2011 NFL Draft
Place: Radio City Music Hall, New York
Round 1: Thursday, 5 p.m.
Round 2-3: Friday, 3 p.m.
Round 4-7: Saturday, 9 a.m.
What some of the experts say about Colin Kaepernick’s NFL Draft projections:
USA Today: Third round
ESPN: Second or third round
Sporting News: Second round
To understand what the next couple of days will mean to Colin Kaepernick, it’s best to rewind to three months ago. The date is Jan. 9, the day his career as the quarterback of the University of Nevada football team ended. Yes, he was a little emotional afterward, knowing that he would no longer play with the teammates he’d gotten close to during the previous five years.
But he knew that chapter of his life needed to end, just like when his time was over at Pitman High in 2006. He also knew then he needed to move on to the next level — though he has never forgotten about his adopted hometown of Turlock, evidenced by his recent five-hour visit to his high school to talk about the “old times” with former teachers and coaches, while signing autographs and posing for pictures with current students.
That’s why he had packed his bags well before his Nevada Wolf Pack played Boston College in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park in San Francisco. But first, he quarterbacked his team to a win, marking the end of one of the most productive college football careers ever.
“The next morning,” Kaepernick said, “it was on to the next dream.”
The following months have been nonstop, from private workouts with NFL teams to multi-media interviews per day to a photo shoot with ESPN Magazine and other major publications. But it’s only recently that his life has slowed down.
The other day, he reclined in a chair inside his childhood home in Turlock and played video games. That’s where he plans to be when his name is expected to be called during this week’s NFL Draft. At first, before the Senior Bowl and the private workouts with teams, he was considered a late-round pick. But now, the general consensus says that he’ll fall somewhere in the second or third round, which means he’ll embrace that special moment with his family sometime around Friday afternoon.
That’s right. He’s watching the Draft in Turlock. He declined his invitation to attend the big show at Radio City Music Hall in New York; his decision has nothing to do with the on-again, off-again NFL lockout. Accepting the invitation meant he was only allowed to bring four family members, and that was not enough for Kaepernick to say yes.
“I wanted to be home with my family,” he said. “There have been a lot of people who have supported me through this whole thing. I wanted to make sure that everybody that could be here, as far as my family, could be here.”
Kaepernick even declined ESPN and the NFL Network from entering his parents’ home during the Draft. It seemed logical, since he has spent the last three months — soon after he signed with X-A-M Sports & Entertainment — committing to multi-interviews per day, on top of all the workouts in front of pro teams. He also participated in ESPN The Magazine’s “Kings for a Day,” a photo shoot in Brooklyn that showcased other mid-round prospects like himself.
So he just wanted this one special moment for himself and his family, which adopted him when he was an infant.
After that, it’s back to work.
“He finds it fun and exciting,” said his mother, Teresa Kaepernick, about the last three months. “He has not complained at all. You think it’d be exhausting, but he just smiles from ear to ear.”
Colin explains: “I kinda have taken it one step at a time and gone through one thing at a time. Whatever I’m doing at the time, I’m trying to make the best of it and make sure it goes right. From there, wherever you’re going next, you have to approach it the same way. For me, it’s been a lot of sleeping on airplanes and a lot of making sure I get rest so I can recover from all the flights and stuff. I think it has gone well. I think I’ve handled it pretty well. It’s been exciting going through all this.”
He was prepared for the process. After his career was done at Nevada, he signed with his agent in his hotel room in San Francisco and then jumped on a plane to Atlanta to begin training for the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., where he eventually became a serious prospect after scouts realized that he could, in fact, succeed in a pro-style offense after years of being the centerpiece of Nevada’s Pistol offense.
As his father Rick Kaepernick said, it’s been a nonstop experience. A dream that started when Colin was attending Dutcher Elementary and wrote, as part of a time capsule project, what he expected his life to be like once he was an adult. One of his predictions was to play pro football.
“I think it’s pretty satisfying to know that all the hard work he’s put in is coming to fruition,” Rick said. “We know how hard he’s worked. We know certain things that he’s given up for — I don’t want to say sacrifice, but things he didn’t do because he put all his time and effort in this. He’s close to achieving one of his goals, which is pretty neat as a parent.”
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