Colin Kaepernick sounded as calm and confident as ever Thursday, a mere 10 days from appearing in Super Bowl XLVII.
He's seen the five Lombardi Trophies that are displayed in the lobby of the 49ers' facility, and he's well aware of the Super Bowl-winning standard set by Joe Montana and Steve Young.
"I've met both of them, talked with both of them briefly," Kaepernick said. "I mean, they did great things here."
Young, now an ESPN analyst, sat down for an interview Wednesday with Kaepernick, who said he was given a simple message by the Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback: "Just keep going."
Kaepernick will make only his 10th career start when the 49ers play Feb. 3 against the
Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
"I wouldn't say I have an expectation for it," Kaepernick said of the Superdome's impending scene. "I'm just going to keep working and see what happens."
Kaepernick is 7-2 as a starter since replacing Alex Smith. Through playoff victories over the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons, he's posted a combined 105.9 passer rating, having 33 of 52 passes for 496 yards with three touchdown passes and one interception.
Kaepernick's 202 rushing yards in the playoffs (on 18 carries) are 7 yards shy of Frank Gore's total (on 44 carries).
"He's not just an integral part of their passing game. He's a huge part of their run game," Ravens coach John Harbaugh told reporters
To prepare for that dual threat, Ravens safety Ed Reed said he's reviewed film of his games against another mobile quarterback: the Philadelphia Eagles' Michael Vick rather than the Washington Redskins' Robert Griffin III.
"I know he's fast, he can run -- but RGIII was a little quicker, I think, and probably a little faster," Reed told reporters of Kaepernick.
Kaepernick was the 49ers' only player who suited up but did not play in the 2011 Thanksgiving Night game, when the 49ers fell 16-6 at Baltimore.
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman said Kaepernick "fully understands" the magnitude of what will be the 49ers' first Super Bowl in 18 years.
"Colin's just a very, very intense competitor," Roman said. "We saw that even when he wasn't the 'starter.' He's got the ability to draw some really intense focus. We love that in a quarterback."
They also love Kaepernick's ability to rally from adversity. He did that last Sunday, when the 49ers overcame a 17-0 deficit in a 28-24, NFC-clinching win at Atlanta. He also rebounded from an interception return for a touchdown in the playoff-opening win over the Packers.
One such distraction during Super Bowl week will be reporters asking abundant
tattoos, as has been the case for two months already. On Thursday, tattoos were the topic of nine of the 29 questions he fielded.
He confirmed that his agent has applied for a trademark on the term "Kaepernicking," which describes his touchdown celebration of kissing the "Faith" tattoo on his right biceps.
Will he be Kaepernicking against a Ravens defense that he identifies as physical and experienced?
"I don't know. I hope so."
So do his teammates, who grew fond of Kaepernick well before he became a Sports Illustrated cover boy last week.
Tight end Vernon Davis said he knew "this kid is ready" back when they sparked a 32-7 victory over the Chicago Bears in Kaepernick's first start Nov. 19. Davis gleaned of Kaepernick's passion to succeed when they dined at a steakhouse next to the 49ers' hotel during their September layover in Ohio, between games at Minnesota and New York.
"He said to me, 'I just want to play. I just want to play. I just want my opportunity,' " Davis recalled. "I could see the fire in his eyes. He just wanted to prove what he could do."
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