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Is there a way back to the NFL for former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick?

Though the compliments from current NFL stars won’t hurt his chances of a return, the fact that the former 49ers quarterback hasn’t played in a while could.

Though the compliments from current NFL stars won’t hurt his chances of a return, the fact that the former 49ers quarterback hasn’t played in a while could.
Thearon W. HendersonAFP

If nothing else, one has to respect the drive and determination of the ousted signal caller. It’s been a few years since Colin Kaepernick was seemingly black-listed by the league and quite a bit has changed since then. Could he be in for a return, and if so will it be a success?

Colin Kaepernick gets backing from NFL stars

Though it’s hard to believe, Colin Kaepernick hasn’t seen a snap in the NFL in seven years. Yet, reports suggest that the 35-year-old is intent on returning to the league, something that All-Pro wide receivers CeeDee Lamb and Jaylen Waddle believe he’s more than capable of achieving. Following a recent workout with Kaepernick, the pair couldn’t hide the fact that they were very impressed with the quarterback’s performance, as they spoke of his “rocket arm.”

If you missed it, as recently as Monday, Kaepernick shared a promotional video in which he can be seen throwing passes at Nike’s world headquarters in Oregon. Also seen in the video were a number of current NLF players including Lamb, Waddle, Titans running back Derrick Henry, Steelers running back Najee Harris, Saints receiver Chris Olave, and Patriots receiver Kendrick Bourne. “Man, he looks great,” Bourne says in the footage, following a session of route runs with the QB. “He looks good. The arm looks strong. He’s got a rocket of an arm. He’s got another good six years left.” The sentiment was echoed by both Lamb and Waddle, with the former stating that Kaepernick’s “arm is still intact, he’s still got it to him.” Waddle of course had a historic 2022 as he surpassed 1,300 yards playing for the Dolphins. He also made it clear that Kaepernick’s arm is still firing on all cylinders. “...makes it easy for us. (He’s) got a real rocket for an arm, man, so it’s different.”

So, what’s going on with Colin Kaepernick?

You may recall that Kaepernick had a workout with the Raiders last spring, however, nothing ever materialized and there were no other calls from any other team in the league. That’s to say that Kaepernick hasn’t played an official game since the end of 2016 - his sixth and final year in San Francisco. Now, consider for a moment that 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.

Could it be that he’s right about “political bias” blocking his path to a return? Remember, this is the same Colin Kaepernick who famously protested police brutality in 2016 by taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem before games, an act which resulted in widespread debate. Indeed, if you do a quick Google search for him today, you will find him listed as a “civil rights activist” rather than a “professional football player.” At any rate, the result remains the same: He’s on the outside looking in. Incidentally, Kaepernick actually reached a settlement with the league over alleged collusion to bar him from the NFL, but again, the result remains the same. Will this latest situation spark a different outcome? Who’s to say, but having some of the league’s best receivers giving you compliments certainly can’t decrease your chances.