ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith says he thinks there’s a decent chance that free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick will be signed by an NFL team in the very near future.
But ultimately, according to Smith, it comes down to what Kaepernick does.
On Tuesday, the NFL’s league office informed all 32 teams of a private workout for Kaepernick, who sparked controversy during the 2016-17 season by kneeling during the playing of the national anthem.
Kaepernick, who said he was kneeling to call attention to racial injustice and police brutality in the U.S., opted out of his contract with the 49ers after the season ended and has gone unsigned since then.
The league said in a memo that the workout for the unsigned free agent will be held Saturday in Atlanta.
“Earlier this year, we discussed some possible steps with his representatives and they recently emphasized his level of preparation and that he is ready to work out for clubs and be interviewed by them,” the memo read.
“We have therefore arranged this opportunity for him to work out, and for all clubs to have the opportunity to evaluate his current readiness and level of interest in resuming his NFL career.”
Sources told ESPN that the workout was set up after Kaepernick’s agent released a statement last month saying he had “reached out to all 32 teams about Colin’s employment, with little to no response from teams about an opportunity for Colin.”
So is Kaepernick about to get signed?
That’s up to the quarterback himself, Smith said Wednesday during an appearance on ESPN’s “Golic and Wingo” radio show.
“I have been told directly, that there’s only two things that will prevent Colin Kaepernick from having a job in the NFL,” Smith said.
The first has to do with Kaepernick’s on-field abilities.
“If he shows up Saturday, and can’t throw the ball on the damn football field, he’s throwing the ball in the stands, he’d have to be that god-awful, not to get a legitimate look and potentially have a job next week,” Smith said.
The second thing might be a bit tougher for Kaepernick.
“Only Colin Kaepernick can mess this up, it’s beyond all that other stuff now.”
— Golic and Wingo (@GolicAndWingo) November 13, 2019
“The other thing that could be a hindrance is if he opens his damn mouth and starts talking too much and scares these teams off and gives them the indication that more of what transpired — what led to all of this — will continue forward,” Smith said.
Essentially, whatever happens next is truly in the quarterback’s hands.
“Only Colin Kaepernick can mess it up,” Smith said. “He needs to shut up. No Instagram. No Twitter. No anything. Show up Saturday, work out. Don’t say a word before then, and show that he can still play the damn game of football.”
“And if he does that, he will have a job in the National Football League within the next week or two.”
It’s unclear how many teams are planning to send scouts to watch Kaepernick work out.
But Miami head coach Brian Flores did say Wednesday that the Dolphins are planning to send a representative to Atlanta.
Kaepernick, for his part, says he’s ready.
I’m just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday. I’ve been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can’t wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday.
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) November 13, 2019
“I’m just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday. I’ve been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can’t wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday,” he tweeted Tuesday.
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