49ers: A new and future king

  • Colin Kaepernick loosens up Sunday January 20, 2013 prior to the NFC Championship game in Atlanta (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

NEW ORLEANS — Starting at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers will play in a Super Bowl for the first time in 18 years. And for the sixth time, they enter football's biggest game with a dynamic, game-altering quarterback at the center of it all.

Colin Kaepernick intends to extend the undefeated Super Bowl history established by Joe Montana and Steve Young with a mesmerizing style that has the NFL buzzing.

With no disrespect to Ray Lewis, the Baltimore Ravens all-world linebacker who will be playing in the final game of his 17-year career, Kaepernick is the talk of the Super Bowl. And he doesn't even talk.

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OK, he does speak. But if you want anything beyond comment on his tattoos and a few clich?, call the CIA. Kaepernick has taken to heart the blandness cues that flow from coach Jim Harbaugh. And whether he intends it or not, Kaepernick has made himself more interesting by keeping the book on himself closed. In fact, it is a very small book.

First chapter has four words: I don't feel pressure.

Second chapter has four words: God gives me strength.

And the third and final chapter has nine words: I don't care if people approve of my tattoos.<NO1><NO>

Despite enduring two weeks in the center of the white-hot Superbowl media frenzy, Kaepernick remains somewhat of an enigma. He's very smart, having scored 37 on the Wonderlic intelligence test administered by the NFL (the average is 20). He's independent minded, having tuned down Dartmouth so he could play football at Nevada. And he's devout, having adorned his body with religious-themed tattoos.

<CW-30>In an era when professional athletes take self-promotion to a most conspicuous level — Ray Lewis' "squirrel" dance comes to mind — Kaepernick refuses to use the game's glamour position as a bully pulpit. He is content to let others speak for him.</CW>

"The only thing Colin Kaepernick has to worry about," said Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe, "is whether he's going to hit his head on the goal post crossbar after he scores a touchdown."

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