Will Ravens land Kaeper­nick as a fill-in for Flacco?

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - CINDY BOREN

The Bal­ti­more Ravens are about to open train­ing camp with­out Joe Flacco, putting them in the po­si­tion of be­ing a team that could give Colin Kaeper­nick a chance to prove that he’s still a Na­tional Foot­ball League quar­ter­back and put to rest the de­bate about whether NFL teams are black­balling him be­cause of his na­tional an­them protests.

Al­though some re­ports say Flacco will be side­lined three to six weeks, the Ravens be­lieve it’s likely that he’ll be out one to two weeks with what sources told the Bal­ti­more Sun is back sore­ness. The Ravens have only vet­eran backup Ryan Mal­lett and Dustin Vaughan on the ros­ter, which would seem to put them in the mar­ket for adding a third. In ad­di­tion to Kaeper­nick, Robert Grif­fin III and Johnny Manziel are on the mar­ket, too, but, given com­ments by coach John Har­baugh, Kaeper­nick would seem to be a log­i­cal fit.

“I mean, he’s got to prove him­self as a player. Colin knows that, he’d be the first to tell you that,” Har­baugh said in March, af­ter Kaeper­nick com­pleted a con­tro­versy-laden, two-win sea­son with San Fran­cisco. “You know, when you’re the quar­ter­back and you don’t win, you’re go­ing to have to an­swer for that. But he’ll get a chance again. Some­one’s go­ing to sign him and he’ll play in this league prob­a­bly for a long time.”

Har­baugh also said he didn’t buy into the no­tion that teams were ac­tively re­fus­ing to sign Kaeper­nick. “I would never use just a generic, stupid term like that to de­scribe a more com­pli­cated type of sit­u­a­tion,” he said then. “I just think it’s too easy. It’s in­tel­lec­tu­ally lazy. To me, I think that it’s more nu­anced. And I do think that peo­ple are, yeah, I ab­so­lutely think he’s go­ing to get signed. I think he’ll prob­a­bly be start­ing some­where (in 2017).”

He also pointed out that the Ravens have not been re­luc­tant to have out­spo­ken, con­tro­ver­sial play­ers, such as Ray Lewis, on their ros­ter.

Last off-sea­son, Kaeper­nick un­der­went a cou­ple of surg­eries that set back his train­ing pro­gram and, as a re­sult, he was skinny and lacked some mus­cle tone when he showed up at train­ing camp. Al­though Kaeper­nick grew stronger as the 49ers’ sea­son wore on, there is work to be done.

Har­baugh went on to say that Kaeper­nick is “too good a player not to get signed,” and he isn’t the only mem­ber of his fam­ily who feels that way. His brother, Jim, coached Kaeper­nick when the 49ers faced John and the Ravens in a Su­per Bowl, and Jim, from his perch as the coach at Michi­gan, said he has talked up Kaeper­nick when NFL teams have in­quired about him.

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