More than five years after he last appeared in an NFL game, free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been training with the Las Vegas Raiders, one person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports.
Kaepernick’s training took place in Las Vegas on Wednesday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation.
ESPN first reported that Kaepernick, 34, was scheduled to train with the team.
The practice is Kaepernick’s first with an NFL team since his time out of the league began after the 2016 season. That year, he began kneeling during the national anthem before games as a way to protest police brutality and racial inequality. He later filed a collusion complaint against the NFL, alleging that the owners conspired to keep him out of the league. He and former teammate Eric Reid resolved their respective grievances.
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In the years since, and especially in recent months, Kaepernick has spoken about his fitness and worked out publicly in an effort to spark interest from NFL teams. He was an honorary team captain during the Michigan spring football game in April, pitching to receivers at halftime. (Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh coached Kaepernick in San Francisco.)
Kaepernick told a Detroit television station afterwards that he was simply looking for “an opportunity, for a door to open” with an NFL team.
“(I) can still get out there, swing it,” Kaepernick told WXYZ Channel 7. “Really, coming here today for the exhibit was to be able to show I can. Because one of the questions my agent asked got was, ‘Well, it’s been 5 years, can he still play?’ We wanted to make sure we get out, we show everyone I can still play, still throw.”
It’s worth noting that the Raiders were the first team in years to offer Kaepernick training, given recent public statements from their owner, Mark Davis.
In an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area late last month, Davis said that Kaepernick “deserves every chance in the world to be a quarterback in the National Football League.”
“I’m still behind it,” Davis said. “If our coaches and general manager want to bring him in or have him become the quarterback of this team, I would welcome him with open arms.”
Earlier in May, the Raiders traded for Jarrett Stidham to compete with Nick Mullens and rookie Chase Garbers for a reserve job behind starter Derek Carr.
Kaepernick, a Nevada second round draft pick, started 58 games for the 49ers from 2011 to 2016 and helped lead them to the Super Bowl during the 2012 season. He has thrown more than 12,000 yards during his NFL career, with 72 touchdown passes.
Contributions: Tyler Dragon
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