Colin Kaepernick

XFL Commissioner On Manziel, Kaepernick

The XFL is still weeks away from its relaunch, but Vince McMahon’s second try at professional football has already come under fire for its refusal to allow players to leave for the NFL. In an interview with Thomas Bassinger of the Tampa Bay Times, commissioner Oliver Luck made it clear that the policy won’t change anytime soon. 

If there’s one thing we learned from watching the Alliance it was that quarterback play is critical,” Luck said. “In the game of football today — whether it’s pro, college or even high school arguably — your quarterback play is determinative. So we made an effort to sign guys, some of whom played in the AAF but the vast majority didn’t.”

The league’s policy already prevented Josh Johnson from joining the Lions back in November. Critics felt that the XFL should have allowed the veteran to go to Detroit, but Luck & Co. held him to his commitment with the Los Angeles Wildcats.

We said, ‘No, we’re keeping him. He ours. He signed a contract. He’s committed to us,’” Luck said. “Once a player signs a contract — once he passes his physical and signs a contract — then he’s under contract with us. We won’t release that player to the NFL until after our season. We need certainty. We can’t just have guys peeling off.”

Luck also disclosed that the Steelers inquired on Landry Jones and Phillip Walker after Ben Roethlisberger‘s injury. The XFL, of course, turned down both requests.

While the XFL protects its own signal callers, they won’t go chasing the two biggest names on the open market. Luck sounded less than enthusiastic about the possibility of Johnny Manziel and Colin Kaepernick joining the fledgling league.

“Johnny has his own history, and we have coaches from the CFL who have seen him close up,” Luck said when asked about Johnny Football. “He was in the draft pool. Coaches and scouts looked at him and didn’t think he was going to help their team. I think the guys we have on our teams are the best 560 that aren’t playing in the National Football League.”

As for Kaepernick, Luck characterized his “salary demands” as being “way out of [the XFL’s] ballpark.” As a result, he was “never really a viable option,” for the league.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Roger Goodell Consulted With Owners On Kaepernick Workout

There was a lot that was unclear surrounding the circumstances of how the recent Colin Kaepernick workout came to be. We heard a couple of weeks ago that commissioner Roger Goodell made the decision to organize the workout himself, and in an unusual way. He reportedly didn’t seek counsel from his usual group of advisers, and even solicited advice from rapper Jay-Z on multiple occasions about how to proceed with Kaepernick. 

It was also reported at the time that teams and personnel departments were caught off-guard by the hastily organized workout, but at least some clubs apparently had advanced knowledge. That’s because Goodell “spent months building a caucus and lobbying owners in preparation for a possible workout,” sources told Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. La Canfora reports that Goodell spent a lot of time talking with Robert Kraft, Stephen Ross, Arthur Blank, Jed York and Jeffrey Lurie, owners of the Patriots, Dolphins, Falcons, 49ers, and Eagles, among others.

La Canfora adds that Goodell would then report back to Jay-Z’s team every few weeks what kind of feedback he was getting from the owners. One source told JLC that Goodell spoke to at least ten owners. The article gives the continued impression that Goodell was extremely motivated to pushback on the criticism he and the league had received in the media for their handling of the Kaepernick situation. The same source said Goodell went into “overdrive” behind the scenes after Kaep’s team issued a statement blasting the league in October for the persistent lack of interest despite numerous quarterback injuries.

All this new reporting would seem to go against the narrative that the workout was a tightly-kept secret in league circles. Obviously the organization of the actual workout itself was haphazard, and it ended up falling apart. Not that this is any surprise, but sources also told JLC that the Nevada product has “yet to receive any feelers” from teams after the workout, which is consistent with everything we’ve heard up to this point.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Teams Uninterested In Kaepernick

In the week since Colin Kaepernick worked out for seven NFL teams at Charles R. Drew High School in Riverdale, Georgia, no teams have reached out to work him out, visit with him, or sign him, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Kaepernick’s representatives sent video of their client’s workout to the 25 NFL teams that did not attend last Saturday, but that has not led to any interest, either. This report runs contrary to a claim his attorney, Mark Geragos, made on The Adam Carolla podcast earlier this week during which he stated that two teams had shown interest in the quarterback.

