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If he can’t play in the NFL why doesn’t Colin Kaepernick want to play in the XFL?

The former NFL quarterback faces a tough choice between, standing firm in the hopes of securing another chance in the league or taking his skills elsewhere.

The former NFL quarterback faces a tough choice between, standing firm in the hopes of securing another chance in the league or taking his skills elsewhere.
Thearon W. HendersonAFP

Regardless of where you stand on the situation surrounding Colin Kaepernick, one has to admit that it’s nothing short of bizarre that a quarterback of his stature can’t get an opportunity in the NFL again, even as a backup. Yet, such are the times we live in.

The Colin Kaepernick story so far

Colin Kaepernick hasn’t played an official NFL game since the end of 2016 - his sixth and final year with the San Francisco 49ers. While we could go into the how and why that is the case, you’ve probably heard and seen more than enough about him being essentially blacklisted by the league due to his stance on police brutality in the nation. No, instead let’s focus on what has happened since then such as a workout with the Raiders, the birth of his child, a shining endorsement from current players, and most recently, a rather humbling letter to the New York Jets in which he asked for an opportunity following Aaron Rodgers’ season-ending injury.

Despite all of that, the 35-year-old is still without a team. Mind you, we’re talking about a player who led the Niners to a Super Bowl in 2012, the NFC Championship in 2013, and still holds the record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a regular season game with 181, and a postseason game as well with 264. To say this begs a question is an understatement. Quite frankly, there is most definitely a case to be made for the idea that Kaepernick is being intentionally kept on the outside of the NFL. On the other hand, the NFL is not the only professional football league, and by the looks of things, there is another one out there that wants him.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson wants Colin Kaepernick in the XFL

If you missed it, the USFL and XFL merged last month to create a singular league which as you can imagine is a pretty big deal. How does this relate to Colin Kaepernick? Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is a part owner of the XFL and following news of the merger back on September 28th, he was asked about the possibility of Kaepernick joining the league, to which he responded with a rather intriguing answer. “We met with Kap and his agents (whom I like a lot) earlier this year,” Johnson stated on Instagram at the time. “Good meeting, looked to create an opportunity for him but I don’t think it’ll happen. We’ll see.”

The last part of that message seems to throw water on any fire, however, what is clear is that Kaepernick does have options if he wants to take them. Of course, at the risk of sounding disrespectful to the XFL, it would be fair to say that the level of play is below that which is on show in the NFL. For that reason, one can understand why Kaepernick might not jump at the opportunity to join its ranks. On the other hand, he’s now lost seven years’ worth of playing time i.e., this may be the only way he can play professionally again. Additionally, who can say that it might not be a way back into the NFL itself?

So if not the XFL, then what?

While it may seem like a long shot, previous reports have indicated that another way forward for Kaepernick might be in the CFL. As per reports, the BC Lions added Kaepernick to their negotiation list which is in no way a guarantee, however, it does mean that were he to head north, the Lions would be the only team he would be allowed to negotiate with. Interestingly, BC’s team isn’t the first from the CFL to try to convince Kaepernick to come to Canada. Over the last few years both the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Montreal Alouettes placed Kaepernick on their negotiation list, however, nothing materialized in the end.

Ultimately, Kaepernick appears to be between the proverbial rock and a hard place. It’s clear that he still wants to play and by all accounts continues to maintain the conditioning required. Sadly, it appears that he’s knocking on a door that nobody is willing to open for him. Could it be that the former 49ers star simply needs to let go of his hope of a return to the NFL and start anew somewhere else?