There are new NFL rumors pointing to a return for Colin Kaepernick, and this time it may be the league offices pulling the strings on his comeback.
Kaepernick spent the entire 2017 season out of the league after no team took a chance on the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback. Backers say that Kaepernick is being blackballed from the league for sparking the leaguewide national anthem protest, and Kaepernick watched as quarterbacks with worse statistics and fewer accomplishment snagged both starting and backup jobs over him.
But his exile could be over soon, with a rumor hinting that the NFL may be pressuring the Oakland Raiders to sign Colin Kaepernick. As 24/7 Sports noted, there were questions of whether the Raiders violated the league’s Rooney rule by signing Jon Gruden as the next head coach without giving an interview to a minority candidate.
As Bleacher Report writer Mike Freeman noted, there were reports from league officials that the NFL would clear the team on the matter if they would be willing to sign Colin Kaepernick, which would likely bring to an end his court case claiming that owners were conspiring to keep him out of the league.
There had already been reports that Raiders coach Jon Gruden was considering singing Colin Kaepernick. While he was working in the announcing booth, Gruden was very high on Kaepernick’s abilities and there could be room for him behind Raiders starter Derek Carr, as last year’s backup, E.J. Manuel, is a free agent. Among the market for free agent quarterbacks, Kaepernick may be the best pick for a team looking for a backup.
Here is the interesting part. I’m told the league office told the Raiders (paraphrasing): we looked out for you on the Rooney rule, now help us by signing Kaepernick, and helping to end the collusion case. 4/
— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) January 23, 2018
It’s not clear how much truth there is to the rumor that the NFL is pushing the Raiders to sign Colin Kaepernick. The former Super Bowl starter has been a lightning rod for speculation, with rumors connecting him to just about every quarterback opening over the last year. None of those came to pass, but this time there could still be a real opening for Kaepernick to return. His stats put him among the top two-thirds of starting quarterbacks, meaning he is better than most backups and would be an upgrade at backup for nearly every team, and Oakland has already had players protesting during the national anthem without fans putting up too much of a stink.