Suddenly, professional football is interested in Colin Kaepernick again.
Kaepernick began silently demonstrating against police violence directed toward young Black men in 2016, kneeling during the national anthem. He was pretty much persona non grata by 2017. In just the last week, though, an NFL analyst has declared him better than every active backup quarterback in the league, and Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said he knows "somebody is interested" in signing Kap.
In a Friday appearance on the NFL Network, analyst Nate Burleson answered a question about the impact of letting Colin Kaepernick come back since the league as a whole has begun expressing support for the issue he first addressed four years ago.
Burleson was blunt. He said that no backup quarterback in the league is Kaepernick's equal.
Here's the full quote:
I guarantee that he can come in and help a team. I can clearly say right now, with extreme confidence that Kaepernick is better than every single backup in the entire NFL.
That’s not me taking a shot at the backups. That’s just me appreciating the fact that Kaepernick once took his team to a Super Bowl, NFC Championship Game, and that everything that we’re seeing when it comes to RPOs and the fantastic offense that some of these running quarterbacks are being very, very good in – looking at Lamar Jackson – Kaepernick was doing that.
A while ago. In the NFC West when the Seattle Seahawks had one of the best defenses in the history of the NFL.
In a report from the AFP (via Yahoo), Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was a little less straightforward but no less positive than Burleson:
Carroll told reporters Thursday that he regrets not signing Kaepernick when he met with the Seahawks in 2017 but indicated that someone seeks information about the former San Francisco 49ers star.
"I got a phone call today asking and inquiring about the situation," Carroll said. "I know somebody is interested so we'll see what happens with that."
There is, however, the open question of whether Kaepernick's name would have come up at all were it not for evidence that the societal shift in favor of police reform is very real--forcing the NFL to finally acquiesce to what it believes fans want to see.
As far as the quarterback is concerned--TMZ reported last week that Kaepernick was "still training like a maniac" with an eye toward returning to the gridiron.
Regardless of the NFL's reasons for taking him back, it may be that Colin Kaepernick is ready to get back to the game regardless, if for no other reason than to elevate his visibility--and amplify his message--again.