In January 2013, in his first career playoff game, Colin Kaepernick threw for 263 yards, ran for a quarterback-record 181 yards, and scored four touchdowns (two pass, two rush) in a 45-31 Wild Card win over the Green Bay Packers.
Just a few short years later, he’s out of the league.
If you had told Randall Cobb that on that day – a day when Kaepernick outplayed Aaron Rodgers – he wouldn’t have believed you.
“I would have laughed at you,” Cobb said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “The road that he was on, we’re talking about a guy that played in the Super Bowl five years ago. Not employed, he’s still young – I would say he’s better than the bottom 10 quarterbacks in the league right now, and he’s not on a team. I can make the opinion that there’s an issue with that, but I’m not an owner. I’m not a GM. I can’t go out and bring him in on my team. But I think (his activism is) definitely an issue behind a lot of the reasons why he’s not playing right now.”
Cobb, 26, said that Kaepernick “comes up a lot” in conversation in the Green Bay locker room, adding that the conversation remains respectful.
“I think we all see that and talk about that,” said Cobb, a second-round draft pick in 2011. “Whenever you talk about some of the topics that we talk about, there’s always a level of mutual respect whenever you’re having these conversations. I think being able to have so many different guys coming from so many different backgrounds – whether it be race, religion, whatever – we’re able to talk about (things) openly with an open dialogue, with a conscious mindset of having an understanding with what’s going on and also respecting the views of others and being open-minded.
“I think that’s the biggest thing,” Cobb continued. “Obviously with everything that’s going on, it’s creating a conversation. People are becoming more conscious about what’s going on, and being able to have that open dialogue and being able to respect others’ opinions but also be able to firmly say what they believe, I think that’s something that we talk about a lot. I’ve definitely enjoyed it. I think it’s helping us all grow as individuals for our communities, for our nation, finding a way for all of us to come together.”
The Packers, of course, don’t need Kapernick’s services. They have arguably the best quarterback in the league in Aaron Rodgers, who threw an NFL-best 40 touchdowns last season.
Rodgers carried the Packers to the NFC Championship last season but probably wouldn’t mind more help in 2017.
“I think he’s the same guy, but I think he’s in a better place mentally,” Cobb said. “You look at him and you can see the joy on his face when he walks around. The last few months, he’s definitely been very dialed in. He’s always upbeat. He’s always been upbeat, but you can just see a different aura on him. He’s definitely glowing in a different way. It’s really nice to see him like that and see him happy. I think it definitely carries over to the practice field, to the meeting rooms, and I think everybody’s feeling that vibe. I think we’re all taking in that aura.”
Green Bay opens the season at home against Seattle on Sept. 10 before an NFC Championship rematch with the Falcons in Atlanta on Sept. 17. Kickoff is at 4:25 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. ET, respectively.