The Ravens' quarterback situation has been in flux for a while now. Joe Flacco, who is expected to be ready for Week 1, missed the entire preseason with a back injury. Ryan Mallett, the team's backup, is still Ryan Mallet. Yet the Ravens never decided to sign Colin Kaepernick, who remains a free agent and definitely would've upgraded their quarterback situation.
On this week's episode of Showtime's "Inside the NFL" (Tuesdays, 9 p.m.), former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis explained why he believes the Ravens never signed Kaepernick. Lewis, one of the Ravens' greatest players ever who pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in connection with two deaths in January 2000, says the Ravens didn't sign Kaepernick because of a tweet his girlfriend posted.
Judy Battista: "I'm startled that he has not been signed. I've been told ever since I've started covering the NFL that talent wins out. We've seen teams take chances on a lot of unsavory characters. The fact that this is what has tipped over and they can't come to grips with signing a guy who has kneeled for the national anthem but you've signed guys that have enormous legal issues -- and they've been embraced by teams and they've been embraced by fans -- I find that curious."
Ray Lewis: "When me and Steve Bisciotti were talking, this is what we were talking about, Judy. We were talking about giving this kid an opportunity to get back in the National Football League. Look, this is what I wanted to share with people. I have been fighting for this kid behind the table like nobody has ... I've never been against Colin Kaepernick. But I am against the way he's done it.
"Then, his girl [Colin Kaepernick's girlfriend] goes out and put out this racist gesture and doesn't know we are in the back office about to try to get this guy signed. Steve Bisciotti has said it himself, 'How can you crucify Ray Lewis when Ray Lewis is the one calling for Colin Kaepernick?' ...
"When they (Ravens) called me, it was to say, 'Yes or no?' ... We were going to close the deal to sign him ... Steve Bisciotti said, 'I want to hear Colin Kaeperkick speak to let me know that he wants to play football.' ... And it never happens because that picture comes up the next day. "
Battista: "So, if not for that ... tweet, you think he would be a Baltimore Raven?"
Lewis: "Then he's flying him to Baltimore. I am sitting with all three of them and we are all having a conversation about bringing Colin Kaepernick in."
When Flacco's injury was announced, Kaepernick's name immediately surfaced as a possible option for the Ravens. But the Ravens never did sign him. At one point, it was reported that Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti resisted the signing. Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome denied the validity of the report.
It was also reported that when the Ravens reached out to fans about signing Kaepernick, they were met with a negative response:
The Ravens have heard from numerous fans regarding Kaepernick in the last couple of days, many staunchly opposed to his signing...— Michael Silver (@MikeSilver) July 28, 2017
While the Ravens were presumably interested in Kaepernick as a backup to Flacco, it's worth noting that Kaepernick has a better career touchdown rate, interception rate, average yards per attempt, and passer rating than Flacco. Flacco's supporters will undoubtedly point to his Super Bowl ring, which he won against Kaepernick's 49ers, but judging two quarterbacks by a game that was played five seasons ago doesn't make much sense. The point being, even if the Ravens didn't want Kaepernick to be their starter, he would've been an overly qualified backup quarterback, which is something every NFL team should desire considering there aren't even 32 starting-caliber quarterbacks in the NFL.
In the past week, two of the game's best quarterbacks, Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton, have come out in support of Kaepernick. Meanwhile, Kaepernick's protest against racial injustice has continued even without his presence as players like Michael Bennett and Marshawn Lynch have remained seated during the national anthem.