First of all, yes, we’re really doing this, so prepare yourselves, and be on your best behavior. Now, with that said…
For the first time in literally years, there is some movement within the NFL for Colin Kaepernick, the former Pro Bowl quarterback who helped take the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012. He last played in 2016 after opting out of a contract from which he likely would have been released, anyway, following a season in which he spearheaded a social justice protest that many other players have since partaken in.
Since then, he has hardly been on NFL teams’ radars with respect to having legitimate and realistic interest in signing him to a contract, and it’s indisputable that the off-field aspect of that has been a huge part of the equation.
Yesterday, it was announced that the NFL—the league itself—will be hosting a private workout with Kaepernick. On Saturday. In Atlanta. A fact that Kaepernick and all NFL teams were informed of on the day.
According to reports, Kaepernick had wanted his workout to take place on a Tuesday, when the vast majority of all workouts around the league, week in and week out, are conducted. When that request was denied, he asked for a later Saturday workout. That request was also denied.
It’s unclear as to why the league has taken any of the steps that they have taken in this process—either why they decided to hold the workout, which will be run by combine staff and former coaches, or why they wouldn’t do it on a Tuesday.
Kaepernick, for his part, wrote in a Tweet they he has “been in shape and ready for this for 3 years”, and “can’t wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday”. If any of them will show up.
The vast majority of teams will be preparing to play games, and GMs and scouts will be on the road attending college football games. It’s hard not to read into the timing of this and think that the NFL is trying to minimize its impact.
While the workout and interview with Kaepernick will be made available to all teams through video, obviously teams will only be able to interact with and discuss issues with him directly if they are in attendance, and given the background, it’s hard to imagine a team signing him without meeting him face to face.
Still, at the very least, giving him an opportunity to have a workout is the right step. He deserves to at least be in the front of the eyes of NFL teams, several of whom have reportedly inquired about his readiness and conditioning. Now we’ll find out.