Colin Kaepernick hasn't played in an NFL game since Jan. 1, 2017.
But if former Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson had his way, the quarterback would have played during the 2017 season.
During an interview with ESPN Cleveland on Friday, Jackson was asked about Kaepernick, and revealed that he pushed for the Browns to sign the former 49ers quarterback.
"I wanted him," Jackson said (H/T The News-Herald). "It just didn't work out. Obviously, those things do have to work from a finance, draft, whatever all that is. And that wasn't my decision."
Throughout the 2016 season, Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem to bring attention to racial injustices plaguing the country.
Following the 2016 NFL season, the 49ers hired Kyle Shanahan as their coach and John Lynch as the general manager. They informed Kaepernick that they planned to release him, so he opted out of his contract.
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Despite his obvious talents, no team has signed Kaepernick since he became a free agent in 2017. He held a workout at an Atlanta area high school last year, but there were no suitors for his services following the showcase.
Jackson, who coached the Raiders in 2011, also mentioned that Oakland planned to draft Kaepernick in 2011 if the 49ers hadn't taken him in the second round.
"I've known Colin," Jackson said. "When I was with the Raiders (2011), we were going to draft him when I was there. So, obviously he'd been a really good player in the league. He had tremendous success."
With protests taking place nationwide over the last two weeks, Jackson believes Kaepernick's original message finally is being heard.
"He is a guy who has stood for something," Jackson said. "I think everybody is seeing exactly where he was coming from … I always thought Colin deserved an opportunity in this league, but he has to want to play. If he really wanted to play, I think he would have a chance again."
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Whether or not the Browns were close to signing Kaepernick, he would have been an upgrade over what they had in-house at the time. The 2017 Cleveland team went 0-16 with DeShone Kizer, Kevin Hogan and Cody Kessler seeing time at quarterback. Kizer started 15 games and threw for 2,891 yards and 11 touchdowns, while being intercepted 22 times.
Despite going 1-10 as the 49ers starter in 2016, Kaepernick completed 59.2 percent of his passes for 2,241 yards and 16 touchdowns. He was intercepted just four times.
Would Kaepernick have made the 2017 Browns a playoff team? Probably not, but they most likely would have been better than 0-16.
Hue Jackson wanted Browns to sign Colin Kaepernick to contract in 2017 originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area