San Francisco 49ers

Jim Harbaugh believes Colin Kaepernick has the ability to be a great NFL player

(Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Jim Harbaugh says people are too quick to judge quarterbacks and, if given a chance, Colin Kaepernick has the right stuff to get a team to the Super Bowl.

The Michigan Wolverines and former San Francisco 49ers head coach, said during an appearance on NBC Sports’ “PFT Live” Tuesday morning, that quarterbacks take time to mature.

“Again, you look at the history of the position and … myself, I don’t think I even started until I was 26, maybe it was 27,” said Harbaugh, whose NFL career spanned five teams from 1987 to 2001. “My fourth year in the league, I became a full-time starter. A lot of quarterbacks really come into their own in their late 20s and even their early 30s.

“It seems that these days people aren’t as patient. They want to label someone as being great or not being able to play, being a bust so quickly these days. Even after they label them great, then if a quarterback struggles for a season, all of a sudden they can’t wait to tear them down. Build them up to tear them down.”

Now a free agent after opting out of his contract with the 49ers two weeks ago, Kaepernick is 29 and has four postseason wins on his résumé. Drafted by Harbaugh in 2011, Kaepernick led San Francisco to Super Bowl XLVII during his second season in the league.

Harbaugh said NFL teams have reached out to ask his opinion of Kaepernick, and Harbaugh tells them they should sign him.

“I’ll tell you the same thing I tell them: I think he’s an outstanding player and I think he’s a great competitor who has proven it in games and has the ability to be not only an NFL starter but a great NFL player,” Harbaugh told PFT’s Mike Florio. “Colin will be just fine. He’ll just keep plugging away, and I think you’ll see he’ll have a great career and be a great quarterback. Win championships.”

Kaepernick ignited a firestorm last fall because he refused to stand for the national anthem as a way to protest social and racial issues. He has announced he will stand for the anthem during the 2017 season as he no longer wants his method of protest to detract from the positive change he says has been created.

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