Colin Kaepernick Still Has the Chops to Be an Amazing Quarterback, but the NFL Will Never Let Him Back In

Colin Kaepernick is certainly a controversial figure. Recently, he appeared in the news again after becoming outspoken about wanting another chance in the NFL. Kaepernick has stated he would accept a backup quarterback job. While he seemed more than capable of at least being a backup in the league during his last stint, it’s unlikely he’ll ever get a chance to return to the NFL. 

Let’s take a closer look at the controversy surrounding Kaepernick, why he won’t get another shot, and what his supporters and detractors think of him. 

The initial controversy around Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel is still a hot topic

In 2016, Kaepernick made headlines for kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality against Black people. Some saw this as the ultimate act of disrespect. Others saw it as an inspiring peaceful protest for a just cause. 

It dominated headlines and airwaves. After opting out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers, Kaepernick did not receive another opportunity to play in the league. Since then, he’s been a vocal activist, producing a Netflix series on social justice. He’s also participated in tryouts to show that he can still play in the league. 

It’s unlikely Kaepernick will get another shot to play in the NFL

Colin Kaepernick interacts with fans as he leaves the field following the Michigan Football spring game
Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick interacts with Michigan Wolverines fans | Jaime Crawford/Getty Images

According to The Week, Kaepernick has expressed interest in returning to the pro game. His odds to make that leap seem questionable at best. Taking the social and political angles out of it for a moment, let’s examine a few truths: It has been several years since Kaepernick has played. While he seems to be in top shape, there would still be a ramp-up period he’d need to get game-ready in terms of conditioning. He hasn’t seen live action in quite some time, and that might lead to a tough adjustment for him. 

At his best, Kaepernick would enter the league as a mid-thirties backup QB. There’s a chance he may have lost a step or some of his ability, which would make it harder for him to compete at a high level. Factor that in with the controversy he’d bring (good or bad), and it’s a recipe for many teams staying away.

As far as off-field concerns go, there are likely many people in the league who still hold a grudge against Kaepernick. There’s no concrete evidence that the league owners and executives colluded to keep Kaepernick out of the NFL — or at least no evidence that’s been made public. But the NFL did settle a lawsuit with Kaepernick out of court. It’s not hard to imagine a scenario where Kaepernick was unfairly maligned by the NFL team owners. 

Perhaps Kaepernick wasn’t colluded against. But the possibility does exist. If it did happen, one can bet the rightfully unapologetic quarterback is still held in low regard among NFL ownership. 

Colin Kaepernick’s latest efforts to re-enter the NFL have supporters and detractors

There seem to be Kaepernick fans and haters on both sides of this issue. One vocal supporter of Kaepernick’s comeback attempt is Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields. According to Sports Illustrated, Fields participated in a joint workout with the former NFC championship-winning QB and sang his praises. “It was awesome just to meet him and work with him,” said Fields, adding, “He looked pretty good.”

Others aren’t as supportive. Clay Travis of Outkick Sports is dismissive of Kaepernick. He stated that Kaepernick’s “martyrdom is over.” He added, “Colin Kaepernick doesn’t matter anymore if he’s standing on a sideline holding a clipboard; not even good enough to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, which is where I think his skill set would be.” 

So will Kaepernick ever play another down? It’s hard to tell. The only certainty is that if he is ever signed again, it will be a hot topic among those who want to see him succeed and those who wish him to fail.

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