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Colin Kaepernick working out with Raiders as door opens for potential NFL return

Colin Kaepernick, who has not played in the NFL since New Year’s Day 2017, has taken a step towards returning to football. He is working out for the Las Vegas Raiders on Wednesday, according to ESPN and confirmed by CBS Sports NFL Insider Josina Anderson. The workout is taking place at the team facility with head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler expected to be present, per The MMQB.

The 34-year-old hasn’t worked out for any team or visited with any team since finishing out the 2016 season. The social justice advocate generated national controversy due to on-field protests of police brutality, and it’s something that is generally believed to have ended his career. However, things could be about to change.

Kaepernick went 28-30 as a starter during his time with the San Francisco 49ers, throwing 72 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in 69 career games. He led the 49ers to an appearance in Super Bowl XLVII to end the 2012 season and went 12-4 in 2013, but San Francisco struggled in his final three seasons there, including going 1-10 in his starts during his final campaign in 2016.

Still, some of his career statistics are impressive. Only 1.77% of Kaepernick’s passes have been intercepted, which is the fifth-best mark in NFL history among those to attempt at least 1,500 career passes. He also rushed for 181 yards in a playoff win against the Green Bay Packers in 2013, which are still the most ever by a quarterback in a postseason game.

Kaepernick has been busy this offseason proving to the football world that he still has tread left on the tires, and has said that he’s open to being a backup. Most recently, he served as the honorary captain at the University of Michigan’s spring game, and had a public throwing session at “halftime,” which was broadcasted on television. Kap also worked out with Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett, and reached out to head coach Pete Carroll to gauge Seattle’s interest in bringing him in.

When asked what he hoped to accomplish with the public workout at Michigan, Kaepernick said he’s just looking for a chance.

“A shot,” Kaepernick responded. “Just a chance, an opportunity. You know, a lot of what we’ve heard is, ‘Oh you haven’t played in five years, can you still play?’ Well, I had to come out, it’s part of the reason we’ve been doing all of the workouts publicly, releasing them publicly.

“(I’m) grateful that this is an opportunity that can lead to a next step and hopefully crack that door open so I can run through it.”

The Raiders are not one of the more quarterback-needy teams in the NFL. Derek Carr signed a huge three-year extension worth $121.5 million this offseason, and Vegas also signed Nick Mullens, traded for Jarrett Stidham and picked up Cal’s Chase Garbers as an undrafted free agent. Still, the Raiders are clearly interested in adding a veteran. A workout does not guarantee the Raiders will sign Kaepernick, but this is a very big development for a potential return to the NFL.

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