The only thing that might be less likely than Antonio Brown becoming an NFL owner is Colin Kaepernick becoming a starting quarterback in the league again. To be clear, their situations are hardly analogous: the former immolated a glorious career with bizarre behavior; the latter was blackballed by the same league now being sued for discrimination by one of its most talented coaches.
That last point is why, even though we know the NFL will never accept him back, we’re awash in false hope every time Kaepernick gives us a new clip of him throwing a football–like he did last week, or when an NFL coach dares mention him in public, like the Seattle Seahawks’ Pete Carroll did on Wednesday.
Carroll needs a quarterback since Russell Wilson departed for Denver in free agency. Kaepernick, he says, reached out. What he didn’t say is whether he’ll give him a shot.
From the Oregonian
“I thought about another guy,” Carroll said while explaining how NFL free agency provides second chances for players. “You can ask questions about Colin Kaepernick. I know. You’re going to ask me, so let me just put it out there. He contacted me the other day. Said, ‘Hey, I’d like to get a shot. I’m working out.’ He sent me some videos. Next thing I know, he’s working out with Tyler Lockett. I don’t know how that happened. Does that guy deserve a second shot? I think he does. Somewhere. I don’t know if it’s here. I don’t know where it is. I don’t know if it’s even in football. I don’t know.”
What’s not to know, Pete? The Seahawks’ QB room is currently comprised of Drew Lock and Jacob Eason, who—all due respect from a guy who never played—won’t ever win anything of substance in the NFL. There are still decent names on the free agent market but no one Kaepernick couldn’t compete with for at least a backup job, if not the starting gig. By definition, no one the Seahawks might pick up in next month’s draft will have Kaepernick’s track record.
And what about those videos Carroll mentioned? In one that Kaepernick himself posted to social media, he’s in shorts, taking a five-step drop, shuffling and rolling right before tossing a ball to an unseen receiver on a windy day. Almost immediately after the post, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that his sources say Kaepernick is in great shape and ready to help a team win a Super Bowl, which, once upon a time, he almost did.
But we don’t need videos or tweets to know that Kaepernick stays ready. By all accounts, he’s never stopped working, even though he hasn’t been on an NFL roster in five years. He was 29 then. Now he’s 34, an age at which several of the great quarterbacks of the past generation—Tom Brady, Drew Brees, the Manning brothers, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers—were still competing at a high level. All those guys had five more years of wear and tear on their bodies at age 34 than Kaepernick does.
Carroll knows what every NFL coach knows: that there’s no doubt Kaepernick would upgrade more than half of NFL rosters immediately. With the retirement of Roethlisberger, the Pittsburgh Steelers, coached by Kaepernick’s frat brother, Mike Tomlin, had only Mason Rudolph, Dwayne Haskins and Josh Dobbs on the roster before picking up Mitch Trubisky up off the Buffalo Bills’ bench.
Before Brady retired then unretired, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were left with Blaine Gabbert and Kyle Trask. If they don’t win the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes, the New Orleans Saints will be left with Taysom Hill, Ian Book and Blake Bortles. And so forth.
If you still think there’s an argument against Kaep at least getting a tryout, recall it was less than a year ago that old-ass, terrible throwing Tim Tebow got a tryout at tight end, a position he never played, from a Jacksonville Jaguars head coach in Urban Meyer who didn’t even last through the entire season before he was canned.
Only disingenuous MAGA meatheads, the kind of dullards who’ll tell you with a straight face that Brian Flores can’t get a head coaching job because he wasn’t good enough, believe that Kaep still couldn’t compete for a roster spot.
But don’t hold your breath waiting for him to get that shot, not even from Pete Carroll.