Yet another voice has weighed in on the question of Colin Kaepernick and his future in the NFL…Donald Trump. Though he has not played in the league since 2016, and it was in 2017 that Trump drew headlines for suggesting that teams should fire players who kneel, his response to a question about the former NFL quarterback was very different yesterday.
Asked by reporter Scott Thuman if Kaepernick and his history of kneeling should be afforded another opportunity to play in the NFL, he didn’t equivocate. “If he deserves it, he should”, he said. “If he has the playing ability. He started off great…and then something happened [later in his career]. His playing wasn’t up to snuff”.
“The answer is absolutely I would” support him getting another opportunity, he went on, bypassing the question of kneeling. “I would love to see him get another shot, but obviously he has to be able to play well. If he can’t play well, I think it would be very unfair”.
A former second-round pick in 2011, he helped take the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl as a second-year player. They went 12-4 the next year with him under center, but many changes in the team depleted the roster of talent. He only won 11 games for the next three years before he and the 49ers parted ways, and he has not been offered a contract since, after the 2016 season.
Since then, Kaepernick has had one visit with a team, the Seattle Seahawks in 2017, who did not give him a workout nor offer him a contract. There was a report that they considered him again in 2018, but declined when he would not commit to refraining from kneeling. He later would say that he would not kneel if given another opportunity to play.
The culture on that topic has swung dramatically, however, over the past few weeks, with many prominent individuals, including coaches, saying that they will be kneeling later this year. Essentially, all of the non-football issues that may have previously kept a team from pursuing Kaepernick have been undone.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll has said that one team called to ask about their experience with him in 2017. Los Angeles Chargers head coach yesterday said that it would be crazy if they didn’t have him on their emergency workout list, even if they are currently happy with their quarterbacks, including Tyrod Taylor and rookie first-round pick Justin Herbert.
Mike Florio has reported that he has been told Kaepernick is as motivated as ever to play in the NFL, but that doesn’t guarantee that he will find a fit that both he and the team are happy with. We don’t know what type of role or salary he is willing to accept, because he hasn’t commented on it, but he did say in November that they have gotten no calls from teams. Have any teams contacted his agent now? If any have, it hasn’t been reported.