Colin Kaepernick isn’t generating a lot of interest in the NFL these days, but the man who was his coach in San Francisco is still a fan.
Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh on Wednesday announced that the quarterback will be an honorary captain for the Wolverines’ annual Maize and Blue spring game on Saturday. The team’s Twitter account posted photos of Kaepernick talking to the team at spring practice.
Harbaugh was Kaepernick’s coach with the San Francisco 49ers. Harbaugh led the 49ers to back-to-back NFC championship appearances during his four-year tenure from 2011-2014. He left for Michigan in 2015.
Before Kaepernick was controversial for his kneeling during the national anthem, the quarterback was involved in a quarterback controversy with Alex Smith. Harbaugh benched Smith in 2012 for Kaepernick, who led the 49ers to the Super Bowl — a 34-31 loss to the Ravens.
After Harbaugh left, Kaepernick’s career started to decline. Once seen as a potential star quarterback, Kaepernick and the 49ers struggled in the next two seasons without Harbaugh. San Francisco went 3-16 with Kaepernick under center in 2015 and 2016 combined.
Football Family.— Michigan Football (@UMichFootball) March 30, 2022
Excited to share the field with our honorary captain for Saturday’s Maize and Blue Spring Game, @Kaepernick7 #GoBlue 〽 pic.twitter.com/2H6Yj2Ivwl
In 2016, Kaepernick sparked national outrage for kneeling during the national anthem. He hasn’t played in the NFL since that season.
Harbaugh originally said that he didn’t like Kaepernick’s form of protest. But in 2020, during the protests following the murder of George Floyd, the Michigan coach said Kaepernick has been “on the right side” of racial justice issues for “a long time.”
“Colin’s been on the right side of this for a long time,” Harbaugh told Jed Hughes on a podcast, according to MLive.com. “I remember some very early conversations, when Colin decided to take a knee during the national anthem, and the person that’s first gets so much backlash.”
In the past month, Kaepernick, 34, has been consistently posting videos of his throwing workouts on social media. He worked out with Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett around the same time he reached out to Seattle coach Pete Carroll. Carroll then said Kaepernick deserves a second chance in the NFL.
Carroll said Tuesday that the team’s talks with Kaepernick “have not progressed.” The Seahawks are believed to be in the market for a quarterback after trading Russell Wilson to the Broncos earlier this offseason.
“He’s running around, he’s throwing the ball,” Carroll said on Tuesday. “You can tell the distance that he’s throwing the ball. You can get a sense of the velocity. There’s comments from the players that he works out with. He’s doing a nice job presenting himself.”
• Jacob Calvin Meyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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