Colin Kaepernick 'Ready' to Play in NFL, Waiting for Owners 'To Stop Running'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2020

RIVERDALE, GA - NOVEMBER 16: Colin Kaepernick looks to make a pass during a private NFL workout held at Charles R Drew high school on November 16, 2019 in Riverdale, Georgia. Due to disagreements between Kaepernick and the NFL the location of the workout was abruptly changed.  (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick is still hoping to return to the NFL more than three years after last playing for the San Francisco 49ers.

In an interview with Jarrett Bell of USA Today on Tuesday, Kaepernick said he has remained sharp in hopes of getting contacted by an NFL team: "My desire to play football is still there. I still train five days a week. I'm ready to go, I'm ready for a phone call, tryout, workout at any point in time. I'm still waiting on the owners and their partners to stop running from this situation. So I hope I get a call this offseason. I'll be looking forward to it."

The now-32-year-old Kaepernick went just 1-10 as a starter with the Niners in 2016 in his last season of NFL action, but he threw for 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions while rushing for 468 yards and two scores.

Kaepernick became a lightning rod for discussion when he began kneeling during the playing of the national anthem that season to protest police brutality and racial inequality, which is likely a major reason why he has gone unsigned for so long.

While a few teams have kicked the tires on Kaepernick since he last played in an NFL game, he has remained a free agent despite a fairly impressive resume that includes a trip to Super Bowl XLVII during the 2012 season.

The NFL did set up a workout for Kaepernick in November 2019, but it was shrouded in controversy. It was scheduled for a Saturday, which made it difficult for many front office people and talent evaluators to attend because there were games the next day.

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

A look at Colin Kaepernick throwing deep passes at his workout today. https://t.co/qnDbObj37T

Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, the NFL also didn't provide Kaepernick with a list of those in attendance or tell him who he would be throwing passes to. The NFL also didn't want to permit the media to be present. As a result, Kaepernick and his representatives moved the workout from the Atlanta Falcons' facility to a different location and made it open to the media as well.

Kaepernick looked good physically and didn't seem to show much rust despite the long layoff, but there was no reported interest in signing him after the workout.

Although he hasn't played in three seasons, Kaepernick is likely still good enough to play in the NFL if given the opportunity, even if it is as a backup.

In addition to his talent, though, teams will likely also be wary of the media attention that would come along with signing him, and the latter is likely what has kept Kaepernick out of the league for so long.