According to Schefter, some sources speculated that there had been teams interested in making a move with Kaepernick, and could in the weeks after his workout. But nothing has materialized, and nothing is expected to at this time. 

After completing his 40-minute workout on November 16, Kaepernick said he’s ready for another opportunity and wants the league to “stop running” from him.

“I’ve been ready for three years,” Kaepernick said. “I’ve been denied for three years. We all know why I came out here. I showed it today in front of everybody. We have nothing to hide. So we’re waiting for the 32 owners, 32 teams, Roger Goodell, all of them to stop running. Stop running from the truth. Stop running from the people.”

The NFL originally scheduled Kaepernick’s workout to take place at the Falcons’ practice facility, but Kaepernick’s camp switched venues after a disagreement between the two sides on the quarterback’s liability waiver and media availability, among other factors. In a statement, the NFL said it was “disappointed that Colin did not appear for his workout.”

The change in venue interrupted schedules for many of the 25 teams that were set to watch Kaepernick at the original site, but Kaepernick still threw in front of representatives from the 49ers, Eagles, Chiefs, Jets, Redskins, Lions, and Titans.

Kaepernick, 32, who once quarterbacked the 49ers to the Super Bowl, has not played a down of football since the 2016 season. In that season, he threw for 2,241 passing yards, 16 touchdown passes, and four interceptions in 12 games. Through 69 career games, Kaepernick has racked up 12,271 passing yards, 72 touchdowns, and 30 interceptions.

NFC Rumors: Kaepernick, 49ers, Panthers

The only team connected to Colin Kaepernick since his 49ers run ended, the Seahawks had a representative in Atlanta for the free agent quarterback’s workout Saturday. However, they were one of the many teams who opted not to trek from the Falcons’ Flowery Branch, Ga., facility to Riverdale. Roughly an hour separates these Atlanta-area locales, and 18 teams on hand for the would-be showcase at the NFL facility did not travel to the high school where the workout ended up occurring.

Disappointed,” Pete Carroll said of the Seahawks missing the workout, via Curtis Crabtree of Sports Radio 950 KJR (via Pro Football Talk). “We had planned to be at that workout. It got changed around, and we couldn’t hang with it. Unfortunately, we sent somebody, but we couldn’t stay with the changes that happened. We missed it. We were real curious. I was real curious to see how the workout went. Just competing as always, you know.”

While Carroll said he has seen some of the workout, no team has yet expressed interest in the 32-year-old passer. Kaepernick’s agent is not optimistic a deal will materialize. The Seahawks met with Kaepernick in 2017 but cancelled a 2018 summit.

Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • In a state-of-the-union-style address, Panthers owner David Tepper asked that no Ron Rivera– or Marty Hurney-related questions be asked. The second-year owner said multiple times this week he will not accept mediocrity, via Joseph Person of The Athletic (subscription required). Carolina made the playoffs four times from 2013-17 but is 12-14 since. Tepper overhauled the Panthers’ business operations since taking over and considered making major football-ops changes after last season. Rivera is signed through the 2020 season. With Hurney also rehired as GMbefore Tepper took over, it is safe to assume both decision-makers’ jobs will be on the line over the season’s final six weeks.
  • Tepper did discuss Cam Newton‘s status, indicating the quarterback’s foot injury would be factored into the overall evaluation of the team and that no decision will be made on Newton until he is healthy again. With that potentially being months away, teams interested in trading for the former MVP may have to adjust their offseason blueprints. Tepper added that ideally Newton would be back and lead the Panthers to another Super Bowl but did not guarantee the 30-year-old passer would return.
  • The 49ers‘ retooled roster has restored the franchise as an NFC contender after five years off the radar. The team should not be expected to be a major player in 2020 free agency, per Matt Barrows of The Athletic (subscription required). However, the one exception would be at receiver, Barrows adds. Kyle Shanahan opted against adding a big-ticket receiver in 2018 or ’19, after 2017’s failed Pierre Garcon move. But the team traded for Emmanuel Sanders this year to address a key need. Sanders is a free agent at season’s end. The 2020 UFA receiver class as of now includes Amari Cooper, A.J. Green, Robby Anderson and Josh Gordon. But with Cooper and Green candidates to stay in their respective cities, this receiver class could be thin.
  • On the subject of NFC receiver situations, Cowboys wideout Noah Brown will not play this season. Stashed on Dallas’ PUP list after a June knee surgery, Brown recently underwent another procedure, Todd Archer of ESPN.com notes. The 2017 seventh-round pick played in 21 Cowboys games between 2017-18. He is expected to be ready for the team’s offseason program.

