While a return to the NFL is unlikely, Colin Kaepernick has made his return to the next best thing: Madden.
The Undefeated reports that a free update released for Madden 21 on Tuesday will allow players to draft Kap in the game’s franchise mode. “Now’s your chance to bring back Kap and be the virtual GM that signs one of the most dynamic QBs in the game,” EA Sports said in a statement.
While Kap was one of the faces of Madden during his time in the NFL, appearing in more commercials for the game than any other athlete, the free-agent quarterback has not been seen in a Madden title since 2016’s Madden 17. References to him were also scrubbed out from songs on the soundtrack of Madden 18 and Madden 19, making his arrival to franchise mode even more surprising.
“We made an unfortunate mistake with our Madden NFL soundtrack,” EA Sports said in a 2018 statement before Madden 19 was updated. “Members of our team misunderstood the fact that while we don’t have rights to include Colin Kaepernick in the game, this doesn’t affect soundtracks. We messed up, and the edit should never have happened. … We meant no disrespect.”
Kaepernick was approached by EA Sports over the summer about a possible appearance in this year’s game. He worked heavily alongside the team to make sure his in-game appearance and behavior was to his liking. Kaepernick’s avatar sports an afro and he throws up the Black Power fist as his signature celebration. EA Sports released the following statement to The Undefeated to announce Kaepernick’s arrival.
From The Undefeated:
“Colin Kaepernick is one of the top free agents in football and a starting-caliber quarterback. The team at EA SPORTS, along with millions of Madden NFL fans, want to see him back in our game.
“Knowing that our EA SPORTS experiences are platforms for players to create, we want to make Madden NFL a place that reflects Colin’s position and talent, rates him as a starting QB, and empowers our fans to express their hopes for the future of football. We’ve worked with Colin to make this possible, and we’re excited to bring it to all of you today.”
Kaepernick’s in-game player ranking stands at 81. He was previously ranked at 89 in 2013’s Madden 25 and the following year’s Madden 15 before dropping to 81 in Madden 16 and 74 in Madden 17. If none of that makes sense to you, it basically is just a measure of how good a player is at doing football things. His current ranking places him behind only 14 currently playing quarterbacks.
Additionally, to mark the start of this year’s football season, the game will be free to play this weekend. While this year’s Madden has received some, uh, mixed reviews, this is a cool move that’ll allow all players to check out the game and see how Kap pays against the current crop of talent. While it may only be a digital return, for now, it’s still pretty tight to see Kap back in at least some fashion.