Richard Sherman has never been shy about expressing his opinions, and as far back as March, he was proclaiming the unemployed Colin Kaepernick as worthy of being “a starter on probably 20 of the teams in this league.” The Seahawks cornerback recently returned to the topic, and this time he was not afraid to name some quarterbacks less worthy than the ex-49er.
Kaepernick has never been far from the NFL discussion, as his name has been invoked every time an NFL team has signed a free agent quarterback, but he has returned to being the talk of the league in the wake of Joe Flacco’s back injury. The Ravens have engaged in protracted deliberations about bringing in Kaepernick, who angered many fans with his national anthem protests last season, but who also showed on the field that he could still be at least above-average, as compared to everyone at his position.
“For you to say you have to check with sponsors and fans because this guy took a knee and made a statement?” Sherman said to USA Today’s Jarrett Bell, in a story published Wednesday. “Now if you told me this guy threw eight pick-sixes last year and played like a bum, had no talent, that’s one thing.
“But Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett or whoever is playing for the Jets right now — whoever is starting for the Jets is terrible — have jobs. You’re telling me fans would rather you lose and put a worse player out there because a guy took a stand? That’s where it’s so troublesome to me.”
With Flacco out for the time being, Mallett is Baltimore’s top quarterback, and reports that he threw at least five interceptions in a recent practice gained widespread attention. By comparison, Kaepernick threw just four interceptions, against 16 touchdowns, in 12 games for a woeful San Francisco team last year, adding 468 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
For some, Kaepernick’s flaws as a quarterback, including subpar accuracy and touch on his passes, and a possible deficiency in making multiple reads, are enough, combined with his polarizing persona, to justify the apparent leaguewide decision to deny him employment. To Sherman, “It’s not about football or color. It’s about, ‘Boy, stay in your place.’ ”
“He played in Chip [Kelly]’s system last year and went 16-4 on a bad team,” the four-time Pro Bowler continued. “He played well because he’s a good football player. He may not be the best, but he’s better than a lot of these dudes starting.”
According to Bell, Sherman went on to list some of those “dudes,” naming the Jaguars’ Blake Bortles and the Rams’ Jared Goff as quarterbacks with starting jobs who were distinctly inferior to Kaepernick.
“Blake Bortles has shown you enough to where you don’t think Kaep would be a solid fit?” Sherman said. “Kaep has won games.”
The word “fit” came up again Wednesday, in comments by the Ravens’ Benjamin Watson, one of several current and former Baltimore players interviewed by team owner Steve Bisciotti about a possible Kaepernick signing. “When it comes to football, the reason why we call sports the equalizer is because you can come in here and have a different view, but if you can perform and are respectful, then you can have a chance,” Watson said (via the AP).
“The biggest thing they have to decide is, is he a good fit for our football team?” the 36-year-old tight end said. “I would hope that any team, when it comes to Colin Kaepernick, would look at his skill and look at their needs and say, ‘Okay, I’m going to give him an opportunity because I have a need in that area and he can fill it.’ Nothing else.”
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