It’s not about politics anymore, but his age.
It has been seven years since Colin Kaepernick has taken an NFL snap. He was never the best quarterback in the league, but he certainly wasn’t the worst. The only reason he isn’t playing is due to his decision to kneel for the national anthem during the 2016 season. While it’s a move that many players across multiple sports leagues have emulated, Kaepernick is the only one who has seen serious repercussions for it.
He has been working hard at an NFL comeback for several years now but hasn’t had any luck. Last year, the Las Vegas Raiders took a look at him and gave him a workout but decided against signing him. Owner Mark Davis made it clear that he stands with Kaepernick’s right to express his opinion and gave the coaching staff the go-ahead to sign him. They ended up not giving him a contract and there hasn’t been any traction on him landing with a team since.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 30, 2023
The quarterback is 35 now and it’s hard to imagine a scenario where he would still be able to be a capable starter after so many years away. That’s not going to stop him from trying. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Kaepernick made it clear that he’s still trying to make a return to the football field.
“I’m going to keep pushing,” Kaepernick said. “I’m going to keep fighting for it because I know I can step on the field and play. Every workout, every opportunity I’ve had to show that, the feedback has always been positive. Everything from, ‘He’s still an elite player,’ to ‘The workout was great; it was better than expected.’
“When I had my workout with the Raiders last year, even training with guys, there’s a decent amount of people who may have forgotten what I was capable of doing on the field, so any chance to be able to remind people of what I can do out there, I look forward to and embrace, and I look forward to the day that I get to step on the field and show people what I can do.”
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 29, 2023
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At this point, the controversy surrounding Kaepernick is old NFL news. The biggest problem facing him is age, not politics. Obviously, politics was the biggest reason he wasn’t able to land with a team seven years ago, but it’s fair to question if he’s worth all of the media coverage at this age. He could still be a decent backup. He can still toss a football 60 yards downfield and should still retain some of his athleticism. That said, he’s not a starting quarterback anymore. It’s possible that a team will give him another chance, but his window is starting to close.
Now, quarterbacks have been playing much longer these days. Tom Brady was still playing at a high level at 45, but he also never had a seven-year hiatus. Kaepernick appears destined to keep working until he gets another shot, but he may be fighting a losing battle.
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