Colin Kaepernick’s Agent Not Optimistic Kaepernick Will Be Signed

NOV. 18: Kaepernick’s camp sent the video of the workout to all 32 teams on Sunday night, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets. Nalley has reiterated his client’s willingness to interview and work out at any team’s facility.

NOV. 17: Prior to Saturday’s much-ballyhooed showcase for free agent QB Colin Kaepernick, two primary points of contention emerged between the league and Kaepernick’s camp: the waiver that the league wanted Kaepernick to sign, and the fact that the league did not allow Kaepernick to bring in an independent film crew to tape the workout.

The waiver issue sparked a great deal of debate, with prominent writers like Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk suggesting that the NFL was trying to back Kaepernick into a corner by making him sign a non-standard waiver that would have had him release any employment-related claims that might have arisen after the two sides settled Kaepernick’s collusion case in February. However, as Mike Jones of USA Today writes, the language of the league’s proposed waiver was very similar to language included in waivers for other rookie camps and free agent tryouts, and after reviewing the waiver itself, Florio did back off of his earlier argument a bit. He believes that, while the NFL’s waiver did not specifically target employment-related claims, Kaepernick’s camp was right to at least be skeptical of certain provisions in the waiver.

But Steve Wyche of the NFL Network, citing Kaepernick’s agent, Jeff Nalley, says that the independent filming issue — and not the waiver issue — was the more pressing concern (Twitter link). The consensus among most NFL writers and analysts appears to be that both the NFL and Kaepernick’s team share some of the blame for the fact that the workout did not go particularly smoothly. Indeed, as Jim Trotter of the NFL Network tweets, the league should not have announced the workout prior to resolving all potential areas of conflict, but Kaepernick should have accepted that he can’t call every shot.

Similarly, Jones opines that Kaepernick did not prove that he can carry himself with flexibility and professionalism, and he did not prove that he can take care of business with minimal fanfare. The fact that he inconvenienced over 20 NFL scouts by changing the workout location at the last minute does nothing to undermine the arguments of his detractors who believe he is not fully committed to playing again unless it’s entirely on his terms.

Perhaps as a result of that reality, Nalley says he is not optimistic that his client will sign with an NFL team (video link via Wyche). Nalley does appreciate the fact that the NFL was able to assemble a large contingent of clubs willing to at least give Kaepernick a look, and he concedes that it could be a step in the right direction.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com passes along a scouting report of the workout itself, which is mostly positive except that it suggests Kaepernick’s accuracy and touch were shaky, especially on deep balls (Twitter link). The report indicated that Kaepernick is good enough to be on an NFL roster, but probably as a backup.

