Joe Montana Says Colin Kaepernick's Play, Not Political Stance, Is Why He Is FA

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistJuly 11, 2017

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 27: Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers gets a hug from former 49er Joe Montana prior to the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium on October 27, 2013 in London, England. The 49ers defeated the Jaguars 42-10 during the NFL International Series game. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers legend Joe Montana doesn't know whether free agent Colin Kaepernick will find a new team for the 2017 NFL season, but he believes the quarterback's extended stay on the open market is due to his on-field play rather than his decision to kneel for the national anthem last year.

Kristian Dyer of the Sporting News passed along comments from the Pro Football Hall of Fame QB about the former Niners starter's situation.

"I'm not sure, I think there's an injury somewhere he probably gets in," Montana said. "In most cases, you look at Tim Tebow—a great guy and everybody was talking about him. But what it comes down to is 40 percent completion or even in the low 50s, you can't win in the league with that. You won't be in the league very long. It comes down to his play as much as anything."

Kaepernick owns a career 59.8 completion percentage, including a 59.2 mark for the 49ers last season, when he also racked up 16 touchdowns and four interceptions across 12 games (11 starts). His 88.9 career passer rating ranks 11th among active quarterbacks.

Montana also questioned how the 29-year-old Wisconsin native, who's embraced his role as a social activist since last season's protest, would fit within the structure of an NFL locker room.

"Everyone thinks it is the stance he took; one of the things you don’t look for is distractions in the locker room," he told the Sporting News. "You can go back to Bill Walsh and as soon as there were guys that weren't fitting in what he was looking for, it didn't matter how good you were. You weren't on the team for very long. You have to have people who want the same thing, fighting for the same thing and willing to put in the time."

In March, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reported Kaepernick was prepared to stand for the anthem next season if he signed with a team.

He's still without a contract with training camp now less than a month away. He was linked to the Seattle Seahawks back in June before the team opted to sign Austin Davis to join Russell Wilson and Trevone Boykin on their quarterback depth chart.

Rumored interest in Kaepernick has faded since that point. As Montana suggested, he might have to wait for injuries to arise before getting more calls.