Colin Kaepernick still wants to play football.
Of course, that comes with a caveat. Kaepernick wants to play football, but he wants to do so at the right price — at least according to XFL commissioner Oliver Luck, who revealed earlier this week that Kap had some pretty unrealistic salary demands for the start-up league.
But salary didn’t come up on Thursday when Kaepernick sat down with USA TODAY to discuss his upcoming memoir, which will be published trough his newly formed company, Kaepernick Publishing, in a partnership with Audible.
However, the word “desire” most certainly did.
“My desire to play football is still there,” Kaepernick said. “I still train five days a week. I’m ready to go, I’m ready for a phone call, tryout, workout at any point in time. I’m still waiting on the owners and their partners to stop running from this situation. So I hope I get a call this offseason. I’ll be looking forward to it.”
Kaepernick had an NFL-sponsored workout scheduled in November, but he ultimately chose to move the location and workout on his own after a disagreement with the league. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell later called it a “credible opportunity” that Kaepernick “chose not to take” and that the league had moved on.
Since that workout snafu, no NFL teams have expressed an interest in Kaepernick and he’s kept all alternative leagues/options at arms length.
While the XFL is partially meant as a showcase for players who want to get back into the NFL, there are some high-profile players who are not in the league at the moment.
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick is one of them, but according to XFL commissioner Oliver Luck, the two sides did talk. Luck told NPR’s Michel Martin that the quarterback’s salary demands did not fit with the league.
“We gave it some thought,” Luck said. “We have some pretty significant salary restrictions, you know. We’re a start-up league, so we want to make sure that we can be fiscally responsible and fiscally prudent. And the, you know, salary requirements that some folks, you know, shared with us were in our case exorbitant, so we, you know, couldn’t go down that path.”
Luck clarified that the league did speak to Kaepernick’s representatives, but the financial demands were “out of our range.” The XFL commissioner was noncommittal when asked if the league would ever revisit the opportunity.
“I don’t know what kind of shape, you know, Colin is in,” Luck said. “And, you know, we haven’t followed that because obviously, again, we want the best players who are interested in playing in our league. That’s, you know, pretty much a requisite for our job.”
It’s important to note that the XFL mandates standing for the national anthem. Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the anthem as a form of protest is regarded by many as a major reason that he hasn’t been able to get back into the NFL.
Kaepernick has never appeared all that interested in playing for any NFL alternatives. If the figures he asked of the now-defunct AAF are any indication, it’s understandable why talks with the XFL didn’t get anywhere.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell weighed in on the league-sponsored workout for Colin Kaepernick that ultimately didn’t take place.
In a Wednesday press conference, Goodell said that he understood Kaepernick’s decision not to take part in the workout, adding that the purpose of the workout was to give Kaepernick a “credible opportunity” to get back into the league. He concluded by stating that the league has moved on.
On Colin Kaepernick and what went into the FA workout, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “It was about opportunity, a credible opportunity. … He chose not to take it, and I understand that.” And the league has moved on.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 11, 2019
Of course Goodell isn’t going to speak negatively about Kaepernick, especially since the league could still theoretically face legal exposure. The commissioner was reportedly heavily involved in the planning of the workout, and he would not have liked to see the PR fiasco that it turned into. It’s a diplomatic answer from Goodell, and probably the only one that he could have given — but it doesn’t sound like they’ll be granting Kaepernick any more help in the future.
One of the issues Colin Kaepernick’s camp had with the workout the NFL set up for the free agent quarterback is that they were informed on such short notice, and it will likely irritate Kaepernick and his people more to hear how long the league spent planning the event.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spent months working through details of a potential workout for Kaepernick and discussing the idea with some team owners, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. Initial discussions about Kaepernick began before the start of the regular season, and the idea to host a workout for Kaepernick was reportedly Goodell’s idea.
Goodell is said to have proposed the idea to host a workout for Kaepernick not long after the NFL announced a partnership with Jay-Z and his company, Roc Nation. Jay-Z reportedly pushed the NFL to hold the workout, but a source insisted to La Canfora that it was Goodell who wanted to “do the right thing.”
“He really did a lot of this own his own, keeping everything very quiet,” the source said. “He probably spoke to 10 owners, at least … He really wanted to do the right there here, and I understand if some people will say that something should have happened sooner and it took too long, but you have to allow that there can be a course correction and Roger really did invest himself in this process.”
Kaepernick would likely argue that Goodell should have involved him and his people in the planning process if their intentions were pure, but Goodell apparently wanted to wait to be sure he had support from at least 20 teams. We laid out previously how we believe the NFL was trying to protect itself against a second lawsuit from Kaepernick after his representatives issued a press release in October.
