Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who last played professional football in 2016, is reportedly working out for an NFL franchise with several ties to the New England Patriots.
Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers
Initially, league sources relayed to ESPN that Kaepernick was set to work out with the Las Vegas Raiders at some point this week. However, NFL Network has since reported that the workout was actually occurring on Wednesday.
Kaepernick has essentially been in NFL exile since he began kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial injustice during the aforementioned 2016 season with the San Francisco 49ers. Wednesday marks the first time the 34-year-old has visited with a team since May 2017. At that time, he flew to Seattle to meet with the Seattle Seahawks. Kaepernick did not sign a deal with Seattle.
Derek Carr is currently Las Vegas’ starting quarterback. During the offseason, the team also signed former Niners’ quarterback Nick Mullens, and traded for backup Jarrett Stidham in a deal with the Patriots.
While Kaepernick’s potential signing with the Raiders will not have a direct effect on the Patriots, the quarterback will be surrounded by several former players, coaches and members of the organization. Earlier this offseason, should the two sides agree to terms. In addition to Stidham, former Patriots director of player personnel Dave Ziegler is now the general manager of the Raiders, while ex-Pats offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is Las Vegas’ head coach. The team also features former Patriots coaches Carmen Bricillo [offensive line], Bo Hardegree [quarterbacks coach] and Mick Lombardi [offensive coordinator], with whom Kaepernick worked during his days as a 49ers assistant coach.
Despite being greater than five years removed from his last appearance in an NFL game, Kaepernick has kept himself in game shape, and has been quite vocal about his desire to obtain a chance to return to the game he loves.
In a recent interview with the "I Am Athlete" podcast, Kaepernick advised that he was still more-than-capable of providing value to an NFL franchise, both on and off the field.
“if you're talking about the business side, it shows [it's] beneficial. If you're talking about the playing side, come in, let me compete. You can evaluate me from there. The NFL's supposed to be a meritocracy. Come in, let me compete. If I'm not good enough, get rid of me. But let me come in and show you."
Josh McDaniels, Las Vegas Raiders
As a result, Kaepernick may be close to getting his chance to prove his point by playing for McDaniels with the Raiders. In an added bonus, he appears to have the endorsement of team owner Mark Davis, who has provided his ‘blessing’ if the football operations team decides to bring Kaepernick into the fold.