Posted on July 2, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
NFL training camps will be underway in less than a month, and quarterback Colin Kaepernick remains unemployed. Teams have no doubt shied away from Kaepernick because of the controversy he created last season by kneeling during the national anthem before games. However, John Lynch, the new GM of the San Francisco 49ers, Kaepernick’s old team, has some friendly advice for how the quarterback can get back in the league.
Lynch’s advice, which he passed along in a radio interview earlier this week, is quite simple. The first time GM says that Kaepernick simply needs to tell teams that he wants to play.
“I think the way you could best help yourself is not to have someone talk for you, not have statements,” explains Lynch, “but go sit down and give an interview and let people know where you stand because he makes a compelling case as to how bad he wants to be in the league when you talk to him.”
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From Lynch’s perspective, it’s not the controversy surrounding Kaepernick that has caused teams to back off. Rather, it’s the fact that teams aren’t sure if football is a priority for Kaepernick at this point. The 29-year old has had no problem being vocal when it comes to social issues. But if NFL teams are going to employ a quarterback, they need to know that quarterback is fully committed to playing football and being the leader of their team.
“I would tell you with my conversations with Colin, he is fully committed to wanting to be in this league,” explains Lynch. “I gave that opinion to Colin myself: ‘I think you are having a little bit of an image crisis in terms of, not so much what you did last year, but people are wondering: Is this most important to you?’ At a position where the guys who succeed at the position are the guys who live it, breathe it, the CEOs at that position. And I think there is a perception that football is not at the top of the list.”
If what Lynch says is true, then Kaepernick is still interested in playing professional football. However, all of his public statements and social media accounts reflect someone whose primary focus is speaking out on social and political issues.
As Lynch points out, teams don’t believe he can make football a priority. Kaepernick needs to prove that playing in the NFL is still his top ambition. He also needs to understand that if he’s not an NFL quarterback, his voice may lose some of its power and influence.
On the field, Kaepernick’s performance has been up and down in recent years. However, some of that could be explained by Jim Harbaugh choosing to leave the 49ers and the instability at head coach since then. After all, Kaepernick was once one of the most promising young quarterbacks in football.
In the right situation, it’s quite possible that he could recapture that form. He best chance may actually be a return to Lynch and the 49ers, who currently feature Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley at the top of their depth chart.
However, if Kaepernick is going to find a job in the NFL in 2017, he can’s wait for teams to come to him, no matter how desperate a few teams may be for a quarterback. Lynch is spot on in his advice to Kaepernick. If he wants to play in the NFL, Kaepernick needs to prove, via both words and actions, that he’s willing to make football his main focus. It’s up to him to create his next opportunity.