FOXBORO, Mass. — Three prominent New England Patriots players would like to see free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick signed by an NFL team after his private workout scheduled for Saturday in Atlanta.
Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since 2016 when he began kneeling before kickoff during the playing of the national anthem as a form of protest against social injustice. Many teams have announced they will attend Kaepernick’s workout.
“I think that’s awesome for him, a guy that’s been fighting to try to get back in the league,” safety Devin McCourty said Wednesday. “I think, from a player standpoint, a lot of guys have watched him play football and truly believe he deserves a shot to be in this league. I think it’s cool to see and I just hope something comes out of it. I hope people show up.
“I hope he gets consideration for an actual job in the NFL because he played good football when he was out there. When you look across the league, from a talent level standpoint, everybody that watches — we know this guy can play on Sundays. I think for us as players, it’s not as big of a deal. I think for him though, that’s what matters. Because everything he’s given up to stand up for something he believes in, I think it would be awesome to see him get signed and get to play football again.”
McCourty, tight end Ben Watson and safety Duron Harmon are in the Players Coalition, which fights against social injustice, though Kaepernick is not. The three players still are supportive of Kaepernick as he tries to rejoin the league.
“I’m all about anyone who wants to play and had the ability to,” Watson said. “I’m all for anybody getting the chance to play. I heard about the workout. I know he’s been working out and prepared for a long time. Hopefully, he gets another chance to play because he deserves it.”
The Patriots reportedly will have someone in attendance for Kaepernick’s workout, though it’s doubtful that person will be head coach Bill Belichick or director of player personnel Nick Caserio since they’ll be traveling to Philadelphia for New England’s Week 11 matchup with the Eagles. NFL teams are confused by the NFL’s decision to schedule Kaepernick’s workout on a Saturday rather than a Tuesday when most teams are off, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Wednesday.
“I’m just excited that he gets an opportunity,” Harmon said. “He’s been waiting for this opportunity for a long time. He’s a guy that a lot of people in this league pull for because he was the first one who really put social injustice out there and on the map for the NFL. I’m rooting for him. I’m hoping the workout goes better than everybody expects, and hopefully, he gets another opportunity to play in the league.”
The Patriots announced Wednesday they’re donating $450,000 to five local organizations as part of their social justice fund. Patriots owner Robert Kraft matched money raised by Patriots players.
“Way back in the beginning of the season, we met during the preseason, during training camp, and I just explained to guys that there’s a social justice matching fund that any money we raise, Mr. (Robert) Kraft and the ownership would match up to $250,000,” McCourty said. “Guys were very open and wanted to donate and wanted to make a change. I think it’s a credit also to Mr. Kraft, no matter what we raised he was going to give the full amount that he could. I think to be able to raise money as a team and to give back in the community we play in to show we care, to show we want to help be a part of the change is an awesome feeling.
“I think we have certain guys that get a lot of the headlines for it, but I think something like this shows that it’s a true team effort. This was every guy in the locker room reaching in their pockets no matter how much saying, ‘I want to give something to contribute to this.’ So, it’s one of the things I’m super proud of to be a part of this team and have a group of guys that say “I want to go make a difference and make a change.” We did polls and everything of different things we wanted to give to so I wanted to make “sure it was a true team thing of things we all wanted to give to. Very impactful and great to be a part of.”
The Patriots don’t have an immediate need for a quarterback with starter Tom Brady, rookie backup Jarrett Stidham and veteran third-stringer Cody Kessler on the roster.
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