Colin Kaepernick is going to start for the 49ers for the first time in 11 months

colin kaepernick Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly announced on Tuesday that Colin Kaepernick will be the starting quarterback for Week 6.

Kaepernick’s start against the Buffalo Bills will be his first start in 11 months, dating back to Week 8 of the 2015 season when he played the then-St. Louis Rams.

Kelly had said after the team’s Week 5 loss to the Arizona Cardinals that he was considering all options on the team, including making a change at quarterback.

Through five weeks, starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert has been unimpressive, throwing for five touchdowns and six interceptions, with a 69.6 passer rating. He’s averaging just 178 yards per game and 5.9 yards per pass attempt. Gabbert had finished the 2015 season strong for the 49ers, replacing Kaepernick, and won the starting job over Kaepernick in training camp this year, in part because Kaepernick was recovering from offseason surgeries.

The offseason surgeries (to his knee, shoulder, and thumb) remain significant, in part because Kaepernick lost a ton of weight over the offseason while he recovered from them. Kelly admitted earlier this season that he wanted Kaepernick to get closer to his previous playing weight of 225 lb. before committing to him as a starter.

Though Kaepernick played in the preseason, the NFL world hasn’t gotten a good look at him in Kelly’s offense, which many thought would benefit Kaepernick. Additionally, he hasn’t started a regular-season NFL game in almost one year, and will be taking the reins of an offense that lacks many significant weapons. Suffice to say, it may be a bumpy road for Kaepernick against a surging Bills team.

The 49ers and Kaepernick are reportedly working on restructuring his contract so that he’s owed less money if he gets injured and could become a free agent this offseason. Week 6 may provide some helpful insight into how Kaepernick is as a QB at this moment and what his future in the NFL may look like.

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