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Colin Kaepernick 'actively interested.' Why isn't NFL interested in him?

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 9/17/2019 Nancy Armour, USA TODAY

Colin Kaepernick et al. looking at the camera © Provided by USA Today Sports Media Group LLC All these NFL teams desperately searching for a quarterback who can keep their season from going down the drain are ignoring the obvious.

Again.

“He is actively, actively interested in trying to play in the NFL,” Mark Geragos, the attorney for Colin Kaepernick, told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday. “Absolutely.”

The NFL season is only two weeks old and already we’re seeing the same, tired story: A quarterback gets hurt, putting the season in jeopardy. In the case of Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, maybe even the Super Bowl. Rather than call Kaepernick, however, a general manager dives into the trash heap of re-treads.

Sure, the Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets COULD turn to a quarterback who took the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl. Add the Carolina Panthers to this group, too, given the alarming news Tuesday morning that Cam Newton has aggravated a foot injury.

But no, owners and general managers will instead stubbornly entrust their franchises to a Brock Osweiler, a David Fales or a Josh McCown. In New York, they’re one hit away from Le’Veon Bell throwing passes.

Because options like that have worked so well in the past.

Spiteful and stupid is no way to go through an NFL season, especially when fans are told time and again that teams/owners/general managers will do whatever it takes to win.

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No doubt there are some owners who won’t sign Kaepernick because they’re livid that he dared to shine a spotlight on police brutality of people of color, and the endemic racism in our society that is behind it. History will have the final word on that small-minded and hateful way of thinking.

There are some, though, who are of the misguided notion that having Kaepernick on their roster would alienate fans. But the response to Nike making Kaepernick the centerpiece of a marketing campaign last year is instructive.

In the first quarter after the “Dream Crazy” ads debuted, on Labor Day 2018, Nike Inc.’s earnings rose 10%. Its stock is up more than $6.50, closing at $87.59 Tuesday. The two Kaepernick-specific items that Nike has produced in the past year sold out within hours. So, too, a jersey that Kaepernick sold on his own.

Besides, Eric Reid and Kenny Stills have continued their protests, and the Panthers and Houston Texans have managed to survive.

It’s a pathetic commentary on the NFL, and our society as a whole, that a player who is personally or professionally abusive is more readily welcomed than someone who is just trying to get our country to actually live up to the ideals it espouses. Through peaceful protest, no less. 

Antonio Brown was a one-man circus in Oakland, called his then-general manager a slur and is now facing a civil lawsuit that accuses him of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment. Yet he was unemployed for all of six hours before the New England Patriots scooped him up, while Kaepernick can’t even get a courtesy call.

That’s screwed up. Mostly, though, it’s short-sighted.

Kaepernick has a career passer rating of 88.9, which would put him just behind Carson Wentz and ahead of Jared Goff this season. Aaron Rodgers and Dak Prescott are the only active players with a lower interception rate. And while his record as a starter his last three seasons in San Francisco was 11-24, it has become abundantly clear since then that Kaepernick was the least of the 49ers’ problems.

While Kaepernick has been out of the game since December 2016, Geragos said he doesn’t know of anyone who works out “as religiously and arduously.” The occasional videos he posts of himself training – including one two weeks ago of him throwing to Odell Beckham Jr. – ought to be intriguing enough to entice some GM to take a closer look.

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Playing after such a long layoff, and without much time to digest a playbook, will be a challenge, and the Jets, at least, need someone immediately. But Geragos said the only barrier to Kaepernick being ready to play is the lack of a contract. 

“He’s one of the most astute clients I’ve ever had and one of the smartest clients,” Geragos said. “This is somebody who’s incredibly perceptive and intelligent. Not knocking anybody else, but I think he could pick up a playbook as quick as anybody.”

Not that we’ll ever find out. Owners and GMs will continue to go with “somebody who knows our system" rather than calling the best guy who’s out there, and the results will be mediocre, at best. 

Losing a quarterback to injury is a bad break. Ignoring Kaepernick is bad management, and you deserve every loss that's coming your way. 

Follow USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armour on Twitter @nrarmour

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Colin Kaepernick 'actively interested.' Why isn't NFL interested in him?

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