Report: Colin Kaepernick Won't Be Asked About Kneeling; Teams Eyeing Contract

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2019

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick celebrates after their win against the Los Angeles Rams during an NFL football game Saturday, Dec. 24, 2016, in Los Angeles. The San Francisco 49ers won 22-21. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith reported Thursday that representatives from 22 NFL teams are expected to attend the free-agent workout for quarterback Colin Kaepernick on Saturday.

Smith said on First Take his sources believe Kaepernick will sign a contract "within in the next couple of weeks" if he has a strong showing. He also noted the workout is a legitimate, football-based opportunity and won't include questions about whether he plans to kneel for the national anthem if signed:

"I have been told, if this brother shows that he can still ball, because he has been away from the game for three years, he will get a job in the NFL. He will get a job in the NFL, and I believe it's gonna be within the next two weeks. That's my personal opinion. I have been told he will get a job within in the next couple of weeks, I think that's going to happen, if he shows up.

"Matter of fact, I heard something else this morning, because I got several phone calls this morning, telling me and assuring me this is real, this is an opportunity. They're not playing. They're showing up and there are going to be people there interested in signing Colin Kaepernick to a football contract. I've been told, Max [Kellerman], he won't even be asked about the kneeling. He won't be asked about the protests. This is strictly football. He will not be asked about any of that stuff."

Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid brought the legitimacy of the NFL's proposed workout into question Wednesday, calling the effort "disingenuous."

"I'll believe it when I see it," Reid told reporters. "At this point, it feels like a PR stunt."

He added: "They want the appearance of giving Colin a chance, but they give him two hours' notice and tell it has to be on a Saturday when they know decision-makers are traveling. So is this real? We'll see."

Kaepernick, who started the movement of athletes kneeling during the anthem to protest racial injustice, last played in the NFL during the 2016 season. He opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers in March 2017 later and accused the league's owners of colluding to leave him unsigned in a lawsuit.

The lawsuit, which was filed alongside Reid, was settled in February.

The 32-year-old University of Nevada product completed 59.8 percent of his throws for 12,271 yards with 72 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in 69 appearances for the Niners. He added 2,300 rushing yards and 13 scores on the ground across six seasons.

He's remained consistent in his desire to receive another chance to prove himself in the NFL, and he posted a statement on Twitter after word of the workout became public:

Kaepernick has been out of football for nearly three years, so it's impossible to know whether he's ready to step right into a backup role. Interested teams may view him as a No. 3 QB for the rest of this season so he can be prepared to return to game action next year.

Everything depends on his workout Saturday. Several teams have dealt with either poor quarterback play, injuries at the sport's most important position or a combination of both this season, so it seems like the best chance in a while for the polarizing star to get back on a roster.

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