Colin Kaepernick scheduled to work out for Las Vegas Raiders: report

Colin Kaepernick showcased his arm during halftime of Michigan’s intrasquad scrimmage in April. (Carlos Osorio/AP)

Colin Kaepernick went from being blackballed to working out for the silver and black.

Kaepernick, 34, a Black quarterback exiled from the NFL for his stance against police brutality and racial injustice, worked out for the Las Vegas Raiders on Wednesday.

The workout was first reported by ESPN. NFL Network reported it was happening Wednesday.

Raiders owner Mark Davis recently reiterated support for giving Kaepernick a look in an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area. That’s exactly what is happening under first-year GM Dave Ziegler and coach Josh McDaniels.

“I believe in Colin Kaepernick,” Davis said during an episode of “Race in America: A Candid Conversation.” “He deserves every chance in the world to become a quarterback in the National Football League. I still stand by it. If our coaches and general manager want to bring him in or want him to be the quarterback on this team, I would welcome him with open arms.”

Davis said something similar in the summer of 2020. His late father, Al Davis, was a trailblazer who hired the NFL’s first Black head coach, Art Shell, and its first female chief executive, Amy Trask, in the modern era.

“Since 2017 I’ve told the coaches and general managers that if they want to hire Colin Kaepernick, they have my blessing,” Davis said, per ESPN.

In 2016, Kaepernick began protesting racial injustice and police brutality by kneeling on the sideline during the playing of the national anthem. He hasn’t played for an NFL team since, while scores of less talented backup QBs have been cycled through rosters.

He opted out of his Niners contract in the spring of 2017 when the 49ers told him he would be cut because he didn’t fit the system under new coach Kyle Shanahan.

Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid sued the NFL and its owners alleging collusion to keep them out of the league. The league settled with both players in 2019. Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid reportedly split less than $10 million in the deal.

Reid played for the Carolina Panthers in 2018 and 2019. Kaepernick remained a free agent.

Almost nine months after Kaepernick and Reid settled with the league, it hosted an impromptu workout session for Kaepernick and invited all 32 teams to watch. But the workout was overall viewed as a joke by many. It was scheduled on a Saturday in November in the middle of the 2019-20 season in Atlanta, and Kaepernick was given just two hours to decide whether to go through with the workout, among several other oddities of the situation. Only eight teams sent scouts to that workout.

In 2020, commissioner Roger Goodell admitted the NFL was “wrong” for not listening to player protests earlier. Goodell then said “I welcome” and “support a club” signing Kaepernick “if he wants to resume his career in the NFL.”

The Seattle Seahawks hosted Kaepernick on a visit in 2017, but didn’t sign him. He hasn’t had a single workout with a team until this week’s planned session with the Raiders.

Kaepernick worked out during halftime of this year’s Michigan spring game, a platform provided by Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh, his former 49ers head coach. Kaepernick led Harbaugh’s San Francisco 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII in the 2012 season.

Kaepernick has a pre-existing relationship with Raiders offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi, who was on the 49ers’ staff from 2013-16 while Kaepernick was their QB.

Jarrett Stidham and Nick Mullens are the Raiders’ only backups of note behind starter Derek Carr at the moment. So there is a clear path to Kaepernick securing a backup job with a strong workout.

Davis and the Raiders have been in the news a lot lately. On Wednesday, a judge denied two NFL motions: 1) to dismiss a lawsuit brought by fired Raiders coach Jon Gruden; and 2) to push it into arbitration. So the discovery process in that case should get interesting.

Former Raiders president Dan Ventrelle also alleged that Davis fired him recently in retaliation for raising concerns about a hostile work environment in the organization to the NFL’s attention.

Kaepernick said recently on the “I AM ATHLETE” podcast that he realizes he’ll have to accept a backup role to break back into the league, but that he’ll compete to get his old job back.

“I know I have to find my way back in,” he said. “So if I have to come in as a backup, that’s fine. But that’s not where I’m staying. And when I prove that I’m a starter, I want to be able to step on the field as such.

“I just need that opportunity to walk through the door.”