Only the Las Vegas Raiders know if Colin Keipernick is still good enough to play quarterback in the NFL.
Kaepernick tested for the Raiders on Thursday. It was his first legal experience in years. He has not played in a game since the 2016 season, when he started 11 games with two wins for the San Francisco team.
He was cut off in early 2017 and has not shown much interest since then, at least in part because of his decision to kneel while playing the national anthem that season.
Is he still capable at 34? Riders do not say.
“We will only talk about the people who are on our team,” said coach Josh McDaniels, echoing the old policy of the New England Patriots, where McDaniels twice served as Bill Belichick’s right-hand man. “… We really do not comment on the assessments we have made or what it looked like, what it did not look like, strengths or weaknesses, things like that.”
That makes sense. Why rate a player who is still free to sign elsewhere at this time?
That does not mean that Keipernick did not answer some of the questions on Thursday, some of which were outrageous, and some of which may have been in his quest to play football again.
The first is that he sincerely wants to return to the NFL. Fair or not, some in the league had a perception that Keipernik was happy with his post-football life, that he often said he still wanted to play, that his motivation was incomplete.
The NFL teams, at least in part because of his political activism, showed little interest in even trying him out.
Kapernik’s last days in San Francisco were far from his peak in 2012 և 2013, when he reached the 49th place in the playoffs. Never a great pastime, his game was based on his ability to run. As it began to fade, so did his overall game. In the last two seasons, he failed to make 60% of his passes, he needed a series of surgeries.
However, given the midfielders’ annual parade of weekly matches, even starting at the end of the season due to injury, there was little doubt that his relegation from the league was not based solely on performance.
However, Kaepernick failed to persuade anyone to give him a chance, and the idea that he “really did not want to play” became easy for NFL teams.
This was especially evident on November 12, 2019, when the NFL was training him in front of the teams that wanted to send a representative.
Keipernick left the meeting Just 30 minutes ago in Atlanta, expressing concern that it was closed to the public, the NFL refused to sign it. He then moved it to another part of the city with his own camera.
Even if Kaepernick’s concerns were legitimate when you were looking for a job, the cards are held by the employer. As long as nothing illegal is required, you should do as they wish. If they want you to wear a suit, you wear a suit. Maybe if you have enough talent, it does not matter. Kaepernick did nothing else!
The experiment was a disaster. Kapernik looked good when he threw the ball, but no one signed him. It was seen by some in the league as just a frivolous advertising ploy by a guy who seemed difficult to work with. Again, who knows if this is true, but the NFL accepted it that way.
Well, maybe he really wants to play. Maybe he always did. Or maybe everything has changed. In any case, training with the Raiders was typical of the system. That alone should make some heads in the NFL. Or take at least one excuse to ignore him off the table.
Kaepernick is also quite ready to be a backup. Of course, he would like to start. But every player should want that. His willingness to try in Las Vegas suggests that he is not expecting a guaranteed job.
Derek Carr is a Vegas-based starter. Three times the Pro Bowler has not missed a game since 2017 և one season before the Raiders reached the playoffs. In April, he signed a three-year extension of up to $ 121.5 million.
Kaipernik knew all that. He knew that, with the exception of a training camp that almost won for a miracle job (even if he signed), the Riders were interested in him as a backup.
He tried anyway.
If nothing else, maybe some poor back-to-back team sees him in a new light. Or maybe someone decides to take a second look at a guy who can still bring talent to the list.
Maybe Vegas will sign him. Or maybe he’s getting another try somewhere else.
All this is far from when Kaepernick will ever return to the NFL, but no matter what happened during the test, Thursday was still a potentially significant day for the quarterback.
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