49ers' Colin Kaepernick shuns Hollywood limelight to hit the gym

SACRAMENTO, Cali. - There was an invitation to the Grammys and one to be a special correspondent at the Oscars.

Talk-show hosts -- including Jay Leno -- want him on their sets, companies want him in their ads and would-be authors have sent proposals to write the definitive Colin Kaepernick story for hardback.

It's been four months since his first NFL start and less than a month since the Super Bowl, and the San Francisco 49ers quarterback's popularity is still at full boil.

His response always is the same: I'd rather hit the gym.

That's where Kaepernick is now. Rather than pressing the flesh with Anne Hathaway and Denzel Washington on the red carpet in Hollywood, Kaepernick is busting his tail alongside little-known college players on the green grass at CES Performance, a training facility in Atlanta.

That's where Kaepernick got ready for the 2011 draft. And it's where he figured he'd find training partners who are as hungry as he is.

CES Performance's Aaron Roberts said there are about 50 college players preparing for the scouting combine, their pro-day workouts next month and the draft in April.

Kaepernick is one of a dozen veterans.

"A few of our veterans are easing into it," Roberts said. "Colin, of course, is here all day, every day."

Roberts said Kaepernick trains with the offensive linemen, who have a reputation as the hardest-working and most intense group at the facility.

They arrive at 8 a.m. and take off in the late afternoon. The pool workouts are particularly tough. Imagine trying to swim while someone pulls on you -- via a harness and bungee cords -- from the opposite direction.

There are training facilities closer to Kaepernick's Turlock, Calif., home.

A year ago, for example, Kaepernick returned to the University of Nevada to work out early in the offseason. But when you're suddenly the most recognizable alum on campus, it's hard to run to the store for milk and eggs, much less get in a meaningful workout.

"He didn't stay in Reno or the West Coast because he'd never get anything done," said his father, Rick.

Kaepernick took a week off after the Super Bowl. He and his marketing director, Shawn Smith, attended the Cartoon Network Hall of Game Awards and the annual Clive Davis Gala in Beverly Hills before the Grammy Awards.

Smith said Kaepernick was surprised that artists he had on his iPod -- Usher, John Legend and John Mayer -- approached him in hopes of meeting the 49ers quarterback. Smith said shaking hands and chatting with Magic Johnson was an especially big highlight for Kaepernick.

But one week off was all he allowed himself. And he's not interested in cashing in on his sudden fame, either.

He still drives the same Chrysler his dad bought him when he was in college. And the NFL's collective bargaining agreement prohibits players from renegotiating their rookie deals until after their third season in the league. Kaepernick will be paid $741,000 in base salary in 2013, which will be his third season.

"The highest priority right now is to keep it normal," Smith said. "He just wants to be normal. He just wants to train."

(Contact Matthew Barrows at mbarrows@sacbee.com.)

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