RIVERDALE, Ga. — Free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who completed a 40-minute workout in front of representatives from eight NFL teams on Saturday, said he’s ready for another opportunity and wants the league to “stop running” from him.
“I’ve been ready for three years,” Kaepernick said. “I’ve been denied for three years. We all know why I came out here: showed it today in front of everybody. We have nothing to hide. So we’re waiting for the 32 owners, 32 teams, Roger Goodell, all of them stop running. Stop running from the truth. Stop running from the people.
“We’re out here. We’re ready to play. We’re ready to go anywhere. My agent, Jeff Nalley, is ready to talk any team. I’ll interview with any team at any time. I’ve been ready.”
Kaepernick saluted about 250 fans and signed autographs before addressing the media after his workout, which was moved about 60 miles from the Atlanta Falcons’ facility in Flowery Branch to Charles R. Drew High School in Riverdale.
The change in venue interrupted schedules for many of the 25 teams that were scheduled to watch Kaepernick at the original site, but Kaepernick still threw in front of representatives from eight teams, according to Nalley.
Kaepernick, who once quarterbacked the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl, protested police brutality and social injustice by kneeling during the national anthem and has been out of football since 2016.
The 32-year-old showed he still has an arm in completing deep balls to receivers Brice Butler, Bruce Ellington, Jordan Veasy, and Ari Wertz. Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid, who supported Kaepernick going back to their days with the 49ers, was at the beginning off the workout but had to leave, with a game against the Falcons on Sunday.
Kaepenerick looked bulkier up top than when he was with the 49ers and appeared to impress with his accuracy — completing all but seven of his 60 scripted throws — though not all his throws were perfect. It was a solid throwing session overall, particularly based on the circumstances.
The NFL originally scheduled the workout to take place at the Falcons’ facility in front of 25 teams, but Kaepernick’s camp switched venues following a disagreement between the two sides on the quarterback’s liability waiver as well as media availability, among other factors.
In a statement, the NFL said it was “disappointed that Colin did not appear for his workout.”
The league said the waiver it sent Kaepernick’s representatives was based on that “used by National Invitational Camp at all NFL Combines and by NFL clubs when trying out free agent players.” An NFL source told ESPN that the waiver says that the tryout isn’t a guarantee of employment, “to prevent a player from claiming entitlement to worker’s compensation if there was an injury.”
A statement from Nalley and Kaepernick’s attorney Ben Meiselas called that waiver “unusual” and said they proposed a “standard” liability waiver. The NFL called that proposed waiver “completely rewritten and insufficient.”
The NFL also said it declined requests made by Kaepernick’s camp in the 24 hours preceding the workout to have an additional camera crew in to record the workout and to open the session to media. Kaepernick’s camp had earlier said it wanted “transparency” regarding the workout.
After the workout, Nalley said he still had questions about the league’s involvement in the workout.
“I think myself, I think all of you all had questions about it all week,” the agent said. “Something didn’t smell right. Again, nothing like this has ever happened. Roger Goodell said that the league does not get involved in player workouts, team decisions. So why did they do this? So I think from the beginning it seemed odd. And so that’s why we had to protect him in this whole process.”
Nalley seemed skeptical about Kaepernick getting a chance to sign on a team anytime soon when asked if he expected Kaepernick to receive a legitimate opportunity.
“I hope so, but I don’t know,” Nalley said. “I’ll be honest, I’m a little bit pessimistic because I’ve talked to all 32 teams. I’ve reached out to them recently and none of them have had any interest. I’ll tell you this: No team asked for this workout. The league office asked for this workout.
“And, I’ve got to tell you what, I’ve got to hand it to Colin. He stepped up, showed he’s in shape. I talked to the NFL people out here today. They said his arm talent is elite, that it’s the same as when he came out of college. I even asked them if you want to get him on a scale, see what he weighs, they said, ‘We don’t need to. He looks ripped. He looks in great shape.'”