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Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is working out for the Las Vegas Raiders on Wednesday, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.
Kaepernick, who hasn’t played in the NFL in more than five years, had a free-agent visit with the Seattle Seahawks in May of 2017, and recently threw in front of NFL scouts during halftime of the University of Michigan’s spring game on April 2.
Kaepernick last played with the San Francisco 49ers during the 2016 season, during which he peacefully protested social injustice and police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem prior to games. Kaepernick went unsigned in the following offseason and has been working toward finding employment in the league.
The 34-year-old is working out for a Raiders club owned by Mark Davis, who previously stated this year that Kaepernick “deserves every chance in the world to become a quarterback in the National Football League. I still stand by it. If our coaches and general manager want to bring him in or want him to be the quarterback on this team, I would welcome him with open arms.”
With Derek Carr firmly situated as the Raiders’ starting quarterback, Kaepernick would be competing for a reserve spot in the QB room among Jarrett Stidham, Nick Mullens and Chase Garbers, who are currently on the Las Vegas roster.
Weeks after his workout at Michigan, Kaepernick let it be known he would be OK with signing with a team as a backup, though his ultimate goal is to prove he still has what it takes to start in the league.
“Yeah. I know I have to find my way back in,” Kaepernick said. “So, yeah, if I have to come in as a backup that’s fine, 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.”
Kaepernick seems to have garnered that opportunity as Wednesday’s workout is a huge first step in what thus far amounts to a five-year odyssey to get back onto an NFL roster. However, it’s still just a preliminary step.
In 2019, Kaepernick worked out in front of multiple NFL teams in Atlanta, but no team workouts or offers came from it.
Wednesday’s Raiders workout is believed to be Kaepernick’s first workout for an individual NFL team since his days with the Niners. However, he rekindled interest in the 2020 offseason when Commissioner Roger Goodell said he would encourage any league squad to sign the quarterback.
A Nevada product who became the 49ers’ starting quarterback by his second NFL season, Kaepernick’s dual-threat abilities were a great fit for head coach Jim Harbaugh’s offense with San Francisco. His accuracy was often called into question, though, and that along with how his speed and legs have held up in the time away will be concerns going forward as new Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler take a look at him.
One familiar and friendly face for Kaepernick is Las Vegas offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi, who as Rapoport noted, spent the early part of his career as an assistant with the Niners when Kaepernick was on the roster.
Over his six NFL seasons and 69 games with the Niners, Kaepernick completed 1,011 of 1,692 passes (59.8%) for 12,271 yards, 72 touchdowns and 30 interceptions and rushed for 2,300 yards on 375 carries for 13 touchdowns.
How Kaepernick looks in front of a captivated Raiders audience and, ultimately, what lies ahead after Wednesday are now the questions at hand.