The NFL has announced that a private workout will be held for quarterback Colin Kaepernick this Saturday in Atlanta, including both an on-field session, and interviews with interested teams.
All NFL teams were invited to the workout, though it remains unclear how many are planning to attend.
Kaepernick Settled Collusion Case Earlier This Year
Kaepernick hasn’t played in the NFL since the 2016 season. That coincided with his decision to protest racial injustice before games by kneeling during the national anthem — actions that proved divisive among NFL fans.
Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL alleging that teams had colluded to avoid signing him to a team. In February, it was announced that he and former San Francisco 49ers teammate Eric Reid settled their collusion cases with the NFL, though terms of those agreements were not disclosed.
On Tuesday, Kaepernick tweeted to confirm the workout will take place.
I’m just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday. I’ve been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can’t wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday.
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) November 13, 2019
According to ESPN, Kaepernick and his representatives were no more aware of the workout than anyone else heading into Tuesday. The quarterback’s representatives were informed about the plan at 10am on Tuesday, about six hours before a notice was sent to teams about the event.
Questions Remain Over NFL’s Intentions
ESPN cited sources as saying that the NFL insisted that the event be on a Saturday – despite the fact that most NFL workouts take place on Tuesdays. ESPN further reported that the league was unwilling to move the workout to the following weekend, despite the short amount of time teams have to find representatives who can attend the event. ESPN’s sources said the NFL didn’t provide a reason for refusing to move the date.
Media outlets have reached out to numerous teams across the league, and found that several plan to attend the meeting.
Miami Dolphins coach, Brian Flores told reporters his team would have a representative in Atlanta. The Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons, and Dallas Cowboys also say they have plans to see how Kaepernick performs.
“As an organization, we always do our due diligence on all players that are available,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said via TMZ. “So I know [general manager Bob Quinn] and his staff will have someone down there to watch the workout, and we’ll see where that goes.”
According to TMZ, coaches for Denver, Houston, Chicago, Indianapolis, Baltimore, and New England have all said they do not know if their teams will send anyone to watch the workout.
One of the remaining questions surrounding Saturday’s workout is whether any teams might even considering signing Kaepernick, or whether this is simply a way to suggest the league is giving the quarterback a chance.
“At this point, it feels like a PR stunt, being that it’s on a Saturday,” said Reid, who is now a safety for the Carolina Panthers. “We’ll see if it’s a real process. We’ll see if it’s a real event.”
The 32-year-old Kaepernick played for the San Francisco 49ers from 2011 through 2012, serving as the team’s starting quarterback beginning in his second season. While the Niners compiled a middling 28-30 record over his starts, his statistics suggest that he was worthy of a starting quarterback job – let alone simply a roster spot – on an NFL team after his final season in 2016.
Colin Kaepernick has the 23rd highest career passer rating in NFL history, the 17th highest career adjusted yards per attempt in NFL history, the 2nd best interception rate in NFL history and the 9th most rushing yards per game of any QB in NFL history
— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) November 13, 2019