Colin Kaepernick moves workout to allow media, public to attend
RIVERDALE, Georgia — Colin Kaepernick threw passes for about 40 minutes on a high school field, then signed autographs for hundreds of fans who gathered in an end zone to watch his NFL workout that was suddenly moved Saturday, the latest strange twist in the saga of the exiled QB.
Eight team representatives made it to the new location, including Philadelphia Eagles vice president of football operations Andrew Berry. It appeared the Jets, Redskins and Chiefs also had scouts in attendance.
They stood along the sideline, jotting into their notepads as Kaepernick tossed passes to four free-agent receivers.
“Our biggest thing with everything today was to make sure we had transparency in what went on,” Kaepernick said afterward. ‘We weren’t getting that elsewhere, so we came out here.”
It was a surreal scene — a quarterback who led the 49ers to the Super Bowl, who should be in the prime of his career at age 32, staging a workout at Charles Drew High School south of Atlanta.
Kaepernick, who worked out in a tank top and shorts, has clearly kept himself in good shape during his near three-year layoff. His passes had zip on them, though he was a bit off target on his deep throws. It was not the sort of session that would likely sway a team one way or the other.
That didn’t appear to be the point.
Kaepernick has insisted all along that everyone knows he is good enough to play in the NFL. He claims to have been blackballed over his kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice, a divisive gesture that has been debated all the way to the White House.
“I’ve been ready for three years,” Kaepernick said. “I’ve been denied for three years. We all know why. I came out here today and showed it in front of everybody. We have nothing to hide. We’re waiting for the 32 owners, the 32 teams, (Commissioner) Roger Goodell to stop running, to stop running from the truth, to stop running from the people.”
Kaepernick did not take questions from at least 50 media members who scrambled to get to Riverdale to cover his workout, after initially assembling about 60 miles away, north of Atlanta in Flowery Branch.
Kaepernick was initially scheduled to work out for 25 NFL teams at the Atlanta Falcons’ training complex, but his representatives announced the change less than an hour before the start of the session — and after many of the team representatives had already arrived.
Kaepernick’s team said they called the last-minute audible to let journalists watch and videotape the workout, adding the shift was prompted “because of recent decisions made by the NFL.” The league had declared the extraordinary workout would be closed to the media.
“From the outset, Mr. Kaepernick requested a legitimate process and from the outset the NFL league office has not provided one,” his representatives said in a statement.
Once he got on the field, Kaepernick threw passes to receivers Bruce Ellington, Brice Butler, Jordan Veasy and Ari Werts.
Former 49ers teammate Eric Reid, who joined Kaepernick in his kneeling protest and a collusion lawsuit against the league, watched the session.