Meanwhile, although the Bills were initially reported Sunday morning as the “mystery team” that followed Kaepernick to the new workout location — only eight of the original 25 clubs that agreed to attend at the original site made the trek to the new site — Schefter says Buffalo did not, in fact, have any reps in attendance (Twitter link). As such, we’re still awaiting word on who the mystery team was.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Tagovailoa, Kaepernick

The latest on the two quarterbacks who have been dominating headlines today as we await kickoff tomorrow:

  • Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has already been ruled out for the rest of the season, and there has been some concern his hip-injury could be career-threatening or career-altering. Alabama took the rare step of having their team surgeon release a statement (via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network on Twitter), saying that Tagovailoa is “expected to make a full recovery.” That’s obviously great news, and hopefully it turns out to be more than just wishful thinking.
  • Tagovailoa was widely expected to be taken early in the first-round of April’s NFL draft, and his injury will now have a huge ripple effect. He can choose to head to the NFL and risk a huge dip in his draft stock, or he can still return to Alabama for his senior season. Everyone has been talking about his career being in jeopardy or how far he’ll tumble in the draft, but he also has the option of coming back for the Crimson Tide and proving his health before entering the draft in 2021. To that end, “it would be a complete shock” if Tagovailoa enters the 2020 draft now, opines Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). With such little clarity on a timetable it’s hard to predict anything, but it’s an interesting thought nonetheless.
  • Another area of dispute has emerged between the NFL and Colin Kaepernick‘s camp. The league said in statements that Nike wanted to shoot footage from the workout and use it in a commercial, but the apparel company is now denying those claims. Nike “was not on hand to film Colin Kaepernick’s workout,” a source confirmed to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), who also writes that “Nike is currently trying to get the NFL to retract that statement.”
  • After Kaepernick shifted the workout to a new location, most of the 25 teams on-hand didn’t follow him there. We previously heard that the Redskins, Eagles, 49ers, Chiefs, Jets, Titans, and Lions showed up at the new workout site to watch him throw, and there was apparently an additional mystery team there. Kaepernick’s reps said there was an eighth and as of yet unidentified team scouting, according to a tweet from Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com.
  • There was also a point of contention between the league and Kaep’s reps over the waiver that was asked to be signed. The NFL claims it asked the quarterback to sign a standard waiver, and that his team made unreasonable changes to it. You can view the waiver the league sent out courtesy of this tweet sent out by Dianna Russini of ESPN.com, and in subsequent tweets Russini breaks down the relatively mundane details. It doesn’t seem like there’s anything that interesting in the waiver battle.

Latest On Colin Kaepernick Workout

Free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick completed one of the most unique workouts in NFL history this afternoon. The NFL offered to stage a workout for the quarterback earlier this week. However, Kaepernick’s team became weary of the league’s intentions when his representatives were refused in their requests to open the event to the public. In a last minute decision, Kaepernick’s representation moved the event from the Falcons facility to a public location on their own.

Here’s the latest on the workout and its aftermath:

  • When the venue was changed, the NFL released a public statement on NFL.com that expressed they were “disappointed” with Kaepernick’s choice not to participate in the workout they had organized. They claimed “Twenty-five (25) clubs were present for the workout, and all 32 clubs, their head coaches, general managers, and other personnel executives would have received video footage of the interview and workout.” The league also felt the need to note they “made considerable effort to work cooperatively with Colin’s representatives,” among a list of other points that attempted to counter some narratives that the league had been purposely opaque in their negotiations.
  • The league also tweeted out from the league’s official account a thread reiterating some main points from the press release. One key point from the league’s perspective, “Colin moved his workout to a facility an hour from Atlanta Falcons Flowery Branch facility. No one got a heads up until NFL saw the Twitter statement.”
  • Former Raiders and Browns head coach Hue Jackson was scheduled to run the workout orchestrated by the NFL. However, while Kaepernick’s team invited Jackson to run the workout at the new venue, Jackson returned to the airport, according to Michael Silver of NFL.com.
  • WR Bruce Ellington, WR Brice Butler, WR Jordan Veasy, TE/WR Ari Werts, and Panthers S Eric Reid were on the field with Kaepernick for the workout, according to Kaylee Harung of ABC News. The free-agent receivers were likely hoping to catch the eyes of scouts present to view Kaepernick, while Reid has been one of the most consistent advocated for Kaepernick in the league.
  • One claim in the announcement made by Kaepernick’s representatives was that the league required he sign an agreement that included language to limit his ability to bring claims against the league. Of course, given Kaepernick’s previous collusion lawsuit against the league, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk argues the workout was a ploy by the league to put Kaepernick “in legal checkmate.”
  • In the end, there were not nearly as many teams present at Kaepernick’s workout as the NFL claimed would have been present for the workout they had planned. The Washington football team, Eagles, 49ers, Chiefs, Jets, Titans, and Lions were the teams present for his workout, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.
  • The 2-hour workout was streamed on YouTube and consistently maintained roughly 45,000 viewers. On the field, one NFL executive described Kaepernick’s arm talent as “elite” and on the same level as “when he came out of college,” according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.
  • Teams that had personnel present for the workout noted that the workout consisted of 60 throws and “Basically showed he’s the same guy he was,” according to Albert Breer of MMQB. After the workout, Kaepernick did not hold any formal interviews, but in his closing remarks said he would hold an interview with any team. He also thanked his fans for their support and reiterated, “I’ve been ready. I’m staying ready. And I’ll continue to be ready….The ball’s in their court. We’re ready to go.”

