San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick posed for ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue, and the subsequent photos were released on Tuesday, with the magazine itself set to hit newsstands on July 12.
The 6'4", 230-pound signal-caller's frame is sure to draw plenty of interest, not only for his chiseled physique, but also for the numerous tattoos that cover his body.
All of the images were captured by magazine photographer Richard Phibbs, and three of them are accompanied by captions and quotes from Kaepernick discussing various aspects of his meteoric rise to stardom and the attention that comes with it.
The first of the two split photos does a great job showcasing the ink Kaepernick has elected to decorate himself with. Kaepernick is also known for his blistering speed in the open field, which is what the second photo in this set conveys:
Running with such incredible swiftness requires relaxation and outstanding body control. This is merely a photo shoot, but Kaepernick probably doesn't have a much different expression when he's on the gridiron racing toward the end zone.
In the initial individual sprawl of Kaepernick, he is atop a set of rocks. The quote in the caption that goes along with it implies that he's ready to burst out of the starting blocks and prove his doubters wrong in 2013:
Kaepernick is fueled by the assertion that defenses will adjust to what the Niners were so successful at in Kaepernick's seven regular-season starts and run to the Super Bowl:
"A lot of people say last year was a fluke, that defenses are going to figure out how to stop our offense, that we can't do it again. That's something that constantly drives me," said Kaepernick.
Next, an introspective Kaepernick is gripping a football and looking at the ground, possibly reflecting on the gravity of what he's accomplished to date and trying to deal with the pressure of being in the public eye:
Kaepernick then discusses his literal power—his rocket right arm that often hurts teammates' hands in practice to the point where they encourage the 25-year-old gunslinger to "bring it down a notch."
Finally, a shot of Kaepernick's upper-body gives a better look at his body art and is supplemented by a serious, intense gaze:
He is candid about his tattoos by proudly flaunting them. The quarterback articulates his firm stance on the sometimes taboo issue and explains how they inspired his "Kaepernicking" celebration:
Kissing my bicep kind of started from the whole tattoo controversy. I'd kiss "Faith" on my right bicep. That was my way of showing that I love my tattoos regardless of what anyone else thinks about them. They're more than just ink on my body; they are things I really believe in.
No one can ever accuse Kaepernick of shielding his beliefs, and that sort of transparency and honesty is refreshing and increasingly rare amongst prominent athletes.
The images are sure to generate plenty of buzz given Kaepernick's unique appearance and raised profile, which made him a perfect candidate for the 2013 edition of the Body Issue.