The practice is Kaepernick’s first with an NFL team since his absence from the league began after the 2016 season. That year, he began kneeling during the national anthem before games in protest against police brutality and racial inequality. he later filed a collusion grievance against the NFL, alleging his owners were plotting to keep him out of the league. He and his former teammate Eric Reid settle their respective grievances.
In the years since, and especially in recent months, Kaepernick has spoken about his fitness and trained publicly in an effort to garner interest from NFL teams. It was honorary captain at the Michigan Spring Football game in April, throwing to receivers during halftime. (Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh coached Kaepernick in San Francisco.)
Kaepernick told a Detroit television station after he was just looking for “an opportunity, a door to open” with an NFL team.
“(I) can still go out, throw it,” Kaepernick told WXYZ Channel 7. “Really, coming out here today for the exhibition was to be able to show that I can do it. my agent kept thinking, ‘Well, it’s been 5 years, can he still play?’ We wanted to make sure that we came out, we showed everyone that I can still play, still throw it.”
It should be noted that the Raiders were the first team in years to offer Kaepernick a workout, given the recent public statements of their owner, Mark Davis.
In an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area late last monthDavis said Kaepernick “deserves every chance in the world to be a quarterback in the National Football League.”
“I still stand by it,” Davis said. “If our coaches and our general manager want to bring him in or want him to be the quarterback for this team, I would welcome him with open arms.”
Earlier in May, the Raiders traded for Jarrett Stidham to compete with Nick Mullens and rookie Chase Garbers for a back-up spot behind starter Derek Carr.
A second-round draft pick from Nevada, Kaepernick started 58 games for the 49ers from 2011-2016 and helped lead them to the Super Bowl in the 2012 season. He threw for over 12,000 yards in his career in the NFL, with 72 career touchdown passes.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Colin Kaepernick lands in practice with Raiders after 5-year absence from NFL