Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback-turned-political activist Colin Kaepernick could have a route back to the NFL after it was announced that he will stage a workout and interview for all 32 NFL teams on Saturday.
The 32-year-old quarterback hasn’t played since the final day of the 2016 season after he popularized a trend of players kneeling during the pre-game rendition of the US national anthem.
The move, he said, was designed to highlight racial injustice and police violence but immediately became a source of controversy as some people – including President Donald Trump – railed against the practice, declaring it disrespectful to the military.
His hiatus could soon end, though, after NFL officials announced details of an official pro day-style workout to which all teams in the league have been invited, and where Kaepernick will conduct an open workout with NFL combine staff and ex-coaches as well as participate in interviews with any interested teams. Footage of both the workout and interviews will also be made available for NFL clubs.
READ MORE: Ex-Iran President Ahmadinejad backs NFL outcast Kaepernick
Kaepernick, who played in Super Bowl 47 with San Francisco, filed an official grievance with the NFL in 2017 in which he alleged that owners were conspiring to not hire him and infringing on his right to work in his chosen career. This was resolved in February but details of any financial settlement were not disclosed.
“I’m just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday. I’ve been in shape and ready for this for three years, can’t wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday,” Kaepernick tweeted.
I’m just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday. I’ve been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can’t wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday.
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) November 13, 2019
Earlier this year Kaepernick posted a video to social media in which he said he had been working out at 5am five days per week for the last three years as he awaited his entry point back into the NFL.
After the news emerged on Tuesday, some remained skeptical that there was any the substance behind it.
This is a PR exercise.
1. Kaepernick doesn’t need to prove anything to just get on a roster.
2. You’re not going to learn anything you can’t glean from his tape.
3. Individual teams are supposed to do workouts, not league-wide.
4. No other free agent QB has to do this. https://t.co/i4FhyWxzKs
— Cian (@Cianaf) November 12, 2019
NFC West team official on the Kaepernick workout this weekend: “This entire thing is a sham. The NFL is full of shit. It’s a show. But he should do it because some of us are sincere. Some of us see him for what he is: a good man.”
— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) November 13, 2019
As Colin Kaepernick tweeted, the NFL didn’t inform his reps of Saturday’s workout in Atlanta until this morning. Kaepernick’s reps asked for workout to be on a Tuesday, the day of most workouts, but NFL said it had to be this Saturday. He asked for a later Saturday; NFL said no.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 13, 2019
In 2018 he was linked with a return with the Seattle Seahawks but any potential move was called off when the player refused to state whether or not he would continue kneeling for the national anthem.
He has thrown 72 touchdowns during his career so far as well as rushing for 2,300 yards and a further 13 TDs. The timing of his potential return could be viewed as an interesting one, as the 2019 season has seen a spate of injuries to key quarterbacks like Cam Newton, Ben Roethlisberger, Patrick Mahomes, Matthew Stafford, as well as the unexpected retirement of Andrew Luck.