Earlier this month, former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick worked out for NFL scouts in an effort to jump-start a 2022 comeback. Now, with the draft fast approaching, the unsigned veteran says he's "absolutely" committed to resuming his playing career, telling the "I Am Athlete" podcast Monday that he wants to address "unfinished business" on the field and is willing to return in a backup role, suggesting the Seahawks as a potential destination.
"Five years of training behind the scenes," Kaepernick said, explaining that he "without question" desires to return to the NFL. "You don't do that if you don't have a passion and you don't believe you're gonna find a way on that field."
Reports have indicated as much in recent years, but this is the first time the former Super Bowl starter has extensively addressed his comeback plans on the record. The 34-year-old QB, who hasn't played since 2016, told "I Am Athlete" that he intentionally kept quiet on football matters to dispel the notion that he would be a distraction to interested teams.
Despite NFL commissioner Roger Goodell openly encouraging teams to sign Kaepernick in 2020, when the league publicly acknowledged civil-rights issues the QB had protested during his career, not a single team has hosted the QB for a workout since his departure from San Francisco, Kaepernick said.
"I had the one meeting with Seattle in 2017," he explained, "and out of that (coach) Pete Carroll said, 'Hey, he's a starter; we have a starter,' and things moved on from there. But they don't have a starter right now."
Kaepernick, who reached a settlement with the NFL in 2019 over alleged collusion among team owners to keep him out of the league, added that he doesn't need a starting job to return to the field after a five-year hiatus.
"More than anything, we're just looking for a chance to walk through a door," he said. "I'll handle the rest from there ... I know I have to find my way back in. So, yeah, if I have to come back in as a backup, that's fine. But that's not where I'm staying. And when I prove that I'm a starter, I wanna be able to step on the field as such. I just need that opportunity to walk through the door."
Asked why owners and general managers should buy his on-field potential if it means adding off-field distraction, Kaepernick argued that the NFL currently pledges to support most of the same issues he once advocated.
"I (would) say, 'You have 'End Racism' in your end zone. You got 'Black Lives Matter' on your helmets. Everything I've said should be in alignment with what you're saying publicly.' When I first took a knee, my jersey went to No. 1 ... (More importantly), the NFL is supposed to be a meritocracy."