Colin Kaepernick

Latest On Colin Kaepernick

It’s looking more and more likely that Colin Kaepernick will be “back in the league soon,” Mike Garafolo of NFL.com reports (via Twitter). Multiple teams have been doing their homework on the quarterback, though those teams reportedly have not reached out to Kaep directly.

Garafolo’s sources tell him that teams have been in communication with people close to Kaepernick, even if they haven’t chatted with the QB or his agent. Garafolo’s understanding is that they’re first looking to do their research and gauge Kaepernick’s interest in joining. If those teams are satisfied with what they find and confident that they can come to terms, they’ll engage in contract talks.

Of course, that’s not the typical order of operations for free agents, but Kaepernick is anything but the typical free agent. It’s fair to wonder whether some teams are looking to keep their interest on the hush in order to avoid a PR backlash. Still, some NFL officials have been willing to go on the record in favor of Kaepernick. Recently, newly appointed Lions principal owner Shiela Ford Hamp said that she would authorize the signing Kaep if her football people wanted him on the team.

Kaep also found support from Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, who said that he should be on every club’s emergency workout list. Meanwhile, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll recently expressed regret over not signing Kaepernick back in 2017.

Kaepernick, 33 in November, has not played since the 2016 season. But, based on what we’ve been hearing lately, it sounds like he could be back on the field in 2020.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lions Notes: COVID, Stafford, Kaepernick

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has authorized the return of professional sports, as we learned earlier this morning. She made it clear that capacity crowds will not be permitted until there is a COVID-19 vaccine, but Lions team president Rod Wood is trying to get Ford Field opened up to fans just the same. Wood released the following statement via the team’s official Twitter account.

“Governor Whitmer’s most recent Executive Order is an exciting step forward in our preparation for the 2020 season. We are working closely with her office to evaluate when and how we can safely play in front of our fans. With nearly 3 months until our regular season home opener at Ford Field, I’m optimistic and encouraged by our progress.”

It seems that most, if not all, teams will be playing in front of empty or partially-full stadiums in 2020, and Wood is hopeful that his club will be able to generate at least some gate revenue this year.

Now for more on the Lions:

  • Lions QB Matthew Stafford has been saying for some time that he is fully healthy, and the team posted a brief video clip of its signal-caller working out with teammates, which suggests that Stafford is indeed ready to go (Twitter link). While that’s certainly encouraging, it’s also notable that the workout is in contravention of the advice of NFLPA medical director Thom Mayer, who said players should not be practicing together privately. Stafford is by no means the only QB1 to be participating in workouts, and as Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com writes, the 32-year-old signal-caller has made adjustments to try and keep himself and his teammates healthy.
  • Sheila Ford Hamp will take over her mother’s duties as principal owner and chairperson of the Lions, and she said she is going to take a very hands-on approach (Twitter link via Rothstein). Given Lions fans’ general feelings towards the Ford family, that may or may not be welcome, but Hamp said her first course of business will be to meet with members of the organization’s departments that she is less familiar with. As Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press tweets, Hamp specifically noted that she wants to learn more about the analytics side of the operation.
  • Hamp has also said that she would sign off on the team’s acquisition of QB Colin Kaepernick if her football people thought it was in the club’s best interests (video link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). The Lions, though, appear to be an imperfect schematic fit for Kaepernick, and in any event, neither Detroit nor any other club has reached out to him yet.

No Teams Have Reached Out To Colin Kaepernick

Earlier this month, we heard that there has been significant recent interest in free agent signal-caller Colin Kaepernick, much more than there has been in the past several years. Given the sustained nationwide outcry over George Floyd’s death at the hands of the police, as well as recent statements made by commissioner Roger Goodell, it seems that clubs are increasingly amenable to signing Kaepernick.

But according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, if teams are indeed interested, they have not let Kaepernick or his agent know about it. So while it’s possible that clubs are simply waiting to pull the trigger until they can bring him in to their facilities — which is why a number of high-profile free agents are still on the market — it’s also possible that the general push to see Kaepernick back in the league may eventually blow over without him getting another opportunity.

Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said that Kaepernick should be on every team’s emergency workout list, but he has not spoken with the 32-year-old passer directly and does not have immediate plans to bring him in for a look. Meanwhile, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll recently expressed regret over not signing Kaepernick after he took a free agent visit in 2017, but Seattle is not interested at this time.

