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  • Colin Kaepernick works out with offensive linemen, who have a reputation as the hardest workers at an offseason training facility.

  • The 49ers' Colin Kaepernick runs for a touchdown in the Sup- er Bowl. He's had celebrity suitors in fervent pursuit since his meteoric rise last season.

49ers' QB a hot commodity, but Kaepernick shuns limelight to hit the gym

Published: Monday, Feb. 18, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013 - 8:09 am

SANTA CLARA – 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 two weeks since the Super Bowl, and the 49ers quarterback's popularity is still at full boil.

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

In fact, 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 him.

CES Performance's Aaron Roberts said there are about 50 college players preparing for this week's 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. Wednesday's pool workouts are particularly tough. Imagine trying to swim while someone pulls on you – via a harness and bungee cords – from the opposite direction.

Two young 49ers receivers, Chad Hall and Ricardo Lockette, have joined Kaepernick in Atlanta. A third, 2012 first-round pick A.J. Jenkins, has said he plans to join.

There are, of course, training facilities closer to Kaepernick's Turlock 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. The same goes in Turlock and the Bay Area.

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

Kaepernick took one week off following 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 the 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."

Editor's note: This story was changed Feb. 18 to reflect that Competitive Edge Sports has changed its name to CES Performance.

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Read more articles by Matthew Barrows

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