Colin Kaepernick had the chance to appear on an NFL team for the first time in over five years. The 34-year-old quarterback, who has been without a club since 2017 after becoming the first American footballer to kneel during the national anthem, was on trial with the Las Vegas Raiders on Wednesday, according to American media.
NFL teams regularly hold so-called “practices” for players, especially off-season. Such tryout training doesn’t always result in a contract, but for Kaepernick it’s the most concrete step toward a comeback since his last NFL game on Jan. 1, 2017.
The American played for the San Francisco 49ers between 2011 and 2017 and led this club to the Super Bowl in 2013 (31-34 defeat against the Baltimore Ravens). Three years later, Kaepernick decided to kneel before NFL games during the US national anthem, protesting police brutality against black people.
The move made Kaepernick a controversial figure among some NFL fans. The 49ers parted ways with their quarterback in early 2017 and no club has given him another chance since.
Kaepernick discovered that the owners of NFL clubs were conspiring against him and took legal action. The sides reached an agreement in 2019 but that didn’t lead to a chance of a comeback.
Colin Kaepernick (center) also took a knee before his final NFL game on January 1, 2017.
Kaepernick agrees to start as reserve
In recent months, Kaepernick has been seen more often in public on a soccer field. In early April, he pitched in front of NFL team scouts at halftime at a University of Michigan game. He then traveled across the United States to train with NFL players in several cities.
In a rare interview last month on the podcast I am an athlete, Kaepernick stressed that he still hopes for a return and doesn’t mind starting as a reserve player. “If I’m not good enough, you can say goodbye to me again,” he said. “But come on, give me a chance to show what I can do.”
The Las Vegas Raiders seem to be giving Kaepernick that chance. Raiders owner Mark Davis said last month he thinks Kaepernick deserves a comeback. “If our coach and our technical director want to bring him in, I welcome Colin with open arms.”
Derek Carr has been the Las Vegas Raiders quarterback for eight years. The 31-year-old American signed a very lucrative new contract last month until 2025. In Nick Mullens, Jarrett Stidham and Chase Garbers, the Raiders have three lesser-known quarterbacks under contract. An NFL team usually has two or three quarterbacks on its roster during the season.
The new NFL season begins on September 9.
For app users, tap the tweet to watch a video of Colin Kaepernick’s recent workout.
“Introvert. Avid gamer. Wannabe beer advocate. Subtly charming zombie junkie. Social media trailblazer. Web scholar.”