NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams
Gary A. Vasquez / USA TODAY Sports

Colin Kaepernick's NFL return could be a lot sooner than expected. On Thursday, an NFL coach told reporters that he believes there's interest in the former San Francisco 49ers signal-caller, and also said a team even reached out to him regarding Kaepernick. 

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told reporters that he regrets he wasn't the team to sign Kaepernick back in 2017 when he visited with the team. Even more interesting, Carroll said that he received a call on Thursday from another team for intel on Kaepernick -- something that has never happened before. 

Carroll wouldn't say which team called, but he does now think there is some interest in the 32-year-old. According to ESPN's Brady Henderson, Carroll also said the Seahawks didn't feel like it was a fit because they thought Kaepernick was a starter, and they were sure he would be playing somewhere else that season. It's possible that this time around, that interest leads to a new contract for the former starting quarterback.

The NFL is experiencing a rebirth when it comes to social issues as well as racial justice for all. Athletes are now being praised for speaking out instead of being silenced. Last week, a handful of big-name NFL players, including Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomesdemanded the NFL explicitly condemn racism and the systemic oppression of black people in America, as well as admit the league was wrong to silence peacefully protesting players in years past. Less than 24 hours later, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell came out and did just that.

Earlier this week, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported that Kaepernick is in great shape and "more motivated to play than ever" before. What was once split support within the league at the player level has evolved into a tidal wave of players speaking up on Kaepernick's behalf. More now than ever before and amid Black Lives Matter protests he helped spark with his decision to kneel in 2016, the pressure is being applied to the NFL to take the next step and return Kaepernick to the league.