The NFL-arranged workout for free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick, an event that on the league’s part seems disingenuous at best and a total sham at worst, is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 16 in Atlanta. That is, of course, assuming the workout does not fall apart before 3 p.m. ET Saturday, its scheduled start time.
Multiple reports earlier in the week indicated Kaepernick could drop out of the Saturday workout due to developments that have given the 32-year-old QB and his representatives pause.
For one, the NFL reportedly presented the workout as a take-it-or-leave-it offer, catching Kaepernick off guard and refusing to reschedule the event upon the QB’s request. Also, ESPN reports it’s “extremely unlikely that any head coach or GM whose team plays on Sunday or Monday will make the trip,” and Kaepernick previously had tweeted he “can’t wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday.”
I’m just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday. I’ve been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can’t wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday.
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) November 13, 2019
A Yahoo Sports report Friday morning declared the workout will go on as planned, citing sources.
If you’re wondering why the NFL randomly offered Kaepernick this opportunity to work out in front of team reps 11 weeks into the 2019 NFL season and almost three years after the QB last played a down in the league, you’re not alone. The NFL has not provided its reasoning, and theories pertaining to the league’s motivation are wide-ranging. Even some NFL teams reportedly are confused by the league’s move.
Some are calling the Kaepernick workout a disingenuous public relations stunt: Hey, we did our part. Don’t blame us for his unemployment. ESPN’s Adam Schefter believes there’s “a part of” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell that “feels bad” about Kaepernick evidently getting blackballed from the league. NBC Sports’ Dan Patrick was told Goodell felt pressured into scheduling the workout. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio suspects NFL lawyers fear a lawsuit from Kaepernick. ESPN’s Dan Graziano says the NFL is tired of teams reaching out about Kaepernick’s status.
Kaepernick, who in 2016 began kneeling during the national anthem before 49ers games in protest of systemic racial oppression, has said for years he is eager to return to the NFL and play for a team. Ever since San Francisco let him go in 2017, those teams have been free to try out and/or sign him but have not. As a result, Kaepernick was part of a collusion grievance filed against the NFL that was settled earlier this year.
You already know that background. Below is all you need to know about the puzzling workout the NFL apparently dropped in Kaepernick’s lap out of nowhere.
When and where is Colin Kaepernick’s workout?
Kaepernick is scheduled to work out in front of NFL team representatives Saturday, Nov. 16 at the Atlanta Falcons’ facility in Flowery Branch, Ga.
Below is the full schedule for the workout, per NFL Media.
- 3 p.m. ET — Event begins
- 3:15 p.m. ET — Interview
- 3:30 p.m. ET — Measurements, stretching, warmups
- 3:50 p.m. ET — Timing, testing
- 4:15 p.m. ET — QB drills
The NFL announced former NFL coach Hue Jackson would lead the drills, and former NFL coach Joe Philbin would be in attendance, too.
When he was told about the NFL’s workout offer and reportedly given just two hours to accept, Kaepernick requested that the event be moved to either a Tuesday or a later Saturday. He felt teams were not given proper notice and feared already-set travel plans would prohibit attendance from coaches or GMs who might be legitimately interested. A Tuesday would have been ideal since that typically is the day when teams work out veterans they’re considering signing.
The NFL reportedly said no.
Per ESPN: “The NFL wanted to have the workout at an NFL team facility, and it didn’t think a team would want to open its facility to the other 31 teams on a Tuesday or any other day when it would be going through its normal game preparation. The league determined that it could use the Falcons’ facility on Saturday afternoon, after the Falcons had left for their Sunday game in Carolina.”
NFL teams attending
Below is a list of teams that will attend — or at least claim they are planning to attend — Kaepernick’s workout outside Atlanta on Saturday based on media reports.
On Thursday, the NFL released a list of teams that had officially committed to attend Kaepernick’s workout.
“We are looking forward to Saturday’s workout with Colin. Eleven teams — Arizona, Atlanta, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Miami, New England, New York Giants, New York Jets, Tampa Bay and Washington — have already committed to attend, and it’s only Thursday.
“With two days remaining until the workout, we expect additional teams to commit.”
UPDATE: Indeed, it appears more teams are planning to attend. ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted Friday night that “more than 24” will be represented at the workout.
Is a team interested in signing Colin Kaepernick?
Not likely, especially considering we’re 10 weeks into the 2019 NFL season. Again, Kaepernick is a free agent. He is free to sign with any team, and any team is free to sign him. That has been the case for nearly three years. If a team is or has been interested in Kaepernick, it does not need an NFL-arranged workout to do so.
With that said, at least one report regarding the NFL’s motivation behind the Kaepernick workout suggests teams have been interested in Kaepernick.
“Several teams have been in contact with the league office to ask about Kaepernick’s status, and the league has grown tired of telling teams they’re free to find out for themselves. Potentially interested teams haven’t wanted to bring in Kaepernick for visits or workouts the way they routinely do on Tuesdays during the season, so the league is organizing Saturday’s workout so that interested teams can check him out en masse.”
Colin Kaepernick’s stats, age, record as a starter
Kaepernick, now 32, was 29 when he last played in the NFL. His last start was a 25-23 loss to the Seahawks on Jan. 1, 2017.
The 49ers drafted Kaepernick in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He never made a Pro Bowl in his six seasons with San Francisco, but he did help the team reach Super Bowl 47, a game it lost to Baltimore.
Kaepernick has a 28-30 record in 58 regular-season starts, plus a 4-2 record in playoff starts. Below are his career stats, via Pro Football Reference.
Colin Kaepernick news
— Nov. 14: Reports suggest Kaepernick could drop out of Saturday’s workout due to issues including the NFL’s refusal to provide a list of attendees and the lack of a script for the workout.
— Nov. 13: Panthers safety Eric Reid, who joined Kaepernick in protest when both played for the 49ers, says he is suspicious of the NFL’s motivation behind Saturday’s workout.
— Nov. 12: The NFL arranges a workout for teams to assess Kaepernick’s “readiness” and his “level of interest” in a return. The league distributes to all 32 teams a memo to orchestrate the Atlanta-held event, which will include an interview as well as on-field work.