As Kaepernick has not played in an NFL game since 2016, any team that does sign him would obviously view him as a backup. Presumably, such a team would be one with a mobile starting quarterback and an offensive system that plays to its QB’s running abilities.

Kaepernick took the league by storm in 2012, when he led the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance. And while he was solid the following year, his play subsequently began to taper off, and he was ultimately benched in favor of Blaine Gabbert in 2015. Gabbert won the starting job prior to the start of the 2016 campaign, though Kaepernick replaced Gabbert a few weeks into the season and played pretty well down the stretch.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colin Kaepernick NFL Return Gaining Steam?

Although Colin Kaepernick has not played since the 2016 season, the quarterback has remained a fixture in NFL news cycles for most of his free agency stay. And momentum appears to be growing for the former 49ers passer to receive another opportunity.

In discussing Kaepernick with some NFL head coaches, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport indicates there is “far, far more interest” in the 32-year-old passer now than there probably has been since he became a free agent in March 2017 (video link). While a few hurdles would remain — particularly in this coronavirus-marred offseason — Rapoport adds that teams’ interest in Kaepernick for a backup job is “very real.”

It has been well-documented the former Super Bowl starter has received only one opportunity to visit a team; that came with the Seahawks in 2017. Pete Carroll said he now regrets not signing him at that point but added that his team is content at quarterback now. Although a handful of teams stayed in Atlanta for the NFL-organized workout Kaepernick rearranged at the 11th hour last fall, no franchise has brought in the polarizing free agent since the Seahawks did so in during the summer of 2017.

Kaepernick had drifted off the NFL radar to a degree after his workout last year, but the worldwide protests against systemic racism and police brutality over the past three weeks have reignited the push for the player that started the NFL protests on this front to receive another chance. Roger Goodell called for Kaepernick to be given another opportunity this week.

It will take a team to make that happen, and much like Cam Newton, Kaepernick would likely have to wait until free agents are allowed to visit teams to have the chance to sign anywhere. That window may not open until late July, when training camps begin. That said, recent Jets signee Joe Flacco is not expected to be recovered from neck surgery until at least September. Newton would rank higher on quarterback-needy teams’ pecking orders than Kaepernick, but the former MVP profiles more as a starter — potentially if a team’s QB1 suffers an injury. Kaepernick interest appears to be contingent on a backup gig.

One of the teams connected to Newton this offseason discussed Kaepernick on Wednesday. Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said (via Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com) Kaepernick would fit his system but added that such an opportunity would likely be contingent on an emergency-type situation (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Andrew Siciliano). Lynn said he has not spoken with Kaepernick.

While ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler notes (via Twitter) the Chargers have come up around the league as a potential Kaepernick fit, joining the Titans in that regard, Lynn said he was happy with the three quarterbacks he has. The Bolts — they of a Tyrod TaylorJustin HerbertEaston Stick QB depth chart — having passed on Newton earlier this year provides a pretty good indication they are content at quarterback for the time being.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pete Carroll Regrets Not Signing Colin Kaepernick In 2017

The only team to invite Colin Kaepernick for a visit since he became a free agent in 2017, the Seahawks remain tied to the quarterback’s lengthy saga. Pete Carroll now regrets not signing the former 49ers passer then, given the information he now possesses.

The 11th-year Seahawks coach said he views a potential Kaepernick addition then as a missed opportunity “knowing what we know now,” per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (Twitter link). Carroll said in 2017 he viewed Kaepernick as a starter, and with Russell Wilson in the fold, the Seahawks moved on. It is unclear what salary demands Kaepernick had at that point, and the Seahawks — with Wilson never missing a start — were able to get away with lower-level backup quarterbacks in 2017 and ’18.

Carroll said Thursday he assumed someone else would sign Kaepernick — via Condotta, on Twitter — but until last year’s NFL-organized (then Kaepernick-rearranged) workout, the free agent quarterback did not receive another opportunity.

While the Seahawks’ Wilson-fronted QB structure remains the same three years later, Carroll said the team is not interested in Kaepernick now, Condotta tweets. The Seahawks re-signed Geno Smith earlier this offseason and added Anthony Gordon as a UDFA. Carroll did say he received a phone call Thursday from another team on Kaepernick. This marks the first such call he’s received, per Condotta (on Twitter).

