For those wondering if San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick's national anthem protests were hurting the team's chemistry, the 49ers made it clear on Friday night that they weren't split on their feelings for the controversial team leader.
According to ESPN.com, Kaepernick was given the team's Len Eshmont Award, which is given yearly to the player who "best exemplifies the inspirational and courageous play of Len Eshmont, an original member of the 1946 49ers team."
Kaepernick said he has been inspired by the support he's received from teammates, particularly linebacker Eli Harold and safety Eric Reid, who have joined him in the national anthem protest most weeks:
"It's very impactful, and I think they are people who have very strong character," Kaepernick said. "And to have the ability to really recognize what's going on, how it not only affects them, but it affects their families and affects other people that look like them, is something that's very powerful -- and I'm very happy to have teammates like that, that have that type of character, that have those type of ethics and humanity."
Kaepernick took over as San Francisco's starter in Week 6 and hasn't looked back, throwing for 2,026 yards and 15 touchdowns and adding 452 yards and two scores on the ground to lead the 2-13 49ers squad.
Though the award is certainly a nice honor for Kaepernick, the ESPN report notes that the last two winners of the Eshmont Award -- Frank Gore and Anquan Boldin -- left the team following the season.
With the option to opt out of his contract at the end of the 2016 season, it remains to be seen if Kaepernick returns to San Francisco in 2017.
However, he will start at least one more game for the 49ers when the team hosts the Seattle Seahawks on New Year's Day.
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