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