Latest On Colin Kaepernick Workout

Colin Kaepernick‘s Saturday workout will not go according to the NFL’s plan. The quarterback’s camp changed the venue. Instead of the session commencing at the Falcons’ Flowery Branch, Ga., facility, Kaepernick will work out at a different location.

The NFL declined to allow media into the workout, which went against Kaepernick’s wishes for transparency, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). Kaepernick’s representatives have rescheduled the workout for 3pm CT, moving it back an hour. Charles Drew High School in Riverdale, Ga., will serve as the new venue, according to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (on Twitter).

From the outset, Mr. Kaepernick requested a legitimate process and from the outset the NFL office has not provided one,” Kaepernick reps Ben Miselas and Jeff Nalley said in a statement (Twitter link). “Most recently, the NFL has demanded that as a precondition to the workout, Mr. Kaepernick sign an unusual liability waiver that addresses employment-related issues and rejected the standard liability waiver from physical injury proposed by Mr. Kaepernick’s representatives.

Additionally, Mr. Kaepernick requested all media be allowed into the workout to observe and film it and for an independent film crew to be there to ensure transparency. The NFL denied this request. … Mr. Kaepernick still looks forward to seeing the representatives from the clubs today.”

Kaepernick’s camp requested to record the workout alongside the NFL’s camera crew, according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com (on Twitter); the group did not trust a process with the NFL being the only party with the tape. When the league refused that arrangement, Kaepernick requested media be permitted to view the session. When that was nixed, the quarterback ditched the previous setup, Robinson tweets. This distrust should not surprise given the contentious history between the former Super Bowl starter and the league.

More than three-fourths of the league will send reps to watch the ex-49ers starter throw. While there will not be head coaches or GMs on hand, Steve Wyche of NFL.com reports (video link) many pro personnel heads and scouting directors are in Atlanta. Some execs on hand are believed to be in consideration for future GM jobs, a sign some teams are taking this workout seriously. However, some may not be. Some teams may have been there only because of the NFL’s request, Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com tweets.

The NFL was set to provide three wide receivers to participate, per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Considering this 11th-hour venue change, it’s possible that will no longer happen. However, ex-Kaepernick teammate Bruce Ellington will be there, with Fowler adding the 32-year-old free agent will bring up to five wideouts to the workout.

The Panthers will not be among the 25 teams in Atlanta for the workout, per The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue (on Twitter). This is interesting given Carolina’s quarterback uncertainty and employment of Eric Reid, who joined Kaepernick in alleging collusion against the NFL. Per Reid, Panthers owner David Tepper told him the team was not planning to add a veteran quarterback.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Brady, Rudolph, Garrett, Kaep

There’s been a lot of talk about Tom Brady‘s future this season, and whether he plans on continuing to play with the Patriots beyond 2019. Set to be a free agent after this season, there have been rumors Brady could wind up with a different team. A recent Adam Schefter report indicated retirement was also an option, although that would be at odds with Brady’s stated desire to play until he’s 45. According to his longtime friend and personal trainer Alex Guerrero, he could go well beyond that. Guerrero made a recent radio appearance on WEEI, and made it sound like Brady doesn’t plan on stepping away anytime soon.

