Texans owner meets with team, 'inmate' comment could be used in Kaepernick case

One day after starting a near mutiny in Houston, Texans owner Bob McNair met with his team on Saturday where he expressed regret for a controversial comment he made during the NFL's fall meeting in New York last week

McNair said he met with the team because he wanted to clear the air

"I know they were upset," McNair told the Houston Chronicle. "I wanted to answer their questions. I told them if I had it to do over again I wouldn't use that expression."

The controversy started on Friday after ESPN ran a story this week that included inside details from owners meetings on Oct. 17 and 18. One of those inside details was a quote from McNair regarding the national anthem issue where he seemed to insist that the league should just make the players stand. 

"We can't have the inmates running the prison," McNair said.

After the comment went public, the backlash began almost immediately. Dozens of players around the NFL ripped McNair for his comment. McNair quickly offered an apology Friday morning, just hours after the article was published. 

McNair's comment landed hard in Houston, with nearly the entire Texans roster threatening to skip practice on Friday. In the end, there were two players -- DeAndre Hopkins and rookie running back D'Onta Foreman -- who didn't show up for the practice session. 

According to Texans offensive lineman Duane Brown, the only reason anyone else showed up is because coach Bill O'Brien decided to hold a 90-minute team meeting so that the players could discuss the situation with the coaching staff. 

"I was the first one ready to leave, but I wanted to talk to Coach about it," Brown told Pro Football Talk on Saturday. "After talking to him I was able to stay and practice."

Although McNair is trying to patch things up with his players, that's not the only thing he has to worry about right now. Mark Geragos, the lawyer for Colin Kaepernick in his collusion case against the NFL, believes that McNair's comments could serve as key evidence in the quarterback's case. 

The high-powered attorney called the comment a potential smoking gun during his weekly podcast, Reasonable Doubt

"Remember when I indicated that I thought pretty soon a smoking gun would come up?" Geragos said, via Pro Football Talk. "That's about as good a smoking gun for collusion as you can get. 'We're not going to let the inmates run the prison.'"

Geragos said the only way the Kaepernick case is going to go away is if a team actually signs him. 

"Make this a tough decision," Geragos said. "Tell the owners sign him if you want. ... I can think of seven teams right now that could use him, and convince his crazy lawyer to go away as a condition of the thing. All he wants to do is play. I mean, it's crazy how they have painted themselves into a corner and all they have to do is stop the collusion and it can all go away. But they just don't know what to do. They're frozen. They're almost paralyzed."

Kaepernick remains a free agent despite the fact that a half a dozen teams have lost their starting quarterback for at least one week this season: Minnesota, Miami, Green Bay, Arizona, Tennessee, Oakland. The Ravens could also join that list if Joe Flacco is ruled out in Week 9 after a brutal hit on Thursday sent him into concussion protocol. 

CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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