Colin Kaepernick had his first workout with an NFL team since his de facto exile from the sport in 2016, but the Las Vegas Raiders gave little away Thursday as to the impression he made.
Kaepernick, 34, has not played in the NFL or trained with a club since becoming a free agent in 2017 after being informed that he would be released by the San Francisco 49ers.
The quarterback’s departure from the 49ers, who he led to a Super Bowl in 2013, followed a tumultuous 2016 campaign in which he sparked a nationwide debate by refusing to stand for the US national anthem to draw attention to racial injustice.
On Thursday, Raiders coach Josh McDaniels had little to say about Kaepernick’s recent workout for the team.
“Just by standard procedure, we will only talk about the people that are on our team," McDaniels said in comments posted on NFL.com.
He added that general manager Dave Ziegler and his staff “have worked out tons of guys this spring, and we really don’t make comments about the evaluations that we’ve made, or what they look like, what they didn’t look like.
“They’re kind of private for us as we look at things to try to make decisions to make the team better."
NFL Network reported Thursday that Kaepernick’s workout apparently went well and that the quarterback impressed those in attendance.
Kaepernick’s protests followed the deaths of several unarmed black men at the hands of US law enforcement.
In September 2017, the wider protest movement started by Kaepernick became a target of criticism by then US President Donald Trump.
Kaepernick later sued the NFL, accusing team owners of colluding to keep him out of the league following his departure from the 49ers. He subsequently settled the suit for a figure reported to be less than $10 million.
Kaepernick’s activism has been viewed more sympathetically by the NFL in the wake of the nationwide debate over racial injustice triggered by the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis in 2020.
The Raiders, who inked starting quarterback Derek Carr to a three-year extension this off-season, have Nick Mullens, Jarrett Stidham and rookie Chase Garbers as backups.