If the Washington Redskins are willing to pick up the phone and call Colin Kaepernick, two sources close to the former NFL quarterback said he is ready and willing to play for the franchise.
The sources told Yahoo Sports on Sunday that Kaepernick remains willing to play for any NFL team that wants to offer him a job. Both stressed that “any NFL team” includes the Redskins, in spite of longstanding criticism over the team’s logo and name, as well as team owner Dan Snyder having been one of the most critical owners on the issue of players kneeling during the national anthem.
Asked if Kaepernick would be willing to play for the Redskins as early as next week, one source replied, “He’s a professional Super Bowl-caliber quarterback and in the best shape of his life and he would play if given the opportunity on any NFL team.”
The sources said Kaepernick has been working out and maintaining a conditioning and throwing regimen to be prepared if a team were to call with a job offer. Both added the Redskins have “never” reached out to the former San Francisco 49er, despite Washington head coach Jay Gruden telling reporters last week that Kaepernick was “discussed” after injuries knocked Alex Smith and Colt McCoy out for the season. Washington instead turned to Mark Sanchez, who was added to the roster in late November.
“No call for a job, no call for a tryout, no calls period – nothing,” one source said.
As it stands, Kaepernick is in the final stages of a collusion case against the NFL that alleges the league conspired to keep him out after he began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016. Multiple NFL players adopted Kaepernick’s protest in 2017, hoping to draw attention to social justice and racial inequality issues. The actions sparked a political firestorm from President Donald Trump and the furor became such a central issue for the league for nearly one year that it instituted a rule that banned protests during the national anthem. That rule has since been shelved by the NFL and now appears to be dead, for all intents and purposes.
Pressed about his reticence to signing Kaepernick this past week, Gruden suggested the decision had nothing to do with the collusion case or political implications. Instead, Gruden said the conclusion came down to having to “teach a whole new offense with a lot of zone-reads.” This despite Kaepernick having run a Super Bowl offense under Jim Harbaugh that contained zone reads and featured other similarities to the scheme currently run in Washington.
“There’s not a lot of time to get a brand-new quarterback and system installed in a couple of days,” Gruden said when discussing Kaepernick earlier in the week. “He’s been talked about, but we’ll probably go in a different direction. … [The decision is] just football. Strictly football. When you’re talking about a backup quarterback this late in the game you want someone with a similar skill set to the quarterback you have. Not that Colin can’t do some of the things we’ve talked about. We want someone with a little more familiarity.”
The Redskins lost to the New York Giants 40-16 at home Sunday, after trailing in the game 40-0 into the fourth quarter. Washington fourth-string quarterback Josh Johnson finishing the game for a benched Mark Sanchez. Johnson was throwing his first regular-season pass in the NFL since 2013.
The Redskins’ decision to decline any kind of look at Kaepernick drew a fresh round of criticism for the franchise over the past several days following the Redskins’ controversial addition of linebacker Reuben Foster in late November. Foster was arrested in November for the third time in 2018, following an altercation in which he was alleged to have struck his girlfriend in the 49ers team hotel during a trip in Tampa Bay. Washington responded to the criticism by defending the addition of Foster, including vice president Doug Williams calling the allegations “small potatoes” during a radio interview. Williams later apologized for the remark.
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