Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Reid listed current quarterbacks who have recently sustained injuries, including the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger, the New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees and Reid’s teammate Cam Newton, who suffered a foot injury in a preseason game in August.
“It happens every year. ... [The league has] been bringing quarterbacks out of retirement ― guys who have said ‘I don’t want to play football anymore’ have gotten calls about playing football and Colin hasn’t,” Reid told reporters.
“We’ll see if it will be different this time,” he added.
The New York Jets announced earlier this week that its third-string quarterback, Luke Falk, will start Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots while the team’s starting quarterback, Sam Darnold, recovers from mono.
Kaepernick, who famously led peaceful protests against social injustice by kneeling during the playing of the national anthem at NFL games, has remained unsigned by a team since he became a free agent after the 2016 season. The NFL has been widely accused of blackballing the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback for his protests.
Reid’s comments gained traction on social media after Kaepernick’s youth nonprofit Know Your Rights Camp tweeted a clip recorded by local station News Talk 1110 & 99.3 WBT.
— KnowYourRightsCamp (@yourrightscamp) September 18, 2019
Reid, who was the first NFL player to kneel alongside his then-teammate, joins the chorus of athletes and commentators who have reignited criticism that Kaepernick remains unsigned with the 2019 football season now underway.
Domonique Foxworth, former NFL player and senior writer at The Undefeated, said on ESPN’s “First Take” this week: “No one with any good sense thinks that Colin Kaepernick is not talented enough to be in the league.”
“These individual owners are sending a message that they do not believe in the things he believes in strongly enough to put themselves out there,” Foxworth later added.
Many Twitter users, including Reid, have shared examples of Kaepernick’s past game statistics to counter those who argue that the former 49ers player hasn’t been signed by a new team over issues of talent.
Cam out w/foot injury. Colin Kaepernick, 31 years old, healthy, having led the 49ers to an NFC championship game, and a Super Bowl, can’t get his call returned by a single team. https://t.co/ARvTp2Ty1u
— Max Kellerman (@maxkellerman) September 17, 2019
“Staying ready against the odds!” he wrote in the post’s caption.
Kaepernick’s attorney Mark Geragos told USA Today on Tuesday that his client is “actively, actively interested in trying to play in the NFL.”
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.