Although Kaepernick had drifted off the NFL radar after his workout last year, numerous players have pushed for him to receive another chance in recent days. George Floyd’s death continues to ignite protests around the world. Teams across the sports world have issued statements denouncing systemic racism, and Roger Goodell made a speech on the subject last week. While the commissioner did not mention Kaepernick by name, the player who started the protest movement in the NFL has naturally been a frequent conversation topic in light of current events.

Kaepernick, now 32, reportedly continues to train for a potential opportunity. After the quarterback settled a collusion grievance with the league and made last-minute changes to a workout invite, it would probably be the most notable free agent addition in NFL history were the former 49ers starter to catch on with another team.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Makes 10-Year, $250MM Pledge To Combat Systemic Racism

The NFL on Thursday pledged to commit $250MM over a 10-year period to help fight systemic racism, Judy Battista of NFL.com reports.

This comes years after the league launched a program to address police brutality in communities. The initial pledge came after numerous players began following Colin Kaepernick‘s lead and waging pregame protests against police brutality and systemic racism. With nationwide protests continuing since George Floyd’s death last month in Minneapolis — several of which involving NFL players — this issue has become a central league matter.

Kaepernick has been at the forefront of this movement since he began taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem in 2016. The former 49ers quarterback has not played since that season and has only made one visit over the past four offseasons. Kaepernick since filed a grievance with the league, which he settled last year, and made an 11th-hour change to his NFL-organized 2019 workout in Atlanta.

Despite this, a person familiar with the NFL’s program said the league would be open to working with Kaepernick on social justice initiatives.

We wouldn’t be where we are today without the work Colin and other players have led off,” the person told Battista. “That is a key point here. We listened to our players. We needed to listen more; we needed to move faster. We heard them and launched a social justice platform because of what Colin was protesting about. The players have always been an essential piece of this effort and this campaign.

“It would be awesome to engage Colin on some of the work we are doing. He’s doing real impactful work. Getting him in some way would be amazing for us. There’s a lot of work to do to get to that point. We’re certainly open and willing to do that.”

Considering the acrimony between the NFL and Kaepernick, it obviously would be notable if the sides ever worked together again. Now 32, Kaepernick has reportedly continued to train in hopes of receiving a chance to return to the league.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick‘s name is back in the NFL news cycle and he’s “more motivated than ever” to return to the field, a source close to the quarterback tells Mike Florio of PFT.

[RELATED: Hue Jackson Says He Wanted Browns To Sign Kaepernick]

Kaepernick – despite the “retired” tag briefly displayed on his NFL player page recently – remains a free agent. He hasn’t played since January 1, 2017 and over the last three years, Kaep’s camp has insisted that he wants to play in the NFL as he continued his charity and social justice efforts. Kaepernick, for the most part, has avoided interviews and public comments, but he did discuss his situation in an interview earlier this year.

My desire to play football is still there,” Kaepernick said in February. “I still train five days a week. I’m ready to go, I’m ready for a phone call, tryout, workout at any point in time. I’m still waiting on the owners and their partners to stop running from this situation. So I hope I get a call this offseason. I’ll be looking forward to it.

Kaepernick, 33 in November, would have some rust to shake off, but he’d also be returning to the game with fresh legs. It’s also worth noting that Father Time is kinder to quarterbacks than, say, running backs. Tom Brady (42), Drew Brees (41), and Ben Roethlisberger (38) can attest to that.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Notes: Kaepernick, OBJ, LB

In an interview with WKNR AM-850, Hue Jackson said that he wanted the Browns to sign Colin Kaepernick in 2017 (via Jeff Schudel of the News Herald). The Browns, of course, did not sign him, and placed rookie Deshone Kizer under center instead.

I wanted him,” Jackson said Friday. “It just didn’t work out. Obviously, those things do have to work from a finance, draft, whatever all that is. And that wasn’t my decision.”

Jackson may have wanted Kaepernick in 2017, but he didn’t share that opinion publicly at the time. Like most coaches, Jackson skirted questions about the QB and said that he wasn’t being discussed as a serious option. Meanwhile, Jackson didn’t have full control over the 53-man roster. Personnel decisions were ultimately made by Sashi Brown, who served as the Browns’ GM up until December of that year.

