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Colin Kaepernick's reps call audible, workout moved at last minute

Posted: 3:05 PM, Nov 16, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-16 17:06:52-05
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FLOWERY BRANCH, Fla. — A big change of plans for Colin Kaepernick's NFL workout.

Just 15 minutes before Kaepernick was scheduled to work out Saturday for 25 NFL teams at the Atlanta Falcons' training complex in Flowery Branch, representatives for the exiled quarterback announced the session had been moved 60 miles away to a high school in Riverdale.

The representatives said they called the audible to let the media watch and videotape the workout, adding the shift was prompted "because of recent decisions made by the NFL."

"From the outset, Mr. Kaepernick requested a legitimate process and from the outset the NFL league office has not provided one," his representatives said in a statement.

It was a stunning move that seemed to catch everyone off-guard, and came about an hour before the rescheduled workout was set to begin.

A number of NFL scouts had already gone inside the Falcons' indoor training facility when word came Kaepernick's session was being shifted from the sprawling suburbs north of Atlanta to Charles Drew High School in Riverdale -- south of the city, near the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

It was not known how many teams would be attending the workout in the new location.

Dozens of media had been set up in a fenced-off parking next to the Falcons' facility.

Former NFL head coach Hue Jackson and Joe Philbin had been set to run the drills.

This was the latest strange twist in a workout quickly arranged this week by the NFL for the 32-year-old Kaepernick.

The former Pro Bowl quarterback hasn't played since the 2016 season with the San Francisco 49ers. He helped start a wave of protests about social and racial injustice that season by kneeling during the national anthem at games.

The NFL in February settled a collusion grievance Kaepernick and former teammate Eric Reid filed against the league. Reid now plays for the Carolina Panthers.

Kaepernick's representatives said the NFL "demanded" as a precondition for this workout that he sign an "unusual liability waiver." The reps said Kaepernick asked that media and an independent film crew be allowed to attend and videotape the original workout, and that the NFL denied the request.

"Based on the prior conduct by the NFL league office, Mr. Kaepernick simply asks for a transparent and open process which is why a new location has been selected for today," the representatives said.

The National Football League issues the following statement Saturday in response to the change of venue:

We are disappointed that Colin did not appear for his workout. He informed us of that decision at 2:30 pm today along with the public.

Today's session was designed to give Colin what he has consistently said he wants – an opportunity to show his football readiness and desire to return to the NFL. Twenty-five (25) clubs were present for the workout, and all 32 clubs, their head coaches, general managers, and other personnel executives would have received video footage of the interview and workout, shot by the Atlanta Falcons video crew. It is important to note the following:

  • As stated above, more than three-fourths of NFL clubs were present for today's workout.
  • The NFL made considerable effort to work cooperatively with Colin's representatives. We invited his agent to suggest questions for the interview. Yesterday, when Colin's representatives said he wanted to bring his own receivers to the workout, we agreed to the request. In addition, Coach Hue Jackson discussed with Colin's agent what drills would be run at the workout so that Colin would know what would be expected of him.

  • Last night, when Nike, with Colin's approval, requested to shoot an ad featuring Colin and mentioning all the NFL teams present at the workout, we agreed to the request.
  • On Wednesday, we sent Colin's representatives a standard liability waiver based on the waiver used by National Invitational Camp at all NFL Combines and by NFL clubs when trying out free agent players. At noon today, Colin's representatives sent a completely rewritten and insufficient waiver.
  • We heard for the first time last night, around the same time we heard from Nike, that Colin wanted to bring his own video crew. We heard for the first time this afternoon that Colin wanted to open the event to all media.
  • We agreed to have Colin's representatives on the field while the workout was being conducted and to allow them to see how it was being recorded. We did so even though we have been clear from the beginning that this is private workout. As is typical with NFL Combines, one video crew was prepared to shoot and distribute video of the interview and workout. We confirmed with Colin's representatives that they would receive both the video that would be sent to all 32 clubs as well as the raw footage from the entire event, which is unprecedented.

The location Colin selected is more than an hour away from Flowery Branch.

We are grateful to the Falcons, who made available the club's first-class facility, along with athletic training, equipment, and communications staff to ensure that today's workout would occur under ideal conditions, to coaches Hue Jackson and Joe Philbin, who were prepared to run a workout that would allow Colin to demonstrate his skill level, and to Jeff Foster and the Combine staff for arranging for other players to participate and for managing the logistics of the workout.

Colin's decision has no effect on his status in the League. He remains an unrestricted free agent eligible to sign with any club.