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Is Colin Kaepernick really all-in on returning to the NFL?

04 Dec 2019, 15:07 IST

Colin Kaepernick NFL Workout
Colin Kaepernick NFL Workout

A few weeks ago the NFL offered Colin Kaepernick the opportunity for a workout at Atlanta Falcons' facility. All league teams were invited to send personnel to view the workout and interview Kaepernick afterwards.

Instead, at the last minute, Kaepernick’s camp changed the location of the workout to an outdoor park 60 miles away. Afterwards, Kaepernick signed autographs for the crowd that gathered when word spread of his public workout.

I’m trying to see it from both perspectives, but there’s only so far I can see things from Colin Kaepernick’s view. If the goal is to get a job, then I don’t see how Kaepernick helped his own cause.

25 teams were expected at the workout. After the change in location, only eight made the hour-long trip to attend.

Kaepernick’s representatives were skeptical about the league’s workout proposal. The final straw was the waiver the league required Kaepernick to sign before the workout, which Kaepernick refused.

I can understand the lack of trust, starting with being blackballed by the league for three years. There are no reasons why Kaepernick isn’t on an NFL roster right now. There aren’t 60 quarterbacks better than him in the league.

As much as Kaepernick doesn’t trust the NFL and league commissioner Roger Goodell, if Kaep really wants back in, he has to swallow hard and relent a little on his stance. Because if you’re going to make a deal with the devil, understand you will have to do something you don’t want to do to get what you want.

Kaepernick going off on his own for his workout isn’t a good look from a team’s perspective. General managers, and especially coaches, want players that will do as they’re told. They don’t want divas that want to play by their own rules or expect different treatment. Walking away from the NFL workout in favor of his own can give the impression that Kaepernick could be high maintenance.

And to turn what was supposed to be a professional NFL workout into a public show could have been a major turn off. Hanging out to sign autographs afterwards only made the impression worse.


Kaepernick walked away from a controlled workout that would have taken place in front of 25 teams for a game of backyard catch in front of eight franchises. Just on numbers alone, how does that improve Kaepernick’s chances of getting back into the league?

If Kaepernick’s goal really is to return to the NFL, as much as he doesn’t trust the league, he had to take the chance and compete in the NFL’s workout. It was a job fair. How does bailing on it in favor of holding one on his own improve his chances?

Whatever problems with the waiver there were, they should have been negotiated beforehand. What I don’t understand is why is it so important to retain the right to sue the league for collusion. The two sides already negotiated a settlement. Is having the right to sue more important than signing with any of the 32 teams?

If Kaepernick was willing to give a little, then the NFL had to as well. To gain Kaepernick’s trust in this process and to show some transparency, the league should have let Kaepernick’s team film the workout. While it’s not standard practice, the NFL should have made this exception.

To further show the league wasn’t up to their old tricks, giving Kaepernick’s team a copy of the recorded workout that matched his footage may ease some of Kaepernick’s concerns.

Allowing media access was excessive because just about all media organizations would have wanted to attend. Maybe granting access to one or two select media groups would have been good enough.

And let Kaepernick throw to his own receivers. Yes, the idea of having him throw to targets he’s not familiar with is to see how well Kaepernick adjusts. But give the man a break. He’s been kept out of the league for three years. Give him the opportunity to be at his best.

With only a few weeks left in the season, I doubt Kaepernick will sign with any team this season. I doubted any team would have signed Kaepernick shortly after the workout. But it could have greased the wheels of him signing with a team next season. Instead, we’re left with Kaepernick’s backyard exhibition as if that proved anything.

Recently Kaepernick posted on his Twitter account a high-quality video using footage from his workout. Please tell me that wasn’t the only reason Kaepernick wanted his own crew to film his workout. For a promotional video? Really?

After his workout, Kaepernick sounded defiant, confident he showed enough to warrant a tryout. He said he’s ready to interview with any team. Kaepernick could have done that at the Falcons’ facility.

At this point, what a GM and/or coach want to see from Kaepernick is he’s all-in on returning to the league. By interviewing with the teams Kaepernick could have stated his commitment to be a team-first player. Those conversations may have seriously helped Kaepernick’s cause.

For now, the stalemate continues. The fault lies at the feet of both sides. Kaepernick wants to play again but has turned down offers to play in other leagues. If it’s the NFL Kaepernick wants back in, he will have to give a little ground.

You can’t play games with the people that make the rules.

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