Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick doing workout for at least 11 teams Saturday


(NBC) – Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick will hit the field Saturday afternoon for a private training session hosted by the NFL, nearly three years after he was last on a team.

The 32-year-old free agent confirmed the workout in a tweet on Tuesday saying he’s “been in shape and ready for this for 3 years.”

The NFL said in a statement Thursday that 11 teams have committed to attend Kaepernick’s workout. They are Arizona, Atlanta, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Miami, New England, New York Giants, New York Jets, Tampa Bay, and Washington.

The league also said it expects additional teams to attend the session. There have been reports that more than 24 teams have committed to watching Kaepernick show off his football skills.

“We are looking forward to Saturday’s workout with Colin,” the NFL said in its statement, adding that a video of the session and an interview with Kaepernick will be sent to all 32 teams in the league.

On Saturday morning, the hashtag “StillWithKap” began trending on Twitter as celebrities and fans wished the free agent good luck.

Image: Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid
San Francisco 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick, right, and Eric Reid kneel during the national anthem before an NFL game against the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 18, 2016, in Charlotte, North Carolina.Mike McCarn / AP file

Kaepernick’s former teammate, Eric Reid, however, expressed concern that the NFL arranging a workout for the former quarterback was a publicity stunt.

During a locker room interview with reporters on Wednesday, Reid — who was wearing a black T-shirt with the hashtag “IMWITHKAP” on it — said: “Every move that the NFL has made up until this point has been PR for them, has been disingenuous, and I don’t think that this is any different.”

“But, we’ll see what happens,” Reid, a safety for the Carolina Panthers, said in the on-camera interview, published by the Charlotte Observer.

The workout, which the NFL arranged, will be held at the Atlanta Falcons training facility in Flowery Branch, about 44 miles northeast of Atlanta, and will include an interview opportunity and on-field training session.

Former NFL head coach Hue Jackson will lead the workout, the league said. Jackson told ESPN that the NFL asked him to lead the drills and he’s “excited” to do it.

Kaepernick has not been signed by any team since he opted out of his contract with the 49ers in March 2017 to become a free agent. The athlete made headlines during the 2016 season for kneeling during the National Anthem before games to protest systematic racism.

The action led to intense backlash, including from President Donald Trump who repeatedly tweeted his criticism of Kaepernick and other athletes for taking a knee. In a 2017 interview, Trump suggested that if the NFL would have suspended Kaepernick it would have stopped him from kneeling.

Kaepernick and Reid, who was also on the 49ers then and who joined in kneeling, filed grievances against the NFL for allegedly colluding against them to keep them from playing. In February, the NFL settled the cases with the two athletes.

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