NFL

Does Colin Kaepernick Still Play Football?

To non-NFL fans, Colin Kaepernick’s name may be more synonymous with his activism and the controversy that came when he took a knee for the national anthem. While his work toward social justice has been significant, his success on the field can’t be ignored. Despite this, he’s currently without a team. Will Colin Kaepernick see the field?

Colin Kaepernick’s front-row seat

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Before Kaepernick was more synonymous with social activism, he was a standout quarterback in Nevada’s football program, details Pro Football Reference. There, he caught the eyes of NFL scouts due to his relentless playstyle and quick footspeed. While the QB wasn’t a shoo-in for the early draft, he was bound to get selected. When the 49ers did just that, he had a front-row seat to the NFL before he took the field.

At the time of Kaepernick’s selection, the 49ers were all in on Alex Smith at quarterback. Smith was still in his prime, and Kaepernick still had some things to work on. He played in just three games, playing only one or two throws in each as a rookie. However, seeing the NFL firsthand, Kaepernick used it as a learning opportunity

Kaepernick; gets a shot

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By his second year, Kaepernick still rode the bench. Then, Smith suffered an injury during one of the team’s best seasons in years. Kaepernick showed that he was ready for the big leagues. He led the team to a 5-2 record and took them to the Super Bowl. There, the team fell to the Ravens despite a valiant comeback effort. 

Regardless of the loss, the 49ers decided Kaepernick was their quarterback. In 2013, teams were better prepared for him. But he still had a promising year, throwing 3,197 yards for 21 touchdowns, eight interceptions, and 500 rushing yards. The team fell short, however, as Kaepernick and company fell to the rival Seattle Seahawks in heartbreaking fashion come postseason.

He never again saw that much success, details Sporting News. The 49ers went just 8-8 under Kaepernick during his fourth year and a combined 3-16 afterward. While his foot speed and arm showed promise, Kaepernick was no longer stifling defenses like he once was, and the distractions off the field began to wear on the team. 

Is Kaepernick still playing?

Kaepernick’s final months in the NFL made him a pariah or a martyr, depending on who was asked. To those who supported his cause, his decision to sit and kneel for the national anthem was an act of bravery that spread an important message. To those who did not agree, however, his protests were an act of disrespect not only to the country but to the troops and police officers who allegedly kept it safe from tyranny. 

Kaepernick last took the field in 2016. While he continues to work out and await a phone call, many feel that he has been blackballed. Despite having far worse careers than Kaepernick, several quarterbacks had gotten the call many times before Kaepernick got a single offer. Teams like the Broncos claimed to have given Kaepernick an offer to join the team, but those often came with stipulations that seemed ceremonial. 

Kaepernick worked out in front of several NFL scouts in 2019. Still, after the league levied harsh restrictions and tried to force him into certain things he didn’t feel comfortable doing, the workout was little more than a media circus. To this day, Kaepernick is hoping to have another shot at NFL glory. But his name means something far greater than football, details The Undefeated.

Kaepernick has a lucrative Nike deal that combines his love of sports with activism. He spends his time working toward equality for the black community and spreading the word on vital issues. Still, a fitting end to his career would be for Kaepernick to take the field and show that the NFL has a place for those who mix activism and sports. However, if he doesn’t, his impact will go far beyond whatever he did during his playing days.