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Free agent NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick gave an emphatic endorsement of his old head coach, Jim Harbaugh, when Mike Freeman of USA Today asked him what he thought about Michigan’s current leader potentially returning to the pros.
“Harbaugh is the one coach you call when you want to compete for a championship. Period,” Kaepernick said.
Kaepernick and Harbaugh were together on the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2014, nearly winning a Super Bowl in 2012 before falling just short to the Baltimore Ravens.
Kaepernick began his 49ers career as a backup to Alex Smith in 2011, but he became QB1 in 2012 after the starter suffered a midseason concussion against the St. Louis Rams on Nov. 11. He excelled the following week in a 32-7 win over the Chicago Bears (243 yards, two touchdowns), and Harbaugh kept him aboard as the starter even when Smith was ready to return.
Kaepernick was electric at times for the 49ers in 2012 en route to an NFC title, notably throwing for four touchdowns in a 41-34 win at the New England Patriots and rushing for 181 yards and two scores against the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs.
He nearly led the 49ers to a Super Bowl win after falling behind 28-6 to the Ravens, but a last-minute game-winning touchdown drive fell just short.
Kaepernick and Harbaugh helped take the team back to the NFC Championship in 2013, when it nearly beat the eventual Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. An 8-8 season in 2014 later signaled the end of Harbaugh’s tenure.
A ringing endorsement from Kaepernick regarding Harbaugh’s NFL candidacy holds some weight given that he was his QB1 for most of his four years as an NFL head coach. Harbaugh made the bold move to make a midseason quarterback change for a Super Bowl-contending team, and Kaepernick ultimately fared quite well in nearly leading the team to a Lombardi Trophy.
As for Harbaugh, the Los Angeles Chargers appear to be in the lead for him, with league insiders reportedly believing that the Bolts would be his first choice, per Matt Barrows of The Athletic.
As it stands, there are still seven head coach openings, and “multiple NFL teams” were gathering information on Harbaugh as of last week, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.
It may not be long before we see Harbaugh make the leap back to the pros, but we now know that his ex-quarterback believes he’d be a great candidate.