It wasn't strange to hear Pete Carroll on Thursday once again detail the Seattle Seahawks' previous interest in former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, considering Kaepernick's close links with San Francisco's NFC West rivals since he became a free agent in 2017.
It was strange to hear Carroll reveal who he called for information on the QB before Kaepernick visited the Seahawks' facility that year.
"I got a phone call today for the first time," Carroll said Thursday of the unnamed team he said called the Seahawks to ask about Kaepernick. "The only guy I ever talked to about it -- other than just for our own internal information -- I called Jim Harbaugh way back when because I respected what he would tell me. That's the only guy I ever talked to about it."
You mean the same Jim Harbaugh whose 49ers drafted Kaepernick in the second round (No. 45 overall) in 2011? The same Jim Harbaugh who kept Kaepernick as the starter in 2012 even after Alex Smith recovered from a concussion?
The same Jim Harbaugh whose rivalry with Carroll dates back to their days at Stanford and USC, respectively? The same Jim Harbaugh who -- in no particular order -- once asked Carroll "What's your deal?" after Carroll objected to Stanford running up the score in 2009, reportedly told 49ers CEO Jed York he was ready to beat Carroll again when San Francisco hired him in 2011 and accused the Seahawks of cheating in 2013 when referring to the team's PED scandals?
Yes, that Jim Harbaugh.
"That was before we ever visited [Kaepernick], and [Harbaugh] glowingly supported Kap and all that," Carroll continued. "That's why we were so positive as well. He gave us reinforcement."
Carroll said Thursday the Seahawks didn't sign Kaepernick in 2017 because "it was so obvious that he's a starter in the NFL" and that "it wasn't going to be an open, competitive situation" with Russell Wilson entrenched as the starting QB. Harbaugh has consistently said Kaepernick is good enough to have an NFL job as he remained unsigned for more than three years, but Harbaugh wasn't initially as effusive of Kaepernick's protest during the 2016 season.
Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality and institutional racism, and Harbaugh initially said he didn't "respect the motivation" of Kaepernick's protest. The current Michigan coach clarified later on Twitter that he didn't support the "method of action," and his views evolved as he reflected on Kaepernick's words and saw some of his Michigan players protest by raising their fists during their anthem.
Harbaugh called Kaepernick "a hero" in a 2017 interview with the MMQB and wrote Kaepernick's introduction when Time named the QB one of its 100 most influential people. Carroll, too, has praised Kaepernick's protest of late. He said on The Ringer's "Flying Coach" podcast that "we owe a tremendous amount" to Kaepernick as global protests against the same issues he highlighted spung up in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis Police custody on Memorial Day.
It turns out these two long-time rivals can agree on something.
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Pete Carroll shockingly called Jim Harbaugh about Colin Kaepernick in 2017 originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area