SANTA CLARA – Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is not physically ready to be the team’s starter, but he is still the 49ers’ backup, coach Chip Kelly said on Monday.
“Kap is definitely our No. 2 right now,” Kelly told reporters during his press conference, a day after the 49ers’ 37-18 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
“Kap is our No. 2 right now and everybody wants to know why Kap isn’t our No. 1. I don’t think Kap is 100 percent right now."
Kaepernick lost significant weight during the offseason while rehabbing from surgeries to his left shoulder, right thumb and left knee. He has continued to slowly regain his strength, but is not back up to his 225 playing weight of the past, Kelly said.
While Kelly said he does not believe Kaepernick is all the way back physically, he said he is strong enough to serve as Blaine Gabbert's backup.
“I don’t think he’s ready to go full-time," Kelly said. "He’s continuing to work on it. I think he’s over there right now. And, Kap will be the first to tell you, if you guys have been around here before, I think his playing weight has been around 225 and he’s not at that right now.
"So he’s going out there and continuing to work, continuing to get better. He had a serious layoff in times in terms of being able to medical rehab. To get the full Kap for what you need, the potential that he has, he needs to continue to just work on the physical aspect of things.”
On Monday, Kaepernick was seen working out near the 49ers’ weight room on the players’ day off.
Kaepernick has suited up as the team’s backup quarterback behind Gabbert for the first three games. Christian Ponder is the 49ers’ No. 3 quarterback and has not been available for games. Ponder has been inactive for the first three games of the season.