Colin Kaepernick says he badly wants to play in the NFL again as he gives first on-camera in years

Colin Kaepernick says he badly wants to play in the NFL again as he gives first on-camera in years

Colin Kaepernick has revealed his desperation to return to the NFL nearly six years after he effectively ended his career by becoming the first well-known athlete to take the knee during the national anthem.

Kaepernick, speaking exclusively with I Am Athlete, said he is ‘absolutely’ and ‘without question’ ready to make his league comeback after having not thrown a pass in the pros since January 1, 2017.

‘That’s five years of training behind the scenes to make sure I’m ready at the highest level,’ Kaepernick said during a candid interview following a training session with former NFL wide receivers Chad Johnson and Brandon Marshall.

‘You don’t do that if you don’t have a passion and believe you’ll find a way on that field,’ he added. ‘I know I have to find my way back in. If I have to come in as a back-up, that’s fine. That’s not where I’m staying.’

Kaepernick, who led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013, hasn’t played in the league since the 2016 season when he first took a knee to protest racially inequality and police brutality.

His controversial act of protest inspired many athletes to kneel during the national anthem and was an icon for the Black Lives Matter movement. However, his activism wasn’t well received by all and sparked a heated nationwide debate, which included some of his own fans setting fire to his jersey.

In wake of the controversy, the NFL in 2018 issued a ruling prohibiting players from sitting or taking a knee during the singing or playing of The Star-Spangled Banner before games. Although the ruling has not ever been formally rescinded, no player has been disciplined for taking a knee and, in 2020, league commissioner Roger Goodell promised to support players who peacefully protest.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick reveals he’s desperate to return to the NFL nearly six years after he became the first athlete to take a knee during the national anthem
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Quarterback Colin Kaepernick reveals he’s desperate to return to the NFL nearly six years after he became the first athlete to take a knee during the national anthem

Kaepernick hasn’t played in the league since the 2016 season when he first took a knee to protest racially inequality and police brutality. He is pictured on Sept. 1, 2016, the first time he knelt during the national anthem
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Kaepernick hasn’t played in the league since the 2016 season when he first took a knee to protest racially inequality and police brutality. He is pictured on Sept. 1, 2016, the first time he knelt during the national anthem

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Kaepernick, 34, told I Am Athlete that although his professional career has been on hold since January 2017, his passion for the game and desire to play in the NFL still burns.

‘I’ve had that dreams since I was a kid. I’m going to be an NFL player – and win the Super Bowl,’ he said. ‘For me, I’ve got unfinished business on that front.’

The quarterback acknowledged that his act of protest has drastically impacted his career and is asking franchises and team managers to see him as a ‘no distractions, team player’.

‘The narrative that was out there was, oh, you know it’s going to be a media circus. What else comes with him?’ Kaepernick explained in the interview, which was promoted Monday on Good Morning America.

He called on the league, saying: ‘Let me come in, compete, show you what I can do.’

Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the 49ers in 2017 and became an unfree agent. He remained unsigned throughout the summer.

In autumn 2017, he filed a grievance against the NFL alleging the league’s 32 team owners colluded to keep him off the field due to his kneeling and acts of protest.

Kaepernick and the NFL settled in 2019.

Kaepernick, speaking exclusively with I Am Athlete, said he is ‘absolutely’ and ‘without question’ ready to make his league comeback, noting he has had ‘five years of training behind the scenes to make sure I’m ready at the highest level’

Kaepernick, speaking exclusively with I Am Athlete, said he is ‘absolutely’ and ‘without question’ ready to make his league comeback, noting he has had ‘five years of training behind the scenes to make sure I’m ready at the highest level’

While Kaepernick hasn’t been playing in the pros, the quarterback has remained busy.

He rolled out a new Netflix series, titled Colin in Black and White, which recounts his formative years navigating issues of race, class and culture, while also aspiring to be a great athlete.

Kaepernick ended up on the USA Today Best Seller list for his children’s book, I Color Myself Different, which was published earlier this month

He also starred in a lucrative Nike advertisement and ended up on the USA Today Best Seller list for his children’s book, I Color Myself Different, which was published earlier this month.

The book, inspired by the events of Kaepernick’s own life, is about ‘self-discovery, staying true to one’s self, and advocating for change’ even as a child.

Also earlier this month, he participated in a throwing exhibition in front of several NFL scouts at halftime during the University of Michigan’s Spring Game.

He threw passes to eight free agent and draft-eligible receivers during halftime on April 2.

He had also participated in two Michigan practices and was named an honorary captain for the spring game.

Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara told M Live after the exhibition: ‘I’ve thrown with him a couple times this week, and dude’s got a rocket. He can sling it for sure. He’s been nothing but respectful to me.’

Kaepernick was invited by Wolverines Head Coach Jim Harbaugh to participate in the event.

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