After four years away from the NFL and going from a quarterback to a freedom fighter along the way, Colin Kaepernick now has the interest of more than one National Football League team, according to NFL Network. But there’s one thing standing in the way of those teams giving him a tryout — and that’s COVID-19.
“At least a couple of teams have a legitimate interest” in bringing Kaepernick on, according to the report, but an owner would still have to give approval.
Still, this is the most that’s been said about the 32-year-old Kaepernick playing in the NFL again since the league set up a tryout for him last year and invited teams to watch.
An NFL Network reporter said that he spoke with one head coach of the league who is “absolutely” interested in Kaepernick.
But since the league has set safety guidelines in place for COVID-19, that coach is unable to give him a tryout. NFL training camp reportedly will begin on July 28, but there’s no word yet on when teams can give free agents a workout.
Kaepernick hasn’t played in the NFL since 2016, so any team that’s serious about signing him would need to assess his skills.
When the league held its tryout for him in Flowery Branch, Georgia, at the Atlanta Falcons’ training facility last year, he didn’t show and moved it to Charles Drew High School in Riverdale, Georgia.
Kaepernick said that he wanted cameras present for more transparency, but the NFL wasn’t open to cameras at its workout. Kaepernick also didn’t want to sign a liability waiver the league had.
Teams could look at a video of Kaepernick’s workout out at the high school, but coaches and offensive coordinators would need to see him live to get a true sense of where his skills are.
Football aside, there’s still the political aspect that teams and coaches will have to deal with if they sign Kaepernick.
After he began kneeling for the national anthem at the end of the 2016 NFL preseason to protest police brutality, he became a hero to many. Still, others like President Donald Trump thought he was disrespecting the military and American flag.
Just a few weeks ago, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees slammed kneeling during the anthem and said, “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.”
People like Brees’ teammate Malcolm Jenkins and NBA star Lebron James blasted him afterward and Brees later apologized for his words. James also has stepped up and said the NFL owes Kaepernick an apology.
The teams interested in Kaepernick haven’t been revealed, but earlier this month Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said Kaepernick fits his team’s system perfectly.
Lynn explained that he’s happy with his three current quarterbacks, but if something were to happen to one of them he’d give Kaepernick a tryout.
“Colin definitely fits the style of quarterback for the system were going to be running,” Lynn told TMZ earlier this month. “Kap was a starting quarterback, a Super Bowl quarterback in this league. I think it would be crazy to not have him on your workout list.”
Earlier this month, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also spoke about Kaepernick and said that he encourages an NFL team to sign him.