Kaepernick Comeback? Former 49er Spars with NFL Over Atlanta Tryouts

Colin Kaepernick is seen at a special training event created by Kaepernick to provide greater access to scouts, the media, and the public, at Charles. R. Drew High School in Riverdale, Georgia, U.S., November 16, 2019. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage

(Reuters) – A spirited Colin Kaepernick said he was ready to play anywhere in the National Football League after a long-awaited tryout at an Atlanta area high school on Saturday.

“I’ve been ready for three years. I’ve been denied for three years,” said the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who made headlines by kneeling at games during the U.S. anthem to protest against racial injustice.

He has said teams would not sign him because they wanted to distance themselves from the protests, which President Donald Trump criticized as unpatriotic and disrespectful.

Kevin Hadden holds a sign opposing Colin Kaepernick outside a special workout hosted by the National Football League (NFL) at the Atlanta Falcons training facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia, U.S., November 16, 2019. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage

“So we are waiting for the 32 owners, 32 teams and (league commissioner) Roger Goodell to stop running,” the 32-year-old said. “Stop running from the truth, stop running from the people.

“We are ready to play. We are ready to go anywhere.”

The NFL had arranged the tryout at the Atlanta Falcons training facility, but at the last minute the quarterback’s representatives moved the workout to a high school stadium.

Kaepernick said it was done so media could be present.

Live stream video showed Kaepernick making a variety of throws to a group of receivers to applause from on-lookers.

His arm talent remains “elite” and is the same as when he came out of college, ESPN reported an NFL executive commenting after the workout, adding Kaepernick threw the ball well.

Online viewers also said he has a future in the NFL.

“He still has lower third to mid-tier starter ability,” said one viewer on Twitter. “If the media circle didn’t follow, someone would have him as a backup at minimum already.”

Another said, “So far, Kaepernick looks like Kaepernick. Outstanding velocity, everything on a rope, can make any throw. Questions teams will have about different arcs and speeds, performance when hurried, and progression-reading — the questions I’d have – can’t really be answered here.”

Kaepernick’s representatives made the move to the high school after accusing the league of not acting in a forthright manner in organizing the workout.

“From the outset, Mr. Kaepernick requested a legitimate process and from the outset the NFL league office has not provided one,” they said in a statement.

“Most recently, the NFL has demanded that as a precondition to the workout, Mr. Kaepernick sign an unusual liability waiver that addresses employment-related issues and rejected the standard liability waiver from physical injury proposed by Mr. Kaepernick’s representatives.”

Kaepernick also had requested all media be allowed into the workout to observe and film it, but the NFL denied the request, the statement said.

The NFL said it was informed of Kaepernick’s decision 30 minutes before the workout was to begin.

“We are disappointed that Colin did not appear for his workout,” the league said in a statement, saying it had made considerable effort to work cooperatively with Kaepernick’s representatives.

“Colin’s decision has no effect on his status in the league. He remains an unrestricted free agent eligible to sign with any club,” the statement added.

Representatives from at least 25 of the NFL’s 32 teams had been scheduled to attend the workout. Several made it to the new location.

Before the move, both protesters and supporters had waited for Kaepernick outside the Falcons’ facility.

One protester, waving a U.S. flag, held a sign that said “Colin Kaepernick un-American Loser. Get out of my town”.

Supporters included one follower wearing a Kaepernick jersey and displaying a sign that read “I’m with Kap.”

Among the first players to kneel during the pregame U.S. national anthem in protest against extrajudicial killings of black people by police, Kaepernick has been unable to find a team to sign him since 2017.

He became a free agent after the 2016 season and remains unsigned.

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Tom Bodine
Member

Once a POS always one

j
Member

Anyone who signs him should have their head examined.

Cherrie
Guest
Cherrie

and nobody cares because if and i say if he gets picked that will be one less team to ever watch

William Conley
Member

I hope someone picks him back up so they drive even more fans away from the NFL. The XFL is starting up soon they’ll happily take this free PR and boost their to fledging league. I hope I get to see the day the NFL crashes and burns due to its own weakness.

banstan
Member

contusion-““His arm talent remains ‘elite’ and is the same as when he came out of college. Article. Not everyone agrees with you, Bill!”
Million dollar arm, 10 cent brain doesn’t cut it in professional sports ANYWHERE. Stick with what you know, contusion, which is . . . . well NOTHING. Sorry for you.

John
Guest
John

He had only one good year and he was no good when he left. Colin doesn’t seem to understand that the NFL are made up of 32 private businesses and not showing up for what amounts to an interview is not very smart.

Willie Horton
Member

Since I will NEVER watch NFL garbage again I couldn’t give one shlt about that USA hating, white race hating thug.

Vir Gerberry
Guest
Vir Gerberry

Sad little boy with big time mental problems.

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