John Elway gives deposition in Colin Kaepernick collusion case

(Photo: USA TODAY Sports)

Denver Broncos general manager John Elway spent part of Tuesday afternoon being grilled by lawyers representing still-unemployed NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, whose collusion case against the league is ratcheting up.

According to Mike Klis of 9News, Elway gave an hour-long deposition at Broncos headquarters in Dove Valley, where Kaepernick was present. Earlier in the day, prior to the tete-a-tete, the former San Francisco 49ers star was spotted at Denver International Airport.

Kaepernick, who hasn't played since 2016, has accused the NFL of intentionally blackballing him in the wake of his ballyhooed National Anthem protests, a demonstration opposing social injustice which took the sport by storm. Many Broncos players -- including Kaepernick's college teammate and close friend Brandon Marshall -- participated in the protest last season by kneeling prior to the Anthem, before deciding to stand together as a team. Elway went on record as saying he hoped to "take the politics out of football."

Kaepernick's legal team, having filed the grievance under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, also deposed owners (Dallas' Jerry Jones, Miami's Stephen Ross, Houston's Bob McNair), GMs (Baltimore's Ozzie Newsome, Seattle's John Schneider) and head coaches (Baltimore's John Harbaugh, Seattle's Pete Carroll).

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Unlike the others, Elway is tied to Kaepernick as, Klis notes, the last team executive to offer him a job. The Broncos entered contract negotiations with San Francisco during the 2016 offseason, and a Kaepernick trade to Denver appeared imminent. Kaepernick, however, was not open to accepting a pay cut and talks fell through just prior to the draft. The Broncos then set their sights on a rookie signal-caller, selecting Paxton Lynch with the 26th overall pick that year.

Last offseason, the Broncos were again in the market for a QB. And again they chose to eschew Kaepernick, who had opted out of his deal with the 49ers, claiming he wasn't a good fit for the offensive scheme. Elway, approached by TMZ paparazzi, intimated he was unsure if Kaepernick could still compete at the pro level.

"I don't know," Elway said in March of 2017. "I haven't been close enough to him to be able to tell."

The Broncos went into the season with Trevor Siemian as the starter and Lynch as the backup. They also reunited with Brock Osweiler and drafted Chad Kelly in the seventh round. Siemian has since been traded and Osweiler landed a free-agent deal with the Dolphins. Denver signed Case Keenum to a two-year, $36 million pact this past March, making him the starter for 2018.

Kaepernick led the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance in 2012 and the NFC title game in 2013. The 30-year-old dual threat has thrown for 12,271 yards and 72 touchdowns, and rushed for 2,300 yards and 13 scores, across 69 career games.

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