Chip Kelly joined the Murph and Mac show on Monday morning, where he was met with questions about his quarterback’s national anthem protest.
“We as an organization recognize his decision — it’s his decision to sit or stand,” Kelly said.
But is it a distraction, Chip?
“No, I don’t think our players were not talking about football, they were answering the questions that were asked of them,” Kelly said. “That’s not what their focus is. If you ask them football questions, they would have talked about football.
“I don’t say (his protest) is harmful to our goal. I think players understand why they are here and what their job is. We’re here to win football games for the San Francisco 49ers. I think our players are focused on that. That’s kind of where it is. If no one came here and asked them any questions about it, they wouldn’t talk about it.”
Murph continued to press Kelly on whether Kaepernick’s head was completely focused on football.
“We deal with Colin when he’s here in the building in what he does, and he’s been all football since he’s been here,” Kelly said. “We don’t have discussions of what’s going on politically or anything in the world. When we’re meeting and we’re here, we’re working and we’re all about football.”
And what about Kaepernick’s play on the field?
“I thought it was up and down,” Kelly said. “I thought he made a great throw to DeAndrew White in a real tight window. That kept a drive alive on third-down. We had a missed route on the play, but he still did a good job with it. In some other instances, he didn’t have a ton of time from a protection standpoint. So just had to try and make the best out of it. But obviously, it wasn’t what we want from anybody on the offense during the time he was in there.”
Kelly said Kaepernick will play Thursday at San Diego.
“He needs to get reps,” Kelly said.