TURLOCK, Calif. -- Start listening to the stories about Colin Kaepernick, and you’ll feel like a time traveler, spotting a magnificent young quarterback who worked construction after his first pro team cut him, who played semipro for six to eight bucks a game on weekends, who had to scrape for gas money to get to his life-changing Baltimore Colts tryout, and whose name, really and truly, was Johnny Unitas.
Come on. How can anyone believe that, even though it’s true?
Tales about the 49ers’ new quarterback lean toward 21st-century reality-show quirky, but they sound no less fictional. Kaepernick has a 120-pound tortoise, Sammy, and they have been together since Colin was 10 and Sammy fit in his palm. The turtle now has a Twitter feed. Within a month of taking over as the 49ers’ starter, Kaepernick found his lavishly tattooed arms and torso pulling him into America’s culture wars, and his biological mother, via a national sports column, expressing her unrequited desire to meet him.