With some of the NFL’s top quarterbacks — as well as some promising young signal-callers — expected to be out due to injury or illness for the next several weeks, rumors of a comeback for Colin Kaepernick are swirling once again. While it’s been more than two full seasons since the 31-year-old Kaepernick last played a down in the NFL, The Inquisitr reported on Tuesday that the free-agent quarterback’s representatives are reaching out to multiple teams that may be in need of a replacement at the position. But should the Pittsburgh Steelers, who recently lost Ben Roethlisberger for the rest of the season, add a proven player behind center by signing Kaepernick?
In an op-ed published on Tuesday, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist Tim Benz empathically stressed that signing Kaepernick may be a bad idea for the Steelers, regardless of what one thinks about his national anthem protests. He wrote that bringing the former San Francisco 49ers signal-caller in “makes zero sense” from a football standpoint, further noting that none of the three reasons people usually bring up for signing Kaepernick hold any water.
As Benz sees it, the Steelers would be “dumb” to sign Kaepernick, even if he was to join the team as an “emergency arm” as a third-stringer, as the negative reactions from certain fans won’t be worth it for someone running the scout team while Devlin Hodges moves from third- to second-string. He added that Kaepernick is too rusty to back up erstwhile starter Mason Rudolph as some are hoping and may also be unfamiliar with Pittsburgh’s offensive playbook, which is different from that of San Francisco’s.
As there are fans who apparently believe that Kaepernick should actually compete with Rudolph for the starting quarterback job in Pittsburgh, Benz shot down this idea, calling it “sheer insanity.” The Tribune-Review columnist also pointed out that even before the national anthem controversy erupted, Kaepernick was not “all that good anyway.”
“[A] 3-16 record as a starter over his last two seasons doesn’t speak to any ability to elevate a struggling offense, such as the one in Pittsburgh so far in 2019.”
Furthermore, Benz cited Steelers backup tight end Xavier Grimble, who was asked about the Kaepernick issue on Monday and said that the team doesn’t “want to bank on any new guy.” Interestingly, Grimble played for the 49ers’ practice squad in 2014, right around the time that Kaepernick was still starting for the team.
“It’d be hard for a guy to come in and try to learn everything and jell with the offense and get to know the guys,” Grimble was quoted as saying. “That’s tough.”
While Kaepernick has certainly faced his share of criticism for his on-field performance, he did post solid numbers on paper during his last active season in the NFL. Per Pro Football Reference, the former second-round draft pick threw for a total of 2,241 yards with 16 touchdowns and only four interceptions in 2016. The 49ers, however, won only one of the 11 games Kaepernick started that season, finishing 2-14 for the entire campaign.