May 19, 2024

Colin Kaepernick has been passed over yet again.

Rapper J. Cole posted on Instagram to share a letter he said Kaepernick sent to New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas. In the letter, dated Sept. 21, Kaepernick asks for the opportunity to join the team’s practice squad as a “risk-free contingency plan” behind starting quarterback Zach Wilson.

“I would be honored and extremely grateful for the opportunity to come in and lead the practice squad,” Kaepernick wrote. “I would do this with the sole mission of getting your defense ready each week.”

That opportunity was given to another veteran quarterback, Trevor Siemian, who was added to the Jets practice squad Tuesday. Siemian has played for four NFL teams since being drafted in the seventh round by the Denver Broncos in 2015 and is 13-17 as a starter. He made one start during a 2019 stint with the Jets, but suffered a season-ending ankle injury during that game and moved on as a free agent the following offseason. He participated in training camp with the Cincinnati Bengals this summer but was released in late August.

“He’s obviously got a lot of games under his belt,” Jets coach Robert Saleh told reporters of Siemian on Wednesday. “He’s a quick learner, quick study from my understanding. So just giving him the ability to come on the practice squad and help us out was the best decision for us.”

Kaepernick, 35, was the San Francisco 49ers’ starting quarterback in Super Bowl XLVII following the 2012 season and led the team back to the NFC championship game the next year. He became a civil rights icon in 2016 by refusing to stand for the national anthem before games and opted out of his contact with the 49ers the following offseason.

He hasn’t received another job in the NFL since then. In October 2017, Kaepernick filed a collusion grievance arguing that NFL teams had blackballed him because of his protests. He and the NFL reached an agreement to resolve the grievance in February 2019.

Kaepernick told Douglas in his letter that he “never retired or stopped training.”

“I am sure of my ability to provide you with an elite QB option if, God forbid, QB1 goes down,” Kaepernick wrote. “However, I know that there may naturally be uncertainties from you and possibly from others about my playing abilities. This plan, I believe, allows me to be of great service to the team as a practice squad QB, while also giving you a low-commitment chance to assess my capabilities to help in any other capacity you may see fit.”

The Times reached out to the Jets for a comment from Douglas on the matter and did not receive an immediate response.

Wilson wasn’t supposed to be the team’s starting quarterback this year. He has struggled since being drafted second overall in 2021, and the Jets acquired four-time league MVP Aaron Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers during the offseason. But Rodgers suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon injury just minutes into the opening game.

The Jets opted not to bring in a veteran quarterback in the immediate aftermath, leaving Wilson and Tim Boyle, who is 0-3 as a starter during his four-year career, as the only other healthy signal callers on the roster. They apparently changed their minds after Wilson delivered lackluster performances in losses to the Dallas Cowboys on Sept. 14 and to the New England Patriots on Sunday.


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