As the NFL commits to combating systemic racism and encouraging peaceful player protests, there's been renewed talk about the possibility of Colin Kaepernick returning to the league. Former Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson said he "wanted" the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback back in 2017. Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is apparently getting calls from teams inquiring about Kaepernick. And now Doug Williams, who just this offseason got a new title in the Washington Redskins front office, has explained why his own team didn't pursue Kaepernick in years past.
Joining "The Dan Patrick Show" Friday, Williams was asked whether Washington had ever considered signing Kaepernick, and he indicated the Redskins avoided the possibility because of the team's proximity to Washington, D.C. -- specifically, a president of the United States who explicitly and repeatedly condemned Kaepernick's famous on-field kneeling during the national anthem.
"I think what happened here, we're in a heavily, heavily military area," said Williams, the team's senior VP of player development. "And I think the guy that sits on Pennsylvania Avenue -- 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue -- made such a big stink of it, the fans in this area ... (it) might've been a tough situation for both the team and (Kaepernick) ... You don't want to bring people into a situation where nobody is going to be happy. I think that's probably what happened, why he didn't come up during that time."
Washington was in the market for a QB in 2018, Kaepernick's first year completely out of the NFL, but ultimately traded for Alex Smith, Kaepernick's former 49ers teammate, to replace Kirk Cousins. The Redskins then traded for Case Keenum and drafted Dwayne Haskins the following offseason, with Kaepernick still available and offering himself to interview with "any team."
It remains unclear if Kaepernick, now 32, will have a legitimate chance to return to the league this season, but a number of player activists around the NFL have called on teams to give him a "fair opportunity."