Chip Kelly says Blaine Gabbert has what it takes to be “the next Sam Bradford”

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SANTA CLARA, CA — New 49ers head coach Chip Kelly bestowed upon his new quarterback some of the highest praise he can today, saying Blaine Gabbert has the potential to be a Sam Bradford-type player in the NFL.

“I think a lot of people forget because Blaine was drafted five years ago and already played for another organization — he’s a young guy still,” said Kelly. “Only 26-years old. That’s why I think the future is still ahead of him. Now, he still has a long way to go, but do I think he can be the next Sam Bradford? Or at least get close to that kind of level? I sure do.”

Reporters asked Kelly if he was intending to compliment Gabbert with the comparison to Bradford, the oft-injured former No. 1 overall pick with an 81.0 career QB rating.

“Damn right it’s a compliment,” said Kelly. “Sam is the best quarterback I’ve had the opportunity to see up close, day-to-day, since I came to the NFL. I think Sam has proven he’s an even better quarterback than Mark Sanchez, Nick Foles and Matt Barkley. And Blaine deserves to be in the conversation with all of them. He really does.”

Gabbert was later asked about his coach’s comments, and first requested to clarify what Kelly exactly said.

“So, you’re sure he said my ceiling is Sam Bradford,” said Gabbert. Assured that was what the coach said, Gabbert sat quietly for several seconds at his locker, staring into the middle distance. He then excused himself and was later seen sobbing in a hallway outside the team’s locker room.