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Colin Kaepernick is still working out in hopes of getting back onto an NFL team.
He said in a recent podcast interview he “absolutely” wants to play in the NFL again and is even willing to return to the league as a backup quarterback if that helps his comeback chances.
“Five years of training behind the scenes,” Kaepernick told former NFL stars Brandon Marshall, Chad Johnson, and Pacman Jones during an interview with the “I AM ATHLETE” podcast that aired Monday. “You don’t do that if you don’t have a passion, and you don’t believe you’re gonna find a way on that field.”
“I know I have to find my way back in. So yeah. If I have to come in as a backup, that’s fine,” he said. “But that’s not where I’m staying. And when I prove that I’m a starter, I want to be able to step on the field as such. I just need that opportunity to walk through the door.”
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Kaepernick last played in the NFL in 2016, the same year he started kneeling during the national anthem in protest of racial injustice. Asked why owners and general managers should buy that he would make their locker room better and not be a distraction, Kaepernick argued that the league now pledges to support similar issues he advocated for in the past.
“You have ‘End Racism’ in the back of your end zone. You have ‘Black Lives Matter’ on your helmet. Everything I’ve said should be in alignment with what you’re saying publicly,” Kaepernick said. “It’s a $16 billion business. When I first took a knee, my jersey went to No. 1. When I did the deal with Nike, their value increased by $6 billion. Six billion. With a B.”
“So if you’re talking about the business side, it shows beneficial. If you’re talking about the playing side, come in, [and] let me compete. You can evaluate me from there,” he added. “The NFL is supposed to be a meritocracy. Come in, let me compete. If I’m not good enough, get rid of me. But let me come in and show you.”
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This month, Kaepernick reunited with Jim Harbaugh at Michigan’s spring game, where he was invited to participate in a throwing audition for NFL scouts. The quarterback reportedly ran a number of throwing drills during a 15-minute session with draft-eligible players at halftime.
On the podcast Monday, Kaepernick noted that Harbaugh and Chip Kelly, his former coaches with the San Francisco 49ers, said he “made the locker room better.”
“That 2016 season, my last year, my teammates voted me the most courageous and inspirational player. So, when you’re talking about the people that are actually in the building, that has never come out that I’ve been a distraction. It’s never come out that I’ve been an issue for the people I’ve played with,” he said.
The 34-year-old quarterback said he kept quiet on his desire to play in the NFL again because he didn’t want to be a distraction for interested teams. He said not a single team hosted him for an opportunity since his departure from the 49ers.
“No teams brought me in for a workout,” Kaepernick said. “No team has brought me in for an opportunity. I had the one meeting with Seattle in 2017. And out of that, [head coach] Pete Carroll said, ‘Hey, he’s a starter; we have a starter.’ And things moved on from there, but they don’t have a starter right now.”
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Kaepernick threw for 12,271 yards and 72 touchdowns over six seasons with San Francisco. He was the starting quarterback in Super Bowl XLVII, which the 49ers lost to the Baltimore Ravens.
“I’ve been to the Super Bowl,” Kaepernick said, noting he was one play away from an NFL championship. “I need to finish that.”