Colin Kaepernick is still preparing for an NFL comeback, the quarterback and civil rights activist says.
“I still train for it every day. I still prepare for it every day,” Kaepernick, 35, tells USA Today. “More than anything is trying to get someone to open the door and evaluate me based upon the merits of what I can do on the field, as opposed to it being a political issue.”
The former NFL star last played in the league in 2016 for the San Francisco 49ers, starting 12 games. In 69 career games for the team, Kaepernick threw for 12,271 yards and 72 touchdowns. He led the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013, where the team came up just short in a 34-31 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
But Kaepernick is most remembered for the nation’s divided response to his decision during the 2016 season to begin taking a knee during the national anthem before games, protesting racial injustice, police brutality and systemic oppression in the United States.
Kaepernick opted out of his contract with San Francisco the next season and has since gone unsigned, often speaking out about his willingness to get back on a pro football field. Certain teams and coaches in recent years have teased the idea of signing Kaepernick, though no team had done so, despite the former Super Bowl quarterback repeatedly saying he’s staying in game shape.
In 2021, Kaepernick said he wakes up at 5 a.m. to train five or six days a week, adding that training for football is “not something I will ever let go of, regardless of the actions of 32 teams and their partners to deny me employment.
The quarterback, who last worked out for the Las Vegas Raiders last season, tells USA Today he still has “the passion and love” for football. “I’ll keep banging on those doors,” he says, clarifying that if given the opportunity, he’d hope to lead a team back to the Super Bowl.
“I wouldn’t be coming back to play one year,” he says. “I’m coming back to win a championship and try to win multiple championships.”