Joe Santoro: Seattle would be perfect spot for Kap | NevadaAppeal.com

Joe Santoro: Seattle would be perfect spot for Kap

Joe Santoro

Joe Santoro

Sports fodder for a Friday morning …

The Seattle Seahawks would be an absolute perfect fit for Colin Kaepernick and he should jump at the chance to be Russell Wilson's backup. Kaepernick couldn't pick a better place than Seattle to resurrect his fading career. Anything Wilson can do, Kaepernick could do, only taller. Kaepernick also wouldn't have to worry about being the most controversial player in the locker room anymore, not with Richard Sherman around. Coach Pete Carroll would also be a much bigger help with the media for Kaepernick than Mr. Personality Chip Kelly was with the San Francisco 49ers. If Mr. Energy Pete Carroll was Kaepernick's coach last year, half the crowd might have sat during the national anthem with their quarterback. The Seahawks are reportedly interested in Kaepernick or Robert Griffin III as their backup quarterback. Considering Griffin would get hurt merely going up to the Space Needle's observation deck, Kaepernick is the obvious choice.

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There aren't many quarterbacks Kaepernick's ultra competitive personality would allow him to take a backseat to and not complain. Ask Nick Graziano, Alex Smith and Blaine Gabbert. But Wilson would likely be a different story for Kaepernick. The two made a Madden football video game commercial a few years back where Wilson kisses his bicep and asks Kaepernick, "Is this how you do it?" Wilson was also respectful of Kaepernick's protest with the national anthem last fall, saying it wasn't something he would do but he understood what Kaepernick was trying to accomplish. There seems to be plenty of respect and admiration between the two rival quarterbacks. The two highly competitive and driven athletes would make each other better on the field and in the meeting room and Wilson might teach Kaepernick a few things about public relations. Kaepernick, in turn, could teach Wilson a few things about being tall.

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Wilson and the Seahawks beat Kaepernick and the 49ers 23-17 in the NFC championship game on Jan. 19, 2014. At that time Kaepernick had played in one Super Bowl and the 49ers were in their third consecutive NFC title game. Kaepernick came within one pass of going to his second Super Bowl when Sherman deflected one of his passes to teammate Malcolm Smith in the end zone, securing the victory for the Seahawks. It was the last meaningful game and meaningful play Kaepernick has played in the NFL. What a difference one pass makes. Had that pass found wide receiver Michael Crabtree instead of Sherman and Smith, Kaepernick would have gone to his second Super Bowl in a row and he might have joined Joe Montana and Steve Young as 49ers starting quarterbacks with Super Bowl rings (the Seahawks went onto destroy Denver in the Super Bowl). He would still likely be the 49ers starting quarterback. Jim Harbaugh might still be the 49ers head coach. But that pass landed in Smith's arms and now, a little more than three years later, Kaepernick has to settle for a backup job as Wilson's caddy.

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Cam Oliver, it seems, neither helped nor hurt his draft stock in last week's NBA pre-draft combine in Chicago. Oliver, according to all of the internet mock drafts, is still going to be an early second-round draft pick. Oliver tested OK at the combine. His body fat was 7.7 percent, his hand length was 9.5 inches and his hand width was 10.25 inches. He stood 6-foot-7 with no shoes and 6-foot-8.25 with shoes. He weighed 238.6 pounds and his wingspan was 7-foot-1.25. His standing vertical leap (28.0) was only average but his running vertical leap (39.5) was pretty good. Wolf Pack fans saw that running vertical leap up close many times on alley-oop passes from Lindsey Drew. Oliver's lane agility (12.17 seconds) and shuttle run (3.31 seconds) weren't all that impressive but he tested well in the three quarter court sprint (3.16 seconds). In short, Oliver left Chicago the same player he was when he arrived.

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The Wolf Pack obviously feels winning Mountain West men's basketball regular season and tournament titles (and averaging about 9,000 fans a game) is worth $1 million a year for its head coach. But what happens if the team merely wins 18-22 games a year and goes to the NIT or CBI most every season and averages 7,500 fans a game? Is that worth a million a year? The minute the Pack stops winning Mountain West titles (and going to the NCAA tournament) it will seem a bit silly for the school to pay its coach $1 million a year. What happens when the dust settles and the Cam Olivers, Lindsey Drews, Marcus Marshalls and Jordan Carolines of the world stop coming to North Virginia Street and the Pack finishes a respectable third or fourth in the Mountain West and goes to the NIT or CBI? Do they fire their million dollar coach just to get out of the million dollar contract and then go back to hiring a new guy at $600,000 or $700,000 a year? Once you go million, can you go back?

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One of the wildest games in Northern Nevada's athletic history took place recently and, as usual, hardly anyone noticed because it took place on a bitterly cold night at Greater Nevada Field. The Reno Aces beat the New Orleans Baby Cakes in a game for the ages. The game last Saturday night lasted 4:36 and 12 innings. The Aces, wearing red jerseys modeled after the Arizona Diamondbacks, scored six runs in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings. First baseman Christian Walker became just the third Aces player in history to hit for the cycle, with a single, double, triple and a homer to go along with his five RBI. Ildemaro Vargas scored the winning run in the bottom of the 12th from second base on a wild pitch because, for some reason, the Baby Cakes pitcher and catcher both went after the ball. The teams combined to use 12 pitchers and 34 players in all as the Aces won 11-10. If the game was played in the major leagues, ESPN would have already labeled it an instant classic and would have shown it a half dozen times by Monday morning.

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The most amazing thing about the Aces-Baby Cakes game Saturday night was it involved what just might be the most bizarre catch in the history of the sport. Baby Cakes hitter Moses Sierra drilled a wicked line drive right back at Aces relief pitcher Matt Stites in the seventh inning that looked like it could knock over the center fielder. Stites, a right-handed pitcher, dangerously flipped his glove hand behind his back like a horse swatting flies with his tail as the line drive whistled past his chest. He somehow made contact with the ball and his glove was immediately shot out of a cannon and into the cold night air above the infield. His left hand, thank goodness, was not still in the glove. The ball also went straight up in the air about 30 feet high and was seemingly headed toward the Baby Cakes' dugout in flight. Stites, who somehow didn't end up in center field, amazingly had the awareness to look into the sky to find the ball. Looking up into the dark sky, he sprinted to the first base foul line and, without the help of a glove, made like an NFL punt returner calling for a fair catch and hauled in the baseball with two bare hands. Stites' glove also landed at the foul line a few yards away like a dead bird falling out of a tree. The miraculous play deserves a trophy at this years ESPYs. But, again, it happened on a cold May night in Reno at Greater Nevada Field so nobody noticed.

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Is there a true No. 1 pick in this year's NBA draft? Washington's Markelle Fultz is being touted as the top pick but is a 6-foot-4 guard who scored 23.2 points a game for a 9-22 team worth the top pick? Fultz, who played just one season of college basketball, played the Wolf Pack this season and scored a mere 21 points and couldn't even lead his Pac-12 team to a victory at home. He had just six points in the second half on 2-of-10 shooting. The best player on the floor that night was the Pack's Marcus Marshall, who scored 32 points in an 87-85 Pack win. And Marshall isn't going to get drafted. Fultz could be the top pick and UCLA's Lonzo Ball, who has the most obnoxious father in the history of sports next to Jimmy Piersall and Todd Marinovich, is supposed to be the second pick. Just ask his dad. The real winners in the NBA draft, it seems, were the teams who weren't forced into the lottery.

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