Quarterback Colin Kaepernick worked out for 40 minutes in front of representatives from eight NFL teams on Saturday near Atlanta, then gave a short statement afterward saying he is ready to join a team and play at any time.
“I’ve been ready for three years,” Kaepernick said. “I’ve been denied for three years. We all know why I came out here: Showed it today in front of everybody. We have nothing to hide. So we’re waiting for the 32 owners, 32 teams, Roger Goodell, all of them to stop running. Stop running from the truth. Stop running from the people.
“We’re out here. We’re ready to play. We’re ready to go anywhere. My agent, Jeff Nalley, is ready to talk any team. I’ll interview with any team at any time. I’ve been ready.”
The number of teams represented was about a third of the expectation, after Kaepernick changed the time and location of the workout earlier Saturday and opened it up to the media against the NFL’s wishes.
Backed by his representatives, Kaepernick changed the time of the 3 p.m. ET workout, which was moved to Charles Drew High School in Riverdale, Ga., about 60 miles from the Atlanta Falcons’ training complex in Flowery Branch, where the session for 25 teams was originally scheduled to take place.
Apparently, the change in venue didn’t affect Kaepernick’s performance. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that an NFL executive at the session told him Kaepernick’s arm is “elite” and that he threw the ball well. Kaepernick worked with several free agent wide receivers, including Bruce Ellington and Brice Butler, and friend and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid was there to support him for a portion of it.
Prior to the showcase, Kaepernick’s representatives expressed that they had issues with a liability waiver the league provided the QB to sign, and wanted members of the media to be able to see the workout and also videotape it.
“Our biggest thing with everything today was making sure we had transparency in what went on,” Kaepernick said afterward. “We weren’t getting that elsewhere, so we came out here. It’s important that y’all (the media) are here.”
Former Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson, with the help of former Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin, were set to direct the original session, but they did not once Kaepernick’s plans changed.
After the change of plans, the NFL released a statement that read in part:
“We are disappointed that Colin did not appear for his workout. He informed us of that decision at 2:30 p.m. today along with the public. …
“Today’s session was designed to give Colin what he has consistently said he wants — an opportunity to show his football readiness and desire to return to the NFL. Twenty-five (25) clubs were present for the workout, and all 32 clubs, their head coaches, general managers, and other personnel executives would have received video footage of the interview and workout, shot by the Atlanta Falcons video crew. …
“We heard for the first time last night, around the same time we heard from Nike, that Colin wanted to bring his own video crew. We heard for the first time this afternoon that Colin wanted to open the event to all media.”
The lengthy statement ended with, “Colin’s decision has no effect on his status in the League. He remains an unrestricted free agent eligible to sign with any club.”
Nalley also spoke to reporters afterward, but he wasn’t optimistic about the odds of a team signing his client.
“I hope so, but I don’t know,” Nalley said. “I’ll be honest, I’m a little bit pessimistic because I’ve talked to all 32 teams. I’ve reached out to them recently and none of them have had any interest.
“I’ll tell you this: No team asked for this workout. The league office asked for this workout. And, I’ve got to tell you what, I’ve got to hand it to Colin. He stepped up, showed his in shape. I talked to the NFL people out here today. They said his arm talent is elite, that it’s the same as when he came out of college. I even asked them if you want to get him on a scale, see what he weighs — they said, ‘We don’t need to. He looks ripped. He looks in great shape.'”
Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who began kneeling on the sideline during the national anthem to bring attention to social injustice, has not played since the 2016 season.
The 32-year-old has played six seasons in the NFL and participated in six postseason games, including Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, when the 49ers lost 34-31 to the Baltimore Ravens.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)