SANTA CLARA — Still steaming over the Super Bowl loss, Colin Kaepernick packed up his belongings in the 49ers’ locker room and made plans with teammates to work out this offseason.
They won’t have to wait long.
Kaepernick said Tuesday that he’ll be training in the Atlanta area within a week, and the strong-armed and fleet-footed quarterback will bring some of his receivers along with him. All of it is part of Kaepernick’s quick evolution from backup to starter that will continue when he enters training camp as the unquestioned franchise star.
After losing 34-31 to the Baltimore Ravens in New Orleans on Sunday, Kaepernick summed up his breakout second season “as not being good enough.” He said the Super Bowl loss will stick with him “for the rest of my life.”
A man of few words and a lot of yards, Kaepernick’s potential might give 49ers fans reason to be optimistic more than anything following the first Super Bowl loss in the franchise’s storied history.
Kaepernick threw for 1,814 yards and 10 touchdowns with three interceptions in the regular season, starting seven games after taking over for Alex Smith, who will likely be traded or released in the coming months to clear salary-cap space. He also ran for 415 yards and five touchdowns.
“He was fantastic the entire season,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. “The stage was not too big for him. He competed at the highest level and played extremely well. He showed a lot of poise, a lot of leadership the entire game. I can’t say enough, really. With Colin, it’s always just appropriate.”
All of 25 years old, Kaepernick knows he has time to join Joe Montana and Steve Young as Super Bowl winners in San Francisco, which had been 5-0 in the NFL’s marquee game. Being the only quarterback in 49ers history to lose a Super Bowl is still something that will simmer no matter how many titles he wins.