Chad Ochocinco couldn’t effuse enough about Colin Kaepernick to Colin Kaepernick.
The former NFL quarterback did a rare interview on the “I Am Athlete” podcast that premiered today to let the NFL know he wants in and wants to win a championship.
“I think more than anything, it’s a passion,” Kaepernick said to co-host Adam “Pacman” Jones. “You have those dreams from when you were a kid. I’m going to be an NFL player, and I’m going to win a Super Bowl, and for me, I have unfinished business on that front.
“I’ve been to the Super Bowl. We were one play away. It’s like, well, I need to finish that. My mentality isn’t that I just to be like, ‘oh, I want to compete.’ No, I want to win a championship.
The “I Am Athlete” crew, mainly Ochocinco, needed the world to know that Kaep can still ball.
“One of the things I always admired about you was your passion not to give up for what you want to do, and what surprised me was how great a ball you throw,” said Ochocinco.
“He has a very strong arm; I’m putting you up there in the upper echelon with the Brett Favres, the Aaron Rogers, the Michael Vicks. I had no idea.”
A laughing Kaep quipped, “Aye, the faster I get it in your hands, the more time you got to make a move. We trying to get in the end zone.”
Everything about Kaepernick’s return to the microphone exuded confidence. His openness and honesty were refreshing in what has felt like a desert of Kaepernick statements.
Colin Kaepernick said on the @IAMATHLETEpod that he still wants to get back in the NFL and is willing to take a backup job to get in.
How do you convince an owner or GM to bring you in and how do you get a fanbase to buy in? Here is Kaepernick's answer: pic.twitter.com/ReyVvR7yOb
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) April 18, 2022
Do You Want To Play Football?
When the primary host, Brandon Marshall, jumped in to ask the million-dollar question — “do you want to play football?” — Kaep kept the same energy.
“Absolutely. I mean, that’s without question, and to your point, what you saw here that’s five years of training behind the scenes to make sure I’m ready and stay ready at the highest level. You don’t do that if you don’t have the passion and believe you’re going to find a way back on that field.”
Over the last few months and even years from doing sit-down interviews, his silence was explained carefully, and quickly you realize how serious Kaep’s understanding of his brand value is.
The Silent Treatment
“In part, it was in response to the situation I was in. The narrative that was out there was, ‘Oh, you know, it’s going to be a media circus, it’s going to be all of that; what’s going to come with it?’ I was like, OK, I’ll be quiet. I’ll do all my work behind the scenes; I’ll be prepared and we’re going to continue to reach out to every team for a workout.
“But as far as what’s been done publicly, you said it; I don’t really do interviews. I haven’t sat down like this with anybody. Why I’ve been low-key is to address the issue that’s been raised. And it’s like, well, OK, that obviously isn’t the issue, then we’ll make it public that I can play and build that narrative that way. More than anything, we are just looking for the opportunity to walk through a door; I’ll handle it from there.”
In a hypothetical scenario posed by Brandon Marshall, Kaep was asked if he would take the league minimum or be a team backup quarterback, and that’s where Kaep’s passion for the game shone.
— I AM ATHLETE (@IAMATHLETEpod) April 17, 2022
“I know I have to find my way back in. Yeah, if I have to come in as the backup, that’s fine, but that’s not where I’m staying, and when I prove that I’m a starter, I want to be able to step on the field as such. I just need that opportunity to walk through the door. No team has brought me in for a workout.
“No team has brought me in for an opportunity. I had the one meeting with Seattle in 2017, and after that, Pete Carroll said, ‘Hey, he’s a starter, we have a starter,’ and things moved on from there, but they don’t have a right starter now.”
For the NFL, Kaep is now the living representation of the elephant in the room, but he also had an answer for the question of being considered a distraction.
“Say you have End Racism in the back of your end zone. You have Black Lives Matter on your helmet. Everything I’ve said should be in alignment with what you’re saying publicly. It’s a $16 billion business. When I first took a knee, my jersey went to number one. When I did the deal with Nike, their value increased by $6 billion. $6 billion with a ‘b.’
“So if you’re talking about the business side, it shows its beneficial. If you’re talking about the playing side, come and let me compete you can evaluate me from there. The NFL is supposed to be a meritocracy. Come in and let me compete. If I’m not good enough, get rid of me but let me come in and show you.”
Kaepernick wants to be selected based on his ability. He’s left the ball in the court of the league to prove that’s how the system works.