34-year-old Colin Kaepernick took the field in Ann Arbor at halftime of Michigan’s spring game for NFL scouts on Saturday. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, who was Kaepernick’s head coach with the San Francisco 49ers, invited the former Super Bowl quarterback to be an honorary captain for the game. Kaepernick spent 15 minutes on the field throwing to undrafted wide receivers, with the hopes of once again letting teams know he’s ready for a shot.
“We still get out there and sling it,” Kaepernick told Trotman. “Really, getting out here for the exhibition was to show that I can still do it. It’s one of the questions my agent keeps getting, so we want to make sure we can come out, show everyone I can still play, still throw it.”
I spoke with Colin Kaepernick on the sideline after his throwing exhibition at Michigan.
He said he can absolutely still play in the NFL. I asked what is your message to NFL teams: "I can help make you a better team. I can help you win games." pic.twitter.com/rUQTG562D7
— Jeanna Trotman (@JeannaTrotmanTV) April 2, 2022
Quarterback is the most scarce position in the game. Teams that need depth shouldn’t hesitate to at least bring Kaepernick in. What’s the harm? You see if he can play and it costs you nothing. If he can, you’ve got something to work with.
Kaepernick obviously believes he can still help a team, and he’s not asking to be a starter. He’s made it clear that he understands a backup role will be most likely.
“I can help make you a better team, I can help you win games. I know right now the situation likely won’t allow me to come in, step into a starting role. I know I’ll be able to work my way to that though and show that very quickly. So to the teams that have questions, more than anything I would say I’d love to come in for a workout. I’d love to sit down with you and have that conversation about how I could help you be a better team.”
NFL teams and their owners likely won’t take the chance, for fear of the response of the racist segment of their fan bases. Or their own personal feelings about Kaepernick’s protest of police brutality and racial injustice.
In 2019 Kaepernick held a workout in Atlanta but there was no interest from any of the NFL’s teams. Maybe it was too close to the summer of racial awakening and too close to Kaepernick’s protests?
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell expressed support for Kaepernick to be back in the league, but it’s up to a team to make that decision.
“It’s one of the questions that my agent kept getting was ‘Well, it’s been five years. Can he still play?'” Kaepernick said. “So we wanted to make sure that we come out, we show everyone I could still play, still throw it and really just looking for an opportunity for a door to open, to have that be a pathway to be able to get back in there, get a starting job and lead a team to a championship.”
The NFL scouts have all the information they need to determine if they should bring Kaepernick in for a workout. Given the names of some of the backups in the league, it’s worth giving him a shot at least. But if they don’t give him a chance now, then they never will.