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Packers-Niners Question When Kaepernick Can Be Hit

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick runs off the field after throwing a touchdown pass against the Green Bay Packers in the sec
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick runs off the field after throwing a touchdown pass against the Green Bay Packers in the sec

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (LEARFIELD-WSAU) San Francisco 49'ers coach Jim Harbaugh has asked the N-F-L for a clarification on when quarterback Colin Kaepernick loses his protection in the pocket during his read-option plays. 

The Green Bay Packers open their regular season against the Niners on Sunday in northern California.  Packers' middle linebacker Clay Matthews promised a more aggressive defensive stand against Kaepernick, who ran for 181 yards in the Niners' playoff win over Green Bay in January. 

The Packers believe that Kaepernick can be legally hit not only if he carries the ball and doesn't slide -- but also when he pulls off a run-fake after a handoff, whether he's in the pocket or not.  Matthews told reporters yesterday that when a quarterback carries out a play-fake, he loses his protections as a passer in the pocket.  He says the Packers' believe their defensive game plan is within the rules.  Matthews said a lot would be determined by the calls in Week-One. 

Niners' coach Harbaugh said he does not expect an answer from the league office this week on a clarification of the rules.  He says he'll talk about it with the officials just before Sunday afternoon's contest. 

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