1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Bucs

Colin Kaepernick workout turns into chaotic, confusing day

The Bucs aren’t among the teams reported to have attended after a late venue change as the QB and NFL trade accusations.
Free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick participates in a workout for NFL football scouts and media, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019, in Riverdale, Ga. [TODD KIRKLAND | AP]
Published Nov. 17

Times news services

RIVERDALE, Ga. — Colin Kaepernick threw passes for about 40 minutes on a high school field, then signed autographs for hundreds of fans who gathered in an end zone to watch his NFL workout that was suddenly moved Saturday, the latest strange twist in the saga of the exiled quarterback.

Kaepernick was initially scheduled to work out for 25 teams, including the Bucs, at the Falcons’ training complex in Flowery Branch, Ga. But his representatives announced the workout would be moved to Charles Drew High School in Riverdale, about 60 miles away, less than an hour before its scheduled start, and after many of the team representatives had already arrived at the Falcons’ complex.

Kaepernick’s representatives said they called the audible so journalists could watch and videotape the workout, adding the shift was prompted “because of recent decisions made by the NFL.” The league had declared the extraordinary workout would be closed to the media.

“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 in a statement.

Kaepernick’s representatives also said the NFL “demanded” as a precondition for the workout that he sign an “unusual liability waiver.”

The league said in a statement that it told Kaepernick’s representatives that as happens at the scouting combine, a video crew would record the workout and an interview, and distribute an edited video to all 32 teams. The teams also would get all the raw footage from the event, the league said.

“(Kaepernick) refused to allow NFL to videotape the workout with his reps overseeing,” the league said.

Also, the league said, it agreed Friday night to a Kaepernick-approved request that Nike be able to film a commercial at the workout. And Kaepernick had been asked to sign a standard waiver, the NFL said.

The league said it hadn’t heard of any unhappiness from Kaepernick’s side — including the request that the media be present — until a few hours before the scheduled workout at the Falcons’ complex.

“Colin’s decision has no effect on his status in the league. He remains an unrestricted free agent eligible to sign with any club,” the NFL said.

CBS Sports reported that seven teams made it to the relocated workout: the Eagles, Chiefs, Jets, Titans, 49ers, Lions and Washington. Kaepernick thanked them all for coming.

The team representatives stood along the sideline, jotting into their notepads as Kaepernick tossed passes to four free-agent receivers: Bruce Ellington, Brice Butler, Jordan Veasy and Ari Werts.

“Our biggest thing with everything today was to make sure we had transparency in what went on,” Kaepernick said afterward. “We weren’t getting that elsewhere, so we came out here.”

Kaepernick hasn’t played since the 2016 season with the 49ers, when he started kneeling during the national anthem before games to bring attention to social justice issues. He says he has been blackballed over his kneeling. The NFL in February settled a collusion grievance filed by Kaepernick and Panthers safety Eric Reid, who joined Kaepernick in kneeling when both were with the 49ers.

Kaepernick, who worked out in a tank top and shorts, has clearly kept himself in good shape during his near three-year layoff. His passes had zip on them, though he was a bit off target on his deep throws.

Kaepernick has insisted all along that everyone knows he is good enough to play in the NFL.

“I’ve been ready for three years,” he said. “I’ve been denied for three years. We all know why. I came out here (Saturday) and showed it in front of everybody. We have nothing to hide. We’re waiting for the 32 owners, the 32 teams, (commissioner) Roger Goodell to stop running, to stop running from the truth, to stop running from the people.”

Kaepernick did not take questions from at least 50 media members who scrambled to get to Riverdale.


  1. Frank Reich's Colts go for it on fourth down roughly 20 percent of the time. DARRON CUMMINGS  |  Associated Press
    Coaches, gradually, are changing the way they think about fourth down. Frank Reich is leading the way, while Bruce Arians is lagging behind.
  2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians stops to autograph a football for seven-year-old Jhamius Metelus, of Deerfield Beach, before the start of the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, November 10, 2019, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Your guide to the Tampa Bay-Indianapolis game at 1 p.m. Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
  3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) listens as offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich gives him instructions during the second half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) PHELAN M. EBENHACK  |  AP
    Rick Stroud | Bruce Arians says he wants to wait another month before making a recommendation to ownership. Here’s some reasons why.
  4. Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri (4) lines up for a kick against the Tennessee Titans during an NFL football game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. The Titans won the game 31-17. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini) JEFF HAYNES  |  AP
    The kicker and Pro Bowl receiver are injured. Expected back is former USF standout running back Marlon Mack.
  5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back T.J. Logan (22) runs against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark LoMoglio) MARK LOMOGLIO  |  AP
    Receiver Justin Watson will assume punt return duties starting Sunday
  6. Cameron Brate's collection of jerseys features teammates current and former and those of other players who probably have more in common with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end who went undrafted out of Harvard. [Photo provided by Cameron Brate]
    Tampa Bay tight end Cam Brate’s swap shop of jerseys is more than a numbers game.
  7. Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians in 2012 and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach in 2019. LEFT: DARRON CUMMINGS | AP  RIGHT: JOHN AMIS I AP  |  AP
    The Bucs head coach received his first chance to lead an NFL sideline at Indianapolis: “There will always be a little blue horseshoe in my heart.”
  8. Bears receiver Anthony Miller dives in for a touchdown past the Cowboys' Chidobe Awuzie, right, during the second half on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. CHARLES REX ARBOGAST  |  AP
    Mitchell Trubisky passes for three touchdowns as Dallas loses for the seventh time in 10 games to drop to 6-7.
  9. Tampa Bay Vipers quarterback Aaron Murray tosses the ball during practice Thursday in Plant City. "It's grind time," he said. XFL
    The Vipers begin their offseason program in Plant City.
  10. Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston and the Bucs face the Indianapolis Colts at 1 p.m. Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Here are our picks for this week’s NFL games.