New England Patriots

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 24: Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers throws a pass during the game against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on December 24, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

98.5 The Sports Hub staff report

Speaking with ESPN on Monday night, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell noted that he’s more than open to the idea of free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick returning to the NFL.

“If he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then obviously it’s gonna take a team to make that decision,” Goodell told Mike Greenberg. “But I welcome that, support a club making that decision, and encourage them to do that.”

Goodell’s vocal support of Kaepernick is hardly surprisingly. Especially following a recent video where Goodell outright admitted that the league botched their handling of the peaceful protests, first led by Kaepernick, in 2016. Whether it’s lip service or not, the league seems determined to do what they can to move on from the idea of Kaepernick being blackballed as a result of his collusion lawsuit (and subsequent settlement) with the league, at least on the record.

Kaepernick, meanwhile, is ‘more motivated than ever’ to return to the NFL. The 32-year-old, who threw for 2,241 yards with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions in 12 games for the 49ers in 2016, last had an NFL workout in November 2019.

That workout was a mess for all involved, too, as Kaepernick’s camp made a last-second venue change in search of “complete transparency,” which was something that they didn’t feel they were getting at its original location (the Falcons’ training facility). And while the location switch gave them the transparency they sought, it certainly sliced the teams in attendance down considerably, with just the Chiefs, Jets, Eagles, Titans, Redskins, Bills, Lions, and 49ers getting a look at Kaepernick during that workout.

And not that it’s ever a good time to pull off a comeback after three years away from the game, but Kaepernick is back on the market in what feels like an overcrowded quarterback market (Cam Newton still doesn’t have a job), and with teams currently unable to bring players in for actual workouts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘Encouraged’ or not, it’s a tough time for teams to take a chance on a guy who hasn’t played since 2016.

If an on-field return isn’t in the cards though, Goodell hopes Kaepernick can help educate the NFL how they can improve and deal with issues the league/world faces.

“If his efforts are not on the field but continuing to work in this space, we welcome him to that table and to help us, guide us, help us make better decisions about the kinds of things that need to be done in the communities,” said Goodell. “We have invited him in before, and we want to make sure that everybody’s welcome at that table, and trying to help us deal with some very complex, difficult issues, that have been around for a long time.”

A veteran of six NFL seasons, Kaepernick has totaled 72 touchdowns, 30 picks, and compiled a 28-30 record as a starter.

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