NFL teams were invited Tuesday, via a memo sent by the league office, to attend Saturday’s private workout, which will be held at the Atlanta Falcons’ training facility in Flowery Branch, Ga. Kaepernick is to perform on-field drills and participate in an interview. Video of the workout and interview will be made available to all 32 NFL teams, according to a person familiar with the arrangements. The session will be closed to the public and members of the media.
The league declined to comment, and Kaepernick’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The session was scheduled after discussions between NFL officials and Kaepernick’s representatives.
“I’m just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday,” Kaepernick wrote on Twitter. “I’ve been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can’t wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday.”
Kaepernick’s representatives were told Tuesday morning that the workout had been scheduled for Saturday, according to a person familiar with the deliberations.
Kaepernick’s representatives have asked the league to supply a list of teams’ coaches and personnel executives who will attend the workout and the NFL agreed to do so, according to a person familiar with the deliberations. That came after Kaepernick’s representatives sought unsuccessfully to have the workout scheduled for a Tuesday or for a subsequent Saturday, according to a report by ESPN. The report also said Kaepernick’s representation had become wary about the NFL’s sincerity in assisting Kaepernick’s efforts to find a team willing to sign him.
However, a person familiar with the league’s view said later that the NFL never promised to provide a list of attendees.
Officials involved with the NFL scouting combine will be given a role in organizing Kaepernick’s workout. Representatives of all teams gather annually in Indianapolis in February to evaluate college players eligible for that year’s draft. But it’s highly unusual for the league to have a role in arranging what amounts to a tryout for a single player. Such workouts generally take place at the practice facility of any team interested in signing that player.
“Earlier this year, we discussed some possible steps with his representatives and they recently emphasized his level of preparation and that he is ready to work out for clubs and be interviewed by them,” Tuesday’s memo from the league to teams stated. “We have therefore arranged this opportunity for him to work out, and for all clubs to have the opportunity to evaluate his current readiness and level of interest in resuming his NFL career.”
Kaepernick, who led the 49ers to the Super Bowl in the 2012 season, reportedly has continued to work out in hopes of returning to the league. He had 16 touchdown passes and four interceptions in 12 games in 2016.
He has not been signed by a team since he opted out of his contract with the 49ers following the 2016 season, making him a free agent. The 49ers said they would not have kept Kaepernick under the terms of that contract and would have released him if he hadn’t opted out.
Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid, a former 49ers teammate now with the Carolina Panthers, filed grievances accusing the league and teams of colluding to keep them out of the NFL in violation of the collective bargaining agreement. The grievances were settled in February before reaching a hearing before arbitrator Stephen Burbank, the University of Pennsylvania law professor assigned to resolve disputes between the league and the NFL Players Association arising from the collective bargaining agreement.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has denied that collusion took place and has said repeatedly, when asked about Kaepernick, that individual teams have made decisions based on football considerations. Still, some players have expressed dismay about Kaepernick remaining without a job, and other observers have pointed to the quality of the quarterbacks signed by teams while maintaining that Kaepernick has been blackballed because of his protests.