Dear Colin Kaepernick,

Born in Turlock, California in 1964, Richard Paolinelli began his writing career as a freelance writer in 1984 in Odessa, TX and gained his first fiction credit serving as the lead writer for the first two issues of the Elite Comics sci-fi/fantasy series, Seadragon.

You and I both hail from Turlock, California – well, I was actually born there while you were born in Wisconsin and then adopted by a family that later moved to Turlock – but we both spent significant portions of our youth in that Central Valley city in California.

Of course, I was there when it was still a small little town of less than 18,000 and if I recall the numbers correctly there was at least 60,000 living there when your family arrived.

Our career paths have taken us away from Turlock but I like to think we’re still small town kids at heart. Which is why I’m writing you today. I got to interview you at the end of the 2010 college football season, when you were about to lead the University of HB_001Nevada against Boston College in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco. Here’s a picture I took of you coming out onto the field just before kickoff. Your team went on to win that game. But what I took away from the week of that game was how nice a kid you were and I hoped you would become the latest in a storied line of Turlock kids – and the first from Pitman High – to make it in the NFL.

Here’s a picture I took of you coming out onto the field just before kickoff. Your team went on to win that game. But what I took away from the week of that game was how nice a kid you were and I hoped you would become the latest in a storied line of Turlock kids – and the first from Pitman High – to make it in the NFL.

I, like many people in Turlock, were overjoyed when you were drafted by