Kaepernick on being benched: "I'm not out of breath"

- 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick spoke to the media for the first time since head coach Jim Tomsula announced his benching on Wednesday.

“They told me they were going to sit me and that was the extent of the conversation," he said. "That decision is out of my control, I left it at that. I respect their authority.” 

Kaepernick was told Monday he wouldn't start against the Falcons, but said he hasn't had a harder time going to work.

"No, to me that's selfish, to put that on myself and take away from my teammates and away from Blaine," Kaepernick said. "I'll support my teammates, I'll support Blaine, in everything they do because they support me."

For the most part Kaepernick said all the right things, but made it pretty clear he didn’t agree with the decision. 

When asked about Tomsula’s reasoning for benching him - that Kaepernick needed to take a step back and “breathe” - the 49ers embattled quarterback said, “I’m not out of breath so I don’t understand that reference.”

After two straight games without a touchdown and three in five not finding the end zone for San Francisco (2-6), Kaepernick refuses to get into the notion he might be a "scapegoat" for a sinking team only three years after he led the Niners to a Super Bowl.

"I don't pass judgment on that," he said after Friday's practice. "I do everything I can to try to help this team win, try to support my teammates and try to go out and help us get a W on Sunday."

Gabbert will take the field Sunday against the Falcons without top running back Carlos Hyde, ruled out Friday with a stress fracture in his left foot after not practicing all week. Wideout Anquan Boldin was listed as doubtful with an injured hamstring.

"I don't believe in pressure. The pressure's not being prepared for what you want to do," he said. "To me, I played full seasons, I've played full seasons and been successful. It's something that mentally, I've been through before. I'm not incapable of going through things."

Yet offensive coordinator Geep Chryst hinted Thursday that Kaepernick might be trying too hard this season to make plays that have come more naturally in the past when things were going well.

"You're a young player, you come in, you're looking for opportunities to make plays to win," Chryst said. "Now it's flipped a little bit and it's I don't want to make a mistake that provides an opportunity for the team to lose."

Kaepernick doesn't see it that way. He took over the starting job from Alex Smith in November 2012 under coach Jim Harbaugh and wound up keeping the job and leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl, and a three-point loss to Baltimore.

"I don't believe that's accurate," he said. "Every time I step on the field, I step on the field to make plays. But that's just the matter of opinion."

Boldin missed his first game since 2012 last week, while Hyde hasn't played since the 49ers' Oct. 22 loss to the Seahawks because of the foot.

Gabbert, making his first start since 2013 with the Jacksonville Jaguars, will try to spark the NFL's lowest-ranked offense in both scoring and yardage despite all the injuries. He said this week he can relate to Kaepernick after losing his starting job with the Jaguars two years ago. Jacksonville traded Gabbert to the 49ers after he went 5-22 as a starter.

Also on KTVU: Tomsula and Gabbert talk about the Kaepernick decision

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