Seahawks coach says team interested in Kaepernick


Los Angeles (AFP)

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll says he has been contacted about former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, hinting the player who began kneeling protests might have a future in the league.

Carroll told reporters Thursday that he regrets not signing Kaepernick when he met with the Seahawks in 2017 but indicated that someone seeks information about the former San Francisco 49ers star.

"I got a phone call today asking and inquiring about the situation," Carroll said. "I know somebody is interested so we'll see what happens with that."

Kaepernick, 32, began kneeling during the pre-game US national anthems in 2016 to protest racial injustice and police violence against African-Americans.

He opted to become a free agent in early 2017 but found no teams interested in signing him.

US President Donald Trump made the kneeling protest a major issue in September 2017, saying any players who knelt during the anthem were "sons of bitches" who should be fired for disrespecting the flag and the US military.

Kaepernick settled a collusion grievance against the NFL with an undisclosed deal in February 2019 and Kaepernick staged a workout last November at which seven NFL teams had scouts in attendance.

Interest in his situation has grown in recent weeks with the killing of George Floyd and the worldwide protests that followed.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell declared "Black Lives Matter" in a video last week and said Thursday the NFL is open to working with Kaepernick in battling systemic racism.

Kaepernick hasn't played in the NFL since the 2016 campaign and would likely continue being an outspoken social justice advocate if he signs with a team while also working to restore his NFL skills.

Carroll said he didn't sign Kaepernick when they spoke in 2017 because he saw him as a starting quarterback and the Seahawks had that job filled with Russell Wilson.

"We all held him in great regard as a player," Carroll said. "I think we knew Kap as well as anybody could have known a player. Just because of the depth of the competition we had against him.

"We had great meetings... we spent half a day together. He was awesome.

"The fact that it didn't work out for us, I figured he'd wind up starting somewhere for sure and it just didn't happen. I regret that that didn't happen in some fashion. I wish we had contributed to it because the guy deserved to play."