“No one thought you could play at the elite level in your late 30s, early 40s. That is something we always felt we could do. I have really wanted to be there to help him accomplish that goal. I certainly do believe that 45 is a very realistic goal,” Guerrero said. “We talk about it all the time. Every year he just adds another year. He goes in and he’s like, ‘Guys, I feel so good still. I think I am going to go till 45.’ I am like, ‘OK.’ Now he’s like, ‘Alex, I think I can go like 46 or 47.’” If Brady does really want to go all the way to 47, that means we could have another five years of the legendary Patriots signal-caller. Guerrero is one of Brady’s closest confidants, and he’s certainly in the know. During the interview, he also emphatically denied reports of tension between himself and the organization.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • The fallout from the Browns/Steelers brawl isn’t going to get any crazier than it already is. Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph will not take legal action against Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Rapoport writes that “Rudolph considers the situation to be exclusively an NFL matter.” The fact that it was even a consideration underscores just how wild last night’s events were. Rudolph’s agent had even intimated on Twitter that they were seriously considering pursuing a lawsuit or prosecution. In case you somehow missed it, Garrett has been suspended indefinitely, while Maurkice Pouncey got a three-game ban and Rudolph was fined.
  • There’s been a lot of mystery surrounding Saturday’s Colin Kaepernick workout, and the last we heard at least 24 teams were slated to attend. Commissioner Roger Goodell apparently made the decision to have the workout without consulting his usual advisers, and made the call in an impromptu fashion. He obviously wants it to go off without a hitch, and is determined not to have it be a PR nightmare. To that end, a source told Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com that there is “zero doubt the league office is twisting arms” to get teams to show up (Twitter link). The whole thing has been a bit bizarre, and the league has been accused by Kaepernick’s allies of setting it up for failure.
  • The league has switched course and said they won’t provide Kaepernick’s reps with a list of those attending, and Florio’s report would seem to indicate there won’t be many top decision-makers at the workout. It’s been unclear whether there would only be low-level scouts on-hand, but the Broncos at least seem to be taking it seriously. Denver is sending top pro scout Jordan Dizon to the workout, according to Mike Klis of Denver 9News.

Latest On Colin Kaepernick Workout

Last night, we heard that there were 11 NFL teams slated to attend Colin Kaepernick‘s workout in Atlanta on Saturday. That number has apparently already increased dramatically. “More than 24” teams are now expected to be at the showcase, sources told Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

The league recently reversed course and declined to give Kaepernick or his reps a list of who would be attending. It’s unclear at the moment if there will be any high level execs or coaches in attendance, or if it will mostly be lower-level scouts. Meanwhile, Kaepernick has arrived in Atlanta and is preparing for the workout as of this morning, Schefter tweets. In the same tweet, Schefter notes that since the league wouldn’t provide names of the receivers they were going to have on-hand for the workout, Kaepernick is “taking up the former NFL WRs who volunteered to fly in on their own to help him at workout.”

No word yet on who those former NFL receivers are, but there could be some big names. What has never been made clear is how the workout came to be or who exactly came up with the idea. Interestingly, the decision was apparently “made at the highest level of leadership and with the exclusion of many of commissioner Roger Goodell’s usual advisers,” sources told Mike Jones of USA Today.

Jones writes that in addition to team personnel departments and players, people within the league office were surprised by the news on Tuesday as well. Jones also reports that Goodell had “many discussions” on the Kaepernick issue with Jay-Z, a partner in the league’s new social justice initiative. It sounds like the workout came at the direct behest of Goodell, who is apparently looking to quash the criticism the league has faced the past few years for their handling of Kaepernick.

Teams apparently inquired with the league office about Kaepernick’s readiness, but those inquiries were apparently made with an eye toward 2020 rather than the rest of this season. It’ll be interesting to see if anything comes of the workout, and we should know more soon.