NFL team hints at signing Kaepernick

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Controversial NFL free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick may finally receive a contract offer to play football in 2017 from a coach whose brother made Kaepernick a star.

After a dream-like 2012 season for the San Francisco 49ers under coach Jim Harbaugh that ended in a Super Bowl defeat, Kaepernick’s career has veered downhill fast. Few conversations around a quarterback have gone from “next best thing” to “Can he even play?” quite as fast as have those around Kaepernick. On top of diminished play, the quarterback’s decision to protest police brutality by kneeling for the National Anthem before games kept him in the headlines, but off the field.

But in a journalist’s dream scenario, Kaepernick may get a shot to play in 2017 from the brother of the man who sparked his success and the coach of the team who defeated him in that storied 2012 Super Bowl: Baltimore Ravens’ head coach John Harbaugh.

With star quarterback Joe Flacco injured as training camp began this week, the Ravens need help in the position. When asked about Kaepernick, Harbaugh said he wouldn’t rule out signing the controversial player.

“No, I wouldn’t rule it out at all,” Harbaugh said. “I mean, he’s a really good football player. I believe he’s a really good person.”

Once a starter for a Super Bowl caliber team, anyone who has watched Kaepernick in the past two years knows that his 2012 success can mostly be attributed to head coach Jim Harbaugh, rather than superior skill at the quarterback position. But to put it bluntly, he’s not terrible.

As a starter, Kaepernick couldn’t hope to find a job in 2017, but as a backup, he would be above average, which has led many to believe his unemployed status is a reflection of his being blackballed from the league. Kaepernick himself, who announced he would stand for the national anthem if signed this year, was fed up earlier this month and headed back to his home country of Ghana.

John, the elder Harbaugh, spoke to his familiarity with Kaepernick through his relationship with his younger brother.

“I’ve known Colin, really, through my brother for many years, and we’ve talked,” Harbaugh said Thursday. “He and I have been talking throughout the summer a number of times. We’ve had some great conversations on the phone. It’s really been a pleasure to talk to him and get to know him. I like history and politics and stuff, too, and we’ve had some debates and it’s been fun. He’s a great guy, and he’s a guy right now that’s being talked about and we’ll just see what happens with that. It’ll all be speculation right now, but I think he’s a really good football player, and, as I said and I do believe, he’ll be playing in the National Football [League] this year.”

Harbaugh cited primarily technical reasons in the subsequent discussion of a possible Kaepernick signing. Most coaches are willing to look past whatever political stances their players have if they’re performing, but they want their players’ sole focus to be football. Harbaugh wants to be sure Kaepernick’s is just that.

“It all depends on a lot of things,” Harbaugh added. “It depends on Colin, first of all. What he wants to do. What’s his passion? What’s his priority? What’s he want to do? What kind of shape is he in? And, if he’s ready to go … And then, our needs. So, we’ll just kinda see where it goes, but I don’t think that’s different for us than any other team. We’re definitely going to get another arm in here, but he’s not an arm, obviously. He’s an accomplished football player, and we always like having good football players.”

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