by Alex Poletti
Photo by Todd Kirkland/AP/Shutterstock
In a workout open to all NFL teams and media, former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick showed that he’s still got it, impressing with his arm, athleticism and improved kneeling form.
“I was really impressed by Kap’s workout today,” a Cincinnati Bengals scout says. “He’s always been a skilled kneeler, but now he’s doing it with a newfound athleticism and youthfulness. It’s an exciting development.”
Representatives of the former 49er explain that he has been training for this workout for the past few months, with a specific emphasis on kneeling with a greater efficiency and poise.
“It’s mostly in the quadricep,” Kaepernick explains to The Second String. “But balance is also an important aspect of the kneel. I’ve been training with long-distance sprints and yoga. The yoga is helpful because the mental side of kneeling should not be overlooked.”
Kaepernick was the starter for the San Francisco 49ers from 2012 to 2014, staying with the team as a part-time starter for the following two seasons. Though never an elite quarterback, he performed admirably in San Francisco, leading the team to an appearance in Super Bowl XLVII against the Baltimore Ravens.
Kaepernick’s fame does not stem from his quarterbacking ability, though; he received national attention after kneeling during the National Anthem. By 2017, he was out of a job, but still kept himself in the American consciousness through his work as an activist.
“He really kneels like a veteran,” a scout for the Atlanta Falcons explains. “We see a lot of younger players trying to imitate his style, but Kaepernick makes kneeling look effortless. You can tell he’s practiced it thousands of times.”
Many wonder, however, if his age will work against him in his chances of getting back to the NFL. Advanced metrics show that he has lost velocity on his kneel, and Kaepernick’s exertion of physical force on the play is far less than it was just three years ago.
“The metrics confirm that the kneel just isn’t as strong as it once was, even if it passes the eye test,” Justin Chabot, a national scout for the 49ers, says. “I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing, though. He’s kneeling smarter, not harder. This speaks to his durability throughout the season. With this form, he could be kneeling before every game, maybe even some in the playoffs.”
After the workout, the teams met and decided that Kaepernick was able enough to play in the NFL, but decided to exclude him from the league for old time’s sake.