Colin Kaepernick remains an icon of the NFL, yet most fans see him as a divisive figure who has antagonized police. The former quarterback says he’s tired of being misunderstood and believes his true detractors are law enforcement agencies that routinely mistreat people.
Jaime Crawford/Getty Images; Justin Casterline/Getty Images (L-R) Colin Kaepernick, Mark Davis
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick played his last snap as an NFL player in a Week 16 25-23 defeat to the Seattle Seahawks, less than three years after leading the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl. Now, five and a half years after that last play, Mark Davis, the owner of the Las Vegas Raiders, has chosen to give the polarizing quarterback another chance.
Colin Kaepernick is auditioning with the Raiders in Las Vegas.
Colin Kaepernick is set to check out for the Las Vegas Raiders this week, according to league sources. Kaepernick last played football in 2016, the same year he began kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality.
More on NFL Live now. pic.twitter.com/zAuWybhILx
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 25, 2022
The news that exiled quarterback Colin Kaepernick would be working out for the Las Vegas Raiders came out of nowhere on Wednesday, May 25, 2022.
Kaepernick’s tale is well-known. In 2016, he began kneeling during the national anthem, and after a 1-10 season as a starter, Kaepernick opted out of his contract before the San Francisco 49ers fired him to free up cap space.
Since then, the former Nevada Wolfpack quarterback has yet to get a true NFL audition. The league did organize a showcase for the quarterback, which drew scouts from all across the league, but Kaepernick hasn’t worked out for a particular club in the previous five years.
However, Kaepernick will now train with the Raiders.
For the 2022 season, Derek Carr is the Raiders’ uncontested starting quarterback. The backup quarterback job, on the other hand, is still up for grabs. Carr is followed by Nick Mullens, who is 5-12 as a starter in the NFL, Jarrett Stidham, who has thrown 48 career passes in three seasons (and none in 2021), and Chase Garbers, an undrafted rookie from Cal.
Las Vegas and new head coach Josh McDaniels seem to want to improve the backup quarterback position, and Kaepernick will be given the opportunity to do so.
Mick Lombardi, the team’s new offensive coordinator, is one of the reasons. During Kaepernick’s time with the 49ers, the coach worked as an offensive assistant from 2013 to 2016.
The second reason seems to be Raiders owner Mark Davis’ backing.
Mark Davis, the team’s owner, believes Kaepernick should be given another shot.
Just spoke w/#Raiders owner Mark Davis, who said team employees have a “company-paid day off on Juneteenth.” Also asked about @Kaepernick7, Davis said, “Since 2017, I’ve told the coaches and general managers that if they want to hire Colin Kaepernick, they have my blessing.”
— Paul Gutierrez (@PGutierrezESPN) June 17, 2020
Without the owner’s direct permission, no NFL club would grant Colin Kaepernick a tryout. That’s one of the reasons the Raiders are the ideal club to give the out-of-work quarterback a shot.
Raiders owner Mark Davis has already said that if his football folks wanted to take a look at Kaepernick, he would support it. “Since 2017, I’ve informed the coaches and general managers that if they want to sign Colin Kaepernick, they have my approval,” he told ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez in 2020.
Back then, the Raiders’ head coaches were Jack Del Rio and Jon Gruden, with Reggie McKenzie and Mike Mayock serving as general managers. None of those governments felt compelled to hire Kaepernick.
Davis has been more supportive of Kaepernick than any other NFL owner since then. Davis said about Kaepernick in an upcoming edition of Race in America: A Candid Conversation on NBC Sports Bay Area:
Colin Kaepernick is someone I believe in. He is deserving of every opportunity to play quarterback in the National Football League. I still believe it…. Colin, I believe, is a misunderstood individual. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with him. Colin was someone I never really got to know, and I didn’t understand him. I was originally perplexed by the kneeling and what it represented. I’ve learnt a little more about it over time. I can see where he’s coming from. He has a message for the whole society.
Colin Kaepernick, according to Mark Davis
It’s no surprise that new head coach Josh McDaniels and new general manager Dave Ziegler are looking at Kaepernick.
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