Colin Kaepernick took an important step toward an NFL return on Wednesday, working for the Las Vegas Raiders.
It was the 34-year-old Kaepernick’s first practice with an NFL team since his absence from the league began after the 2016 season. It was during the 2016 preseason that Kaepernick started to kneel during the national anthem before games to protest police brutality and racial inequality.
Recently, Kaepernick publicly showcased his skills at the University of Michigan spring game. Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh was Kaepernick’s coach with the San Francisco 49ers.
“I can help make you a better team,” Kaepernick said during practice at Michigan Stadium. “I can help you win games.”
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OPINION:Coaching Colin Kaepernick is a long overdue move for quarterback-needy Raiders
Here’s what we know about Kaepernick’s possible future in the NFL:
Why would the Las Vegas Raiders give Colin Kaepernick a try?
Last month, Raiders owner Mark Davis said Kaepernick “deserved every chance in the world to be a quarterback in the National Football League.”
“If our coaches and our general manager want to bring him in or want him to be the quarterback for this team, I would welcome him with open arms,” Davis added.
Kaepernick and the Raiders make sense from a football perspective.
Behind Derek Carr, the Raiders quarterback’s depth chart isn’t impressive. Las Vegas let Marcus Mariota – the team’s backup during the 2020 and 2021 seasons – leave via free agency. On May 12, the Raiders traded with the New England Patriots to acquire Jarrett Stidham. Journeyman backup Nick Mullens and Chase Garbers — an undrafted rookie free agent from California — are also on the team’s depth chart. Mullens brings the most experience, having started 17 games during his four-year NFL career.
Have other NFL teams been interested in Colin Kaepernick?
After trading Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos, the Seattle Seahawks were considering possibly adding Kaepernick. However, talks between the Seahawks and Kaepernick have stalled.
“Our conversations haven’t progressed since the first connection we made,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said. “I’ve been watching a bunch of his practices…to keep up to date with what’s going on. He works really hard. He’s all over the country, traveling, doing his practices. So he’s always competing for that.”
Geno Smith, Drew Lock and Jacob Eason are currently the Seahawks quarterbacks.
How long has it been since Colin Kaepernick played in an NFL game?
It has been five and a half years since Kaepernick last appeared in an NFL game. Kaepernick started the 49ers season in the 25-23 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on January 1, 2017. In that game, Kaepernick completed 17 of 22 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown. Kaepernick played in 12 games (making 11 starts) during the 2016 season, throwing for 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions with a passer rating of 90.7. The 49ers finished a dismal 2-14 in 2016, which resulted in Chip Kelly being fired after his only season as San Francisco head coach.
In six seasons with the 49ers, Kaepernick started 58 games. He threw for 12,271 yards, 72 touchdowns with 30 interceptions for a career passer rating of 88.9. During the 2012 season, Kaepernick took over from Alex Smith and helped the 49ers reach Super Bowl 47, where the team lost to the Baltimore Ravens.
What has Colin Kaepernick been up to all this time?
In October 2017, Kaepernick filed a collusion grievance against the league, alleging the owners were conspiring to keep him out of the league. Kaepernick settled that grievance 16 months later.
Kaepernick focused much of his off-pitch energy on civil rights activism. He is also the author of a bestselling children’s book. “I Color Myself Different” is based in part on his life. In 2019, Kaepernick founded his own publishing company, which “striving to uplift a new generation of writers with diverse opinions and voices through the creation of powerful works of all genres that can build a better world. and fairer”. He also has a production company, Ra Vision Media, which created the Netflix series “Colin in Black and White”.
Contributors: Mary Cadden, Tyler Dragon, Tom Schad