Since being named the starter in San Francisco and leading the 49ers within five yards of a Super Bowl victory last season, Colin Kaepernick has become arguably the most popular player in the NFL.
He’s attended the Grammys, been a presenter at both the Teen Choice and Hall of Game awards shows and won the Breakthrough Athlete of the Year award at this year’s ESPYS. He’s starred in multiple national advertising campaigns for Yahoo! and graced the covers of the ESPN Body Issue and GQ.
As if that wasn’t enough, his #7 jersey recently topped the league in sales, beating out Robert Griffin III. The number of media requests for the 25 year old has boggled the mind of his 49ers public relations manager.
But for all the glitz and glamour off the field, for each magazine spread and subsequent fan delirium, Kaepernick has managed to maintain his focus and keep sight of what’s really important to him—the game of football.
“The perfect thing about Colin is that he is so focused. He’s very driven and focused on football,” Kaepernick’s father Rick said. “I think his focus has become even more intense; so much more intense because of not winning the Super Bowl. To him that was failure and he’s going to do everything he can to make it right.”
The unwavering focus in the eye of intense national attention has come to be expected from those who know Kaepernick best and it’s been one of the first things the new people in his life learn about him.
It’s no easy feat to live up to the obligations that come with being the face of a franchise in today’s game—juggling the requirements for media exposure off the field and the demand for results on the field—but Kaepernick has been able to manage.
A story shared by Rick illustrates his son’s structure of success.
“Colin went down to LA and worked out at a place called Pro Active with a bunch of other NFL players. The first thing he said to his marketing agent was that he would go down there and work for three weeks and work on football from six in the morning to eleven in the morning and then you can have me from noon until nine for all the other stuff,” Rick said. “He said, ‘No one bothers me from six to eleven, I’m all focused on football.’ So Colin’s priorities are very much in line.”
While it may be hard for his fans to focus on football when so much attention has been paid to his tattoos and physique, Kaepernick’s focus is not something forged with maligned effort. It’s natural, but more importantly, it’s necessary if he and his 49ers plan on returning to the big show and that’s something the Turlock native seems to wholly understand.
“There’s probably not a bigger joy for somebody who’s played sports all their life to come together with a group of teammates and win,” Rick said. “He’s driven by the passion for football and that’s first on his priority list. He’s told me point blank, ‘Once the season starts I’m done with everything other than playing football.”