Birds of a Feather?
Ravens exploring possibility of adding Kaepernick
(TNS) — With starter Joe Flacco sidelined for at least a week with a disc issue in his back, the Ravens are exploring signing former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Following the team’s first fullsquad practice of training camp Thursday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh brought up Kaepernick before even being asked about the free-agent quarterback.
It’s an obvious connection given that Kaepernick played his best football in San Francisco under Jim Harbaugh, John’s brother, and former 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Roman is now a senior offensive assistant and tight ends coach for the Ravens.
“I’ve known Colin really through my brother for many years and we’ve talked,” John Harbaugh said. “I got to know him really well when they scrimmaged here [in 2014]. He and I have been talking throughout the summer, a number of times. We’ve had some great conversations on the phone. It’s really been a pleasure to talk to him and get to know him. I like history and politics and stuff, too, and we’ve had some debates. It’s been fun. He’s a great guy. He’s a guy right now that’s being talked about and we’ll just see what happens with that. I think it will all be speculation right now but I think he’s a really good football player. As I said at the owners
meetings, I do believe he’ll be playing in the National Football League this year.”
Asked later about Kaepernick, Harbaugh said, “I wouldn’t rule it out at all. He’s a really good football player.”
The Ravens currently have only two healthy quarterbacks on their roster: Veteran Ryan Mallett and Dustin Vaughan. During one drill Thursday, offensive assistant Matt Weiss stood in as the quarterback because Mallett and Vaughan were needed on other parts of the field.
Just a few years ago, Kaepernick was considered one of the most dynamic young talents in the NFL, a reality the Ravens experienced firsthand in Super Bowl XLVII, during which he passed for 302 yards, rushed for 62 and nearly led the 49ers to a remarkable comeback.
But his performance fell off sharply in 2015 — and he became one of the most polarizing athletes in the country last year when he began declining to stand for the pregame national anthem.
After the 49ers let him go, Kaepernick is believed to have had only one workout, with the Seattle Seahawks, and he wasn’t signed. That has led to debates around the league about whether Kaepernick is being blackballed for his social activism.
“I believe he’s a really good person,” Harbaugh said. “It depends on a lot of things. It depends on Colin first of all, what he wants to do, what’s his passion, what’s his priority, what does he want to do, what kind of shape is he in. Is he ready to go? Then, our needs, and we’ll just kind of see where it goes. I don’t
think it’s different for us than any other team. We’re definitely going to get another arm in here, but he’s not an arm, obviously. He’s an accomplished football player. You always like having good football players.”
Harbaugh reiterated that the Ravens expect Flacco to miss about a week of training camp, but he said the team isn’t worried about the longtime starter’s long-term availability.
“We found out yesterday,” Harbaugh said. “I guess it’s been something that’s been bothering him for a week or two. He didn’t say anything about it. It wasn’t really that bad. It flared up a little bit and he went and saw the back specialist. They are recommending about a week of rest. They say that should take care of it. I guess with the back, you can always say, ‘We’ll see.’ But all indications from the back specialist, Dr. [John] Carbone, are that he should be fine in about a week. That’s what we’ll be hoping for and praying for.”
Asked later if the Ravens were concerned that Flacco could miss some time during the regular season, Harbaugh said: “Nothing like that. We’ll be ready for everything. It’s not just Joe, it’s every single position. You want to build as much insurance in your roster as you possibly can at every spot, quarterback no less. But everything looks fine with Joe. I’m not a doctor and I don’t think anybody knows for sure what could happen. Anybody could get hurt out here at any time. But taking the precaution, I think Joe with a week of rest here is not going to hurt our offense. It might help our offense in terms of developing some other guys. I’d rather go that route than go the other route.”
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan gives San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick a hug after a 41-13 victory over the 49ers on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016, in Atlanta, Ga. The Baltimore Ravens are exploring signing former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Kaepernick.