The Washington Redskins considered bringing in Colin Kaepernick for a workout Tuesday, Coach Jay Gruden said, as the team looks to add another quarterback to the roster following Colt McCoy’s season-ending injury Monday night, but ultimately decided against it.
Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since the 2016 season, when he made national headlines for kneeling during the playing of the national anthem before games to call attention to the issues of racial inequality and police brutality against African Americans. Kaepernick filed a collusion grievance against the NFL in October 2017, alleging an organized effort to keep him off a roster as a result of his protests.
The team needs to sign a quarterback to back up Mark Sanchez, the only healthy signal-caller on the roster who was signed by the team just two weeks ago. The Redskins are bringing in two free agent quarterbacks for a workout late Tuesday afternoon, and will compare them with the group that worked out after Alex Smith suffered a season-ending leg injury Nov. 18 against the Texans.
Gruden, who said that the decision to not bring Kaepernick in for a workout was made for football reasons only, said Kaepernick had been “discussed, for sure,” but that his skill-set didn’t match what they needed in a quarterback being picked up five days before the team’s next game.
“It’s just going to be a matter of which way do we want to go?” Gruden said. “Do we want to go with a guy that’s familiar with my terminology who we worked out last week . . . or go with a guy and teach, basically, a whole new kind of offense with new offensive linemen with a lot of the zone reads and all that stuff. Not a lot of time to really get a brand new quarterback, a new system installed and taught in a couple days of practice.”
Gruden added: “He’s been talked about and discussed, but we’ll probably go in a different direction.”
Mark Geragos, Kaepernick’s attorney in his pending collusion grievance against the NFL and teams, said that the Redskins' decision supports Kaepernick’s claims.
“Isn’t it obvious what’s happening?” Geragos said via email.
Gruden said that they would need to build a specific package of plays and formations to take advantage of Kaepernick’s athleticism, and that doing so this late in the season wasn’t realistic. Had the injuries taken place in Week 1, he said, it might be a different story.
Kaepernick was not considered two weeks ago when the team worked out and signed Sanchez, Gruden explained, for similar reasons. The team had a short week before playing on Thanksgiving and Gruden wanted someone who could fit in as soon as possible.
“We wanted a guy with a similar skill-set with Colt,” Gruden said. “Somebody to come in in a pinch and function a little bit. Which Sanchez did. … We just wanted somebody to have a similar skill-set to Colt and had a little bit of familiarity with some of the concepts that we’ve been running.
“Not that Colin can’t do some of the things I’m talking about. But somebody with a little bit of familiarity. Sanchez being with [offensive coordinator Matt] Cavanaugh helped out a lot. Sanchez’s experience in a pro-style offense helped out a lot. But when you have a short week like we had … you had to have somebody in here that had some similar conceptual awareness that we had with Colt. That’s why we went with Sanchez.”
Kaepernick has not been able to join an NFL team’s roster, despite a 49ers resume that includes leading the team to a Super Bowl appearance in the 2012 season.
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