As Colin Kaepernick remains a free agent, a retired NFL coach blames his predicament on the quarterback’s national anthem protest, while a Seattle Seahawks star feels he could be a great addition to the team.
“Without that national anthem [protest], someone would have signed him by now,” Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy told Newsday Monday, May 15. “If you’re seen as a distraction off the field, for whatever reason, you better have a lot of talent going for you. People will overlook it. They always sign talent if they think he’s going to upgrade your team.”
Dungy, ex-head coach of the Indianapolis Colts and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, said he would have considered the possibility of signing Kaepernick if he were not retired. But he believes NFL teams are not willing to take a risk on the QB, who has a career total of 72 touchdowns and 30 interceptions.
Kaepernick began sitting and then kneeling during the national anthem last season to protest the oppression faced by Black Americans. He was reported to be ending the protest ahead of the next season and Dungy isn’t sure what else Kaepernick can do to ensure he’ll be picked up.
“I don’t know what he can do at this point,” Dungy said. “He’s pretty much told people he wants to play. It doesn’t seem like there’s anything negative with his work habits. I don’t know what he can do to show people that he’s just going to be a quarterback and play.”
There’s at least one person in the NFL who has faith in Kaepernick.
Michael Bennett, defensive end for the Seahawks, believes Seattle would be the “perfect place” for the 29-year-old activist to play.
“I think a person that’s dedicating their life to creating change, why wouldn’t you want that type of leadership in your locker room?” Bennett told 710 ESPN Seattle Tuesday, May 16. “Why wouldn’t you want a young person that’s dealt with people wanting to kill him because of his choices in life? So, I don’t know why people feel like that is a problem.”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll revealed Kaepernick is one of several seasoned quarterback options the team is looking into.
“I think he would be very good in our locker room,” Bennett said, noting the work teammates like QB Russell Wilson do for the local community. “I don’t know why he wouldn’t.
“I think we all talk about the same issues. It’s just that he had the courage to be able to step up, and I get it.”