Through five weeks of the NFL season, Colin Kaepernick has been at the center of discussions across the league arguably more than when he was leading to the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012—and that's without taking a snap in 2016.
Instead, Kaepernick has made waves protesting racial discrimination by way of kneeling during the national anthem, an act that has inspired players from his and other NFL teams as well as athletes in other sports to do the same or something similar.
According to 49ers coach Chip Kelly, who strongly supports Kaepernick's protest, the quarterback will actually be playing after taking his civil rights stand, getting the start over Blaine Gabbert against the Buffalo Bills on the road in Week 6.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that Kaepernick's arm strength is finally returning after offseason shoulder surgery. Rapoport also noted that Kaepernick hasn't necessarily been outplaying Gabbert in practice, but Kelly acknowledges that the move is based more on potential over the course of the season than an immediate adjustment.
“I think we were very analytical and sat down as a staff and watched tape and went over everything,” Kelly told reporters. “We’ve had a couple days to kind of digest everything, where we are.
“I think offensively, we need to be better and we need to just make a move. It’s not Blaine’s fault. I think it’s just as a group, offensively, we need to be better in a lot of ways, so we’re going to see what we can do to make a move here.
"It’s really one of the only maneuvers we can make based on our depth, where we are, and what we’re doing.”
Through five games, the 49ers are 1-4. Gabbert has completed 58 percent of his passes for 890 yards, five touchdowns, and six interceptions. He's also rushed for 172 yards and two scores.