"I'm ready to step on the field, ready to play. It's been a year since live game action, I'm ready to get out there," said Kaepernick.
Head Coach Chip Kelly announced the decision Tuesday in a tweet to bench Blaine Gabbert and give back the job Kaepernick lost midway through last season. Kap has only played briefly in the opener but has generated attention with his refusal to stand for the national anthem.
In a later tweet, Kelly discussed the decision to start Kap, "We need to improve on the offensive side of the ball," he said. "And this is the decision we've made."
"It was great to be out there, starting to get timing down, getting the reps, getting ready for Sunday's game. Hopefully we can make some things happen," he said.
Good decision. But I might have given Gabbert the Bills on the road and then started Kap at home against the Buccaneers and Saints. https://t.co/0cKwqxxAwS— Casey Pratt (@CaseyPrattABC7) October 11, 2016
Gabbert has struggled this season for San Francisco (1-4). He is last in the NFL in yards per attempt (5.9) and has the second-worst passer rating (69.6) in the league.
After leading the Niners to the Super Bowl following the 2012 season and the NFC title game the following year, Kaepernick has struggled. He lost his job to Gabbert midway through last season and then had three operations that limited his work in the offseason.
As the Niners move forward, they hope to hoping to turn things around with 11 remaining games. But attention lately hasn't just been on football. Kaepernick continues to create debate by kneeling during the anthem to protest social injustice.
Kap says he appreciates the support - both on and off the field. "I think that's huge, I think people are realizing there are injustices and oppression taking place in this country," Kap stated.
But he says his focus right now is on the Bills.
"On the football field, I am excited to be back out there and get this win this Sunday," he said.
Click here for full coverage on the 49ers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
49er head coach Chip Kelly names Kap his starting QB this week vs Buffalo.Says with their depth this only move they could make. #baalkedig— Mike Shumann (@MikeShumann) October 11, 2016
A few weeks ago, Kap was supposedly too skinny to play. Funny how rumors of a restructured contract can bulk a guy up. #49ers— Larry Beil (@LarryBeilABC7) October 11, 2016