Last month, Kaepernick found himself back in the NFL news cycle when the league briefly listed him as “retired” on his remodeled player page. The following day, the NFL changed his status to reflect that he is, in fact, an unrestricted free agent. The odds of Kaepernick returning to the NFL seemed slim just a few weeks ago, but it may not be so far fetched today. Kaepernick, 33 in November, has been training with the intent of returning to the field.

My desire to play football is still there,” Kaepernick said in February. “I still train five days a week. I’m ready to go, I’m ready for a phone call, tryout, workout at any point in time. I’m still waiting on the owners and their partners to stop running from this situation. So I hope I get a call this offseason. I’ll be looking forward to it.

Here’s more out of Cleveland:

NFL Lists Colin Kaepernick As Retired, Changes Him Back To Free Agent

This week, the NFL redesigned its website and designated Colin Kaepernick as “retired” on his player page. Kaepernick’s girlfriend Nessa took notice and at-mentioned the league in a tweet on Friday. But, on Saturday morning, the league updated Kaep’s page to show that he is a UFA (an unrestricted free agent).

[RELATED: Checking In On Eric Reid]

Kaepernick did not retire from professional football, but it’s hard to see him getting another opportunity in the NFL at this point. The quarterback will turn 33 in November and he hasn’t played in more than three years – his last live snap was on January 1, 2017.

Late last year, the league organized an open workout for Kaepernick, which took the entire football world by surprise. The planned audition caught Kaepernick off-guard, too – they didn’t give much notice to the longtime 49ers star, and he responded by no-showing the showcase at the Falcons’ facility and holding his own personal combine at a different location in Georgia. The NFL’s original workout reportedly would have seen executives from 25 teams in attendance. At the new location, attendance was sparse.

Afterwards, Kaepernick’s camp sent footage of the workout to all 32 teams. There were no bites, and it’s hard to imagine that his chances of landing a deal have improved. Still, Kaepernick says he wants to return to the NFL.

My desire to play football is still there,” Kaepernick said in February. “I still train five days a week. I’m ready to go, I’m ready for a phone call, tryout, workout at any point in time. I’m still waiting on the owners and their partners to stop running from this situation. So I hope I get a call this offseason. I’ll be looking forward to it.

In the meantime, Kaepernick says he will continue his initiatives for social justice. Later this year, he’ll release a memoir in conjunction with Audible.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colin Kaepernick Still Wants To Play In NFL

Colin Kaepernick is long removed from his last snap, but he’s not giving up hope on returning to the NFL. The former 49ers quarterback tells Jarrett Bell of USA Today that he’ll be ready to go if he gets a call.

My desire to play football is still there,” Kaepernick said. “I still train five days a week. I’m ready to go, I’m ready for a phone call, tryout, workout at any point in time. I’m still waiting on the owners and their partners to stop running from this situation. So I hope I get a call this offseason. I’ll be looking forward to it.

At this time, it doesn’t seem likely that Kaepernick will get that opportunity. Late last year, the NFL organized an open workout for the QB, a tryout that came without much in the way of prior notice for anyone, including Kaepernick. Instead of going through with the one-man combine at the Falcons’ facility, Kaepernick pivoted at the last moment and staged a workout of his own elsewhere in Georgia. Afterwards, Kaepernick’s camp sent footage of the workout to all 32 teams. Still, his agent admitted that the odds of his client signing an NFL deal were slim.

In the midst of all of this, there have been murmurs of Kaepernick joining up with Vince McMahon’s reboot of the XFL, which kicked off its 2020 season just after the Super Bowl. There’s no movement on that front, either, and it doesn’t sound like things will change anytime soon. Recently, XFL commish Oliver Luck reiterated that Kaepernick’s salary demands were too high, and also said that the league would not be willing to bend on its policy on standing for the national anthem.

Kaepernick, 33 in November, hasn’t seen live action since January 1, 2017. Since then, the Seahawks have been the only team to bring him in for a workout.

From 2011-2016, he went 28-30 in his starts for San Francisco. Following the 2012 season, he took the 49ers to the Super Bowl. In the 2013 season, he was under center as they reached the NFC championship game.

Later this year, Kaepernick will release a memoir via his newly formed publishing company and a partnership with Audible.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.