Thursday, Seattle Seahawks' head coach Pete Carroll acknowledged that he wishes that the team completed a contract with former San Francisco 49ers' quarterback Colin Kaepernick when he visited the team's facility ahead of the 2017 season.
But that - though noteworthy in its own right - wasn't the biggest revelation from Carroll's meeting with the collective media via Zoom on Thursday.
In addition to discussing the team's past decision not to agree to a contract with Kaepernick, Carroll told the media, including ESPN's Brady Henderson, that one team recently contacted him to talk about Kaepernick. That suggests that the anonymous team is weighing the possibility of offering Kaepernick a contract. Carroll was coy about what team it was that wanted his opinion on Kaepernick, but did say that since the team weighed signing Kaepernick before the 2017 season, this is the first time that he's been contacted in regards to the quarterback.
Kaepernick, 32, was the 49ers' starting quarterback for parts of five seasons, and helped the team to reach Super Bowl XLVII. The 49ers did go just 1-10 in the 11 games that Kaepernick started in 2016, though Kaepernick had surgeries on his shoulder, thumb and knee before that season and was playing with one of the least talented rosters in the sport. After the 2016 season, Kaepernick opted out of his contract after the 2016 season, though John Lynch, who took over as the general manager ahead of the 2017 season, has since said that they told Kaepernick that if he didn't opt out, he was be released.
Given the struggles he had physically and how the 49ers performed in games he started, it's unlikely Kaepernick would have been a starter in 2017. That said, under normal circumstances he probably would have eventually gotten another chance to start somewhere, in the same way that Tyrod Taylor started briefly for the Cleveland Browns in 2018 and may get a chance to start for the Los Angeles Chargers in 2020. Previously, Taylor was the Buffalo Bills' starting quarterback from 2015-2017.
This difference from many other quarterbacks who hit a crossroads with the team they first started for is that Kaepernick began peacefully protesting police brutality by taking a knee during the national anthem in 2016. That created what history will view as a generation-defining debate about whether it was disrespectful to kneel during the playing of the national anthem. A new poll suggests that 52 percent of Americans support the right that players have to kneel during the national anthem, which is a 24 percent increase from 2016.
Thursday, the NFL announced that they will donate $250 million over the next 10 years in an attempt to eradicate systematic racism. NFL.com's Judy Batista says that the NFL wouldn't be opposed to partnering with Kaepernick on programs aimed at leveling the playing field in America. That said, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk recently reported that Kaepernick is "more motivated than ever" to return to the NFL as a player. Perhaps he'll soon get his chance.