INDIANAPOLIS – Hours after Chip Kelly assured reporters that Colin Kaepernick is excited to play for the 49ers this year, his agents requested a trade.
That was reported on Thursday by NFL Network's Rand Getlin. Kaepernick's agents, Scott Smith and Jason Bernstein, met with team officials in Indianapolis Thursday afternoon.
Kaepernick was benched after games in 2015 and disparaging rumors leaked to national reporters about how he conducted himself in the locker room preceded the move. Kaepernick also had had three surgeries since November -- on his shoulder, knee and thumb -- all of which were performed by specialists in Vail, Colorado, not by team doctors.
Still, both general manager Trent Baalke and Kelly were adamant in recent days that Kaepernick would be part of their offseason roster.
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"Absolutely," Baalke said when asked if Kaepernick would be on the team after April 1, the date at which his $11.9 million base salary becomes guaranteed.
Kelly was even more certain, saying that Kaepernick sounded "excited" about the team's offseason program during recent phone calls.
Kelly dismissed the notion that Kaepernick was unhappy as a rumor.
"He's seemed excited every time I've talked to him," Kelly told the team’s beatwriters in an hour-long session on Thursday. " … I've also learned to not believe everything that's on the Internet."
Later he said, “I don’t know what the narrative is, that ‘Is he on the team? Is he not on the team?’ That’s never been a question. I’m excited about working with Colin … I’ve never thought, ‘I’m going to go to San Francisco and he’s not going to be there.’ I don’t know why everyone else looks at it that way, either.”
It’s not known yet whether the team will acquiesce or whether Kelly will try to convince Kaepernick that he can get a fresh start with the 49ers.
"Kap's really good," he said at one point Thursday. "I mean, he had the ball on the 5-yard line (intending on) taking the team in to win a Super Bowl. You can just look at the tape to see how talented he is. You know, our job is acquiring talent, not getting rid of talent."
News of the trade request comes three years after the 49ers dealt quarterback Alex Smith to Kansas City for two second-round draft picks.
The 49ers are not believed to have begun trade discussions. If they do, they likely would, as was the case with Smith, target an AFC team. The Broncos, Browns, Jets and Texans have a need at quarterback.