BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Chip Kelly on Wednesday reiterated his desire to coach quarterback Colin Kaepernick despite the player's agents requesting and receiving permission to pursue a trade away from the San Francisco 49ers.
Kelly, who was hired by the Niners in January after a three-year stint in Philadelphia that ended in his firing, was asked at the NFC coaches breakfast at the NFL owners meetings if he had to "sell" the idea of the dual-threat Kaepernick sticking around.
"Have I done any selling? No. It's just been talking to him, and I don't think there's a selling part," Kelly said. "No. 1, I can't talk offensively with him and say, 'I think this is a good fit because of this, this and this' because you're not allowed to do that. But I did make him understand that just because there is a business side, it doesn't mean that we don't want you here.
"We want him. I really would love to work with him, so I think he understands that."
Kaepernick, who is recuperating from surgeries to his left shoulder, right thumb and left knee, has been linked to the Denver Broncos and Cleveland Browns, though both teams have distanced themselves of late. The New York Jets have also been rumored to be interested. And with $11.9 million of his contract becoming guaranteed on April 1, the Niners are in a tight window given that the team's offseason training program does not begin until April 4.
"I think the biggest thing with Kap is, let's get him healthy," Kelly said.
Kelly, who spent much of his hour-long availability rehashing his tumultuous tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles, also talked about how the likes of Cam Newton and Russell Wilson do not get enough credit for their overall quarterback skills, with the focus instead being on their running abilities.
Kaepernick has a similar skill set, though many observers would claim that he has a stronger arm. Kelly recalled a specific play Kaepernick made against his Eagles at Levi's Stadium in 2014.
"He got flushed three times, and then he turned and threw a pass to the right sideline where I think [running back] Frank [Gore] was the last outlet on the play and just, his entire body and momentum was this way and it just came off his hand and stuck a hole shot.
"When he went to the combine, I think he had the fastest ball speed. I mean he can spin a football. He can really throw it."
But will he throw it for Kelly this season?