San Francisco 49ers second-string quarterback Colin Kaepernick may make news for kneeling for the national anthem, but he sits during games in part because his new vegan diet keeps his weight too low to take the field.
Though his exact weight has not been reported, it is clear Kaepernick is far below his playing weight of 225 pounds, ESPN reports.
Kaepernick converted to veganism nearly a year ago but insists his new diet hasn’t been a factor in his massive weight loss. Instead, the player blames his dwindling weight on his recovery from injuries.
Whatever the cause, 49ers coach Chip Kelly noted that Kaepernick needs to return to his playing weight before he’ll be considered for a shot at more game time.
“I don’t think he’s ready to go full time,” the coach said this week, quoted by ESPN. “He’s continuing to work on it. … And Kap will be the first to tell you, if you guys have been around here before, I think his playing weight has been around 225, and he’s not at that right now. So he’s going out there and continuing to work, continuing to get better. He had a serious layoff in terms of being able to medical rehab. To get the full Kap for what you need, the potential that he has, he needs to continue to just work on the physical aspect of things.”
Kaepernick tried to further explain his predicament.
“I think the fact that my weight isn’t where it was,” Kaepernick said. “My strength is still growing, developing, but once again I’m always going to be prepared, always ready to put it on the line for this team.”
The 49ers number seven also noted that he was starting a new diet of vegan-friendly protein shakes and other weight-gain supplements in an effort to regain his playing weight. He also claimed he is already back up to his former running speed.
The player’s veganism, though, is a major departure from his past comments about veggies. Back in 2013 Kaepernick slammed veggies in an Instagram photo of a meal of steak, eggs and fruit with a caption reading: “This is lunch….. I don’t eat vegetables they make you weak!”
Kaepernick made other news earlier this week when he said the United States was never great, as a rejoinder to GOP nominee Donald Trump.
“He always says, ‘Make America great again,'” Kaepernick said of Trump. “Well, America has never been great for people of color and that’s something that needs to be addressed. Let’s make America great for the first time.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.