Veasy said he believes that Kaepernick’s situation — including the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback’s fight against racial injustice — has an impact that goes beyond just football. But he also knows that were it not for that workout, the Washington Redskins might not have signed him to their practice squad Wednesday.
“It helped,” the 24-year-old said. “That’s one of the reasons I wanted to be a part of it. Just being a part of the history of it, and I knew it was going to help me.”
Veasy knew Kaepernick before the Nov. 16 workout. The two had taken a class about black representation in popular culture together a few years earlier at the University of California at Berkeley. Veasy was playing for the Golden Bears, and Kaepernick, then with the 49ers, was auditing the course. That slight familiarity emboldened Veasy to reach out to Kaepernick’s agent last month when the NFL announced it would be holding a workout for him in Atlanta.
Veasy was looking for a way back into the NFL because, weeks earlier, the Buffalo Bills had released Veasy off their practice squad. It was the fourth team he had failed to stick with since he went undrafted in 2018, and the wide receiver returned home to Gadsden, Ala. He was working out and running routes when he heard the news of Kaepernick’s workout. Gadsden is only a two-hour drive from Atlanta.
The receiver drove over the state line for a pre-workout, and he said Kaepernick’s “live arm” impressed him. The initial plan had been for the workout to be held at the Atlanta Falcons’ facility, but after a late change to Charles R. Drew High in Riverdale, Ga., only seven teams ended up having representatives present.
Still, the workout was “pretty intense,” Veasy said, and as he looked into the stands from the field, he recognized Richard Mann II, the Redskins’ assistant director of pro personnel, from his pro day in 2018.
“I was going to be in Gadsden running routes anyway,” Veasy said, grinning. “Might as well run 'em in front of some scouts.”
Opportunity came quickly. The Cleveland Browns flew him in nine days later, but he left without a firm contract. Then everything went quiet until the Redskins called this week. They had a spot open on their practice squad, and they offered it to him without a workout. What he had shown on a field in Georgia a few weeks earlier was enough.
Veasy can only explain his journey one way: “It was surreal,” he said.