Colin Kaepernick trains with Odell Beckham Jr., Deshaun Watson at UCLA
Colin Kaepernick hasn’t played a down in the NFL since the 2016 season, after which he was deemed persona non grata by the 49ers and every other team. This had far more to do with Kaepernick’s on-field protests and off-field political views than anything having to do with his talent. In an era when terrible quarterbacks frequently get multiple chances with multiple teams to start games in the regular season, Kaepernick has remained unsigned despite several tryouts with several teams, and the fact that he threw 16 touchdowns and four picks with a 2016 49ers team that may well have been the worst in the league.
That doesn’t mean he isn’t still working to stay in football shape just in case the NFL changes its collective mind.
According to the Twitter account for UCLA Newsroom, Kaepernick was recently spotted at the university’s athletic facilities, training with FC Bayern Munich and a couple of fairly successful NFL players.
The picture of Beckham and Kaepernick together is particularly interesting and seems to be yet another example of how NFL players feel about Kaepernick’s viability in the league — no matter what the owners, general managers and coaches seem to believe in lockstep.
“It’s not like he’s a bad player,” 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman said of Kaepernick in October 2017, per Gregg Bell of the Tacoma News-Tribune. “It’s not like we are talking about a guy who’s never won a football game, who’s never taken his team to a Super Bowl. There’s quarterbacks out there (in the NFL) that’s never taken their team to the playoffs, never had a winning record, that have jobs, that are starters in this league.”
Aaron Rodgers, who knows a few things about quarterbacking, said much the same thing a few months before.
“I think he should be on a roster right now,” Rodgers told ESPN’s Mina Kimes. “I think because of his protests, he’s not.”
He’s still not, but he keeps working to make sure he’s ready if the opportunity arises. Another thing that might get in the way is the collusion grievance Kaepernick and his legal team filed against the NFL, along with former teammate Eric Reid. That grievance ended in a settlement, and though Reid is still in the NFL, there appears to be no room for Kaepernick.
If that continues, it won’t be because of his own lack of effort, or the support of the men who would be his teammates and opponents.