After six and a half years of being shunned by the NFL, Colin Kaepernick is still looking for a chance to play. The former 49ers quarterback, who protested the police brutality of minorities by kneeling during the national anthem, has gone unsigned since parting ways with the 49ers following the 2016 season.
During a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, the 35-year-old said that he's still working out five to six days per week and that he's holding out hope that at least one NFL team will give him chance to return.
"I'm going to keep pushing," Kaepernick said. "I'm going to keep fighting for it because I know I can step on the field and play. Every workout, every opportunity I've had to show that, the feedback has always been positive. Everything from, 'he's still an elite player,' to 'the workout was great; it was better than expected.'"
Kaepernick has a message for NFL teams: He wants them to put their "political bias" aside and give him a chance.
"Obviously, there's something else within this decision," Kaepernick said of why he can't even get a workout. "To me, that's typically what it ends up being, or has been for the last seven years. So, I just want the opportunity to come in, show what I can do on the field. Judge me based upon that, not the political bias that you have."
The quarterback hasn't taken an NFL snap since the 49ers' 2016 regular-season finale. During his time in San Francisco, Kaepernick thrived under Jim Harbaugh, going 25-14 as a starter while also leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship in 2013. However, he struggled after Harbaugh left, going just 3-16 with Jim Tomsula (2015) and Chip Kelly (2016).
Since parting ways with the 49ers, the social justice advocate has gotten exactly zero offers and only one workout, which. Kaepernick wants to get back on the field so he can prove that he can still play.
"When I had my workout with the Raiders last year, even training with guys, there's a decent amount of people who may have forgotten what I was capable of doing on the field," Kaepernick said. "So any chance to be able to remind people of what I can do out there, I look forward to and embrace, and I look forward to the day that I get to step on the field and show people what I can do."
Kaepernick's workout with the Raiders actually went well, but the team didn't end up signing him. Multiple teams were also, but that didn't lead to any offers.
"I've heard a lot of excuses over the years, but most of the time it ends up, 'Oh, we're going to see how the guys that we have do,'" Kaepernick said of why he hasn't gotten any offers. "With the Raiders' situation last year, that was [Jarrett] Stidham and Nick Mullens, which to me, you just compare résumés and capabilities, on top of the workout and the feedback, it's like, 'OK, cool.'"
Even though Kaepernick hasn't been playing in the NFL, he still pays attention to the league and his favorite player to watch is the same one that most people have: Patrick Mahomes.
"[Patrick Mahomes] tops the list," Kaepernick said when asked which quarterbacks he likes to watch. "Jalen Hurts, what he did last year, really coming into his own. You look at Lamar [Jackson], Josh Allen. A lot of very talented quarterbacks out there playing at high levels. I'm excited to see them continue to do their thing, and I hope I get to stand on the opposing sideline and go toe to toe with them."