do well. And (he) works extremely hard at it. And you get the honest person when you deal with him. If he’s not chatty, he’s not going to be chatty. He’s single-minded when he’s playing the game of football and preparing for the game. And I appreciate that. I appreciate that he is who he is. We’re around him every day. He’s his own person, too.”
Question: You bring that up . . . a lot of us who don’t know him nearly as well as you do didn’t know what to make of that. What message was he trying to get across or why he responded the way he did on Wednesday? Can you shed some light on that how you read it?
Harbaugh: “Yeah, he’s very professional. He always stands up. He never dodges or deflects criticism. He takes accountability. And he’s honest. He tells the truth. The questions you were asking him, he was telling the truth. He’s not going to be just someone’s beck and call or bidding. He’s going to act the way he acts. He’s his own person. I appreciate the honesty. His jaw is set. And he’s a team player all the way. That’s what he’s doing. He’s working. His mindset . . . he loves this time of year, loves this kind of football, big games. And I appreciate that. It’s all a person can do, do his best. And if that’s not appreciated, then you do your best anyway. That’s who he is. That’s what he does.”
Question: What would you say to people who think a face-of-the-franchise quarterback should be a little more accommodating?
Harbaugh: “A face-of-the-franchise quarterback should be a great leader by example by the way he works, a team player all the way. What’s in his heart is about the team. It’s not about himself. You get the raw honesty. He’s telling you. If you ask what his mindset is, it’s to work. That’s his approach.”
Question: Are you saying if he’s going up there and being wordy and eloquent, he’d be someone other than who he really is and not being true to himself?
Harbaugh: “Wouldn’t anybody be? If you want somebody to be wordy and that’s not who they are, that would be phony to be that. . . It would be passive aggressive and somebody that he’s not. Jaw set, he wants to win this football game.”
Question: Did you talk to him about his interaction with the media on Wednesday?
Harbaugh: “He’s doing everything that I expect and I appreciate it. He’s a team player all the way. He’s a great leader. He’s a tremendous worker. And he’s got goals. He likes this time of the season and he wants to do well. I appreciate it.”