A few weeks after issuing an apology for the NFL’s initial response to National Anthem protests, Roger Goodell is now encouraging teams to sign Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick has been a free agent since the 2016-2017 season after being blackballed by league owners.
Goodell sat down for an interview with ESPN on Monday when he responded to questions about Kaep returning to the NFL. The suddenly socially conscious and reformed commissioner says he is open to the quarterback/activist getting back on the field.
“Well, listen, if he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then obviously it’s gonna take a team to make that decision,” Goodell said. “But I welcome that, support a club making that decision and encourage them to do that.”
While Goodell’s sudden support for Kaepernick is welcomed, Goodell does not have the power to add the former NFC Champion to a roster. It seems that Goodell began to shift his position on the issue toward the end of last season when the NFL organized a workout for Kaepernick. Kaep’s camp ultimately opted out of the opportunity calling the workout a PR stunt and instead ran his own workout at a local high school in Atlanta.
Last week, Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll told reporters in a conference call that there is one team interested in signing Kaep. While starting roles are thin at this point in time, Kaepernick could be an elite second option for most teams in the league.
The 32-year-old has never indicated that he no longer wanted to play in the NFL. He also hasn’t indicated that he would cease the national anthem protest if he returns. Other players and coaches have already said they plan to kneel this season.