Of course, the information all depends on the sources. NFL sources are motivated to make it seem as though the Kaepernick workout was not a publicity stunt, while many believe Kaepernick doesn’t truly want to play football again and would rather further the narrative that he has been blacklisted by the league.
Kaepernick ended up holding his own private workout due to supposed issues over media access and a waiver the NFL asked him to sign. Around a handful of teams attended, but it does not sound like he is any close to being signed than he was before the showcase.
Colin Kaepernick does not appear to have sparked much interest from NFL teams with the workout he held in Atlanta earlier this month, but the free agent quarterback wants to continue sending the message that he is ready to play.
On Monday, Kaepernick shared a promo video on Twitter that featured some highlights from his workout. He thanked those who helped him put the event together and ended the tweet with “we stay ready.”
A huge thank you to all the people that made this happen in ATL. From our receivers @brice_butler, @BruceElling10, @TheJordanVeasy, @ariwerts – my trainer Josh Hidalgo, the educators at Charles Drew HS & so many more. Can't thank everyone enough. We stay ready.: @RAVisionMedia pic.twitter.com/2bwDjtlstN
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) November 25, 2019
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Sunday that no teams have expressed interest in Kaepernick or reached out to him since the workout. Kaepernick was expected to work out in front of roughly 25 NFL teams at the event the league set up for him in Atlanta, but he changed the location at the last second due to issues over media access and a waiver the NFL asked him to sign. Only a handful of teams chose to drive to the new location, which was located about 60 miles from the Falcons’ facility.
There are apparently talent evaluators out there who believe Kaepernick is good enough to be on an NFL roster, but the issue is likely that teams still don’t feel he could provide enough on the field to justify all the media attention and potential distractions he attracts. Kaepernick is now 32 and has been out of football for nearly three full seasons, and teams have opted against signing him even with a ton of injuries at the position this year.
Colin Kaepernick got some positive feedback on his physical condition and throwing ability following the workout he held in front of scouts from several NFL teams last weekend, but that has not translated into any potential employment opportunities.
No NFL teams have reached out to Kaepernick to bring him in for a private workout or interview since last Saturday, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports. The approach from teams has been no different in the wake of Kaepernick’s workout than it has been over the past three years, according to Schefter.
There are apparently talent evaluators out there who believe Kaepernick is good enough to be on an NFL roster, but the issue is likely that teams still don’t feel he could provide enough on the field to justify all the media attention and potential distractions he attracts. Kaepernick is now 32 and has been out of football for nearly three full seasons, and teams have opted against signing him even with a ton of injuries at the position early this year.
Kaepernick was expected to work out in front of roughly 25 NFL teams at the event the league set up for him in Atlanta, but he changed the location at the last second due to issues over media access and a waiver the NFL asked him to sign. Only a handful of teams chose to drive to the new location, which was located about 60 miles from the Falcons’ facility.
Many have questioned the NFL’s motive in trying to set up a workout for Kaepernick, and we believe we know why the league suddenly came up with the idea. Still, Kaepernick would have had an opportunity to throw in front of more team representatives if he did not change the location of the workout. That may have hurt his chances of finding a job.
Stephen. A Smith has been highly critical of Colin Kaepernick for the way the quarterback handled last Saturday’s workout, and Terrell Owens called Smith out over his take in a big way on Thursday.
Owens was a guest on ESPN’s “First Take,” and he defended Kaepernick for changing the location of his workout and wanting “transparency” from the NFL. Owens then told Smith that co-host Max Kellerman, who has defended Kaepernick, seems like he is “blacker” than Smith with the way he has spoken about the situation. As you might expect, Smith didn’t appreciate it.
Terrell Owens to Stephen A Smith "I'm in the streets, Max almost seems blacker than you Stephen A" pic.twitter.com/CuOTDKoAFB
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) November 21, 2019
Smith told Owens he “crossed the line” and then criticized him and others for trying to “bait me” in front of the black community. He also addressed the situation with a tweet.
The man himself @terrellowens ASKED to come on @FirstTake today to cal back at me for things I’ve said this week on @Kaepernick7 and @MylesLGarrett situations. He ASKED, peeps. Not me. I’m gonna leave it at that.
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) November 21, 2019
Like others, Smith concluded from the way Saturday’s events unfolded that Kaepernick does not actually want to play football. He ripped the 32-year-old for showing up to the workout with a T-shirt that alluded to slavery and said he needs to seize the opportunity at some point if he actually wants to play again. Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid then accused Smith of “tap dancing for the NFL,” and Smith unloaded on Reid in a Twitter rant.
We believe we have uncovered the real reason why the NFL tried to organize a workout for Kaepernick, and it seems like both sides have their agendas. The issue is, and always will be, about more than just football.