Seahawks coach Pete Carroll regrets not signing 'incredible player' Kaepernick, says a team is looking for him
'The first thing we know is Kap was right on point. He was right on police brutality and inequality'
Seattle Seahawks coach Peter Carroll, on Thursday, June 11, admitted that he regrets not signing former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2017 or 2018, and added that his kneeling protests were "never the issue". Carroll, during a virtual press conference, added that although he has no plans to acquire him currently, there is another team that is considering signing Kaepernick.
Carroll also emphasized that he believed Kaepernick was justified in his protest of kneeling during the national anthem through the 2016 season. "The first thing we know is Kap was right on point," Carroll told reporters at the conference. "He was right on it on the topics about police brutality and inequality."
Kaepernick hasn’t played a down since opting out of his contract in 2016, the same year the quarterback began his protest when he was with the San Francisco 49ers. The player stirred a national controversy in an effort to protest police brutality in the country. Other players soon took his cue and joined the protest in the 2016 season. Kaepernick's move drew heavy criticism from President Donald Trump, who even called for the owners of the NFL teams to fire the players who were participating in it. The NFL, last year, in 2017, announced a rule which required all the players to stand during the national anthem.
The Seahawks coach also revealed that Kaepernick was an "obvious" candidate to be a starter in 2017 when he worked out for the Seahawks. The team, however, only had a backup job to offer him at the time. The Seahawks had reportedly scheduled another meeting with Kaepernick in the spring of 2018 but they eventually backed out. It was reported at the time that the NFL team canceled because Kaepernick refused to agree that he would not kneel for the national anthem.
Carroll, nearly two years after his team's decision, clarified the Seahawks' stance saying that kneeling was "never the issue". The coach also admitted that an NFL team had called him on June 11 morning to inquire about Kaepernick. He, however, declined to identify the team but said that it was the first time he had received a call regarding the quarterback.
"I thought the irony of that was crazy, because I knew I was coming on this press conference and you guys were going to ask me a million questions about this," Carroll told reporters. "Kap called me during the  season before that off season, and he called out of the blue to ask me for some advice about where he would go next. I was flattered that he would even think to call me, because we never talked before other than just, you know, greetings, and so from that point, I was kind of rooting for him and hoping that things would work out. And so, I forgot about it."
"When it came back around, and we had a chance to visit with him, and it came up, I was thinking this is an incredible football player," the Seahawks coach said of Kaepernick. "Let's find out if it can possibly fit football-wise and all that. And then also, because he hadn't visited anywhere yet, maybe this would help him and open up doors for him if our thing didn't work out. We had great meetings. I don't know that I've ever explained it in as much depth, but we spent half a day together. He spent time with our people throughout the building, and he was awesome. He just backed up even more of what we had seen in the character and in his smarts, in his togetherness and his competitiveness, to the point where it was so obvious that he's a starter in the NFL."
The coach added that Kaepernick was not a fit for Seahawks in 2017 because they already had a standout starter in Russell Wilson who continues to remain the top quarterback of the team.
"[Kaepernick] was a dominant figure as a football player, and that's how we saw him," Carroll said. "The fact that it didn't work out, I figured he was going to wind up starting somewhere for sure, and it just didn't happen. So, the rest of that story is one that I regret that didn't happen in some fashion. I wish we would have contributed to it, because again, he deserved to play. I thought at the time and just in our situation as a backup, man, I didn't feel it was right at that time, so I had to make that football decision. It was about our team and the situation."
Kaepernick has continued to keep in shape, in hope that a franchise will sign him and he will get to play again. The quarterback, who had led San Francisco to the 2013 Super Bowl, last February had reached a confidential settlement with the NFL after alleging that the league blackballed him. The NFL had arranged tryouts for the quarterback at Atlanta Falcons training facility in Georgia last year, however, the location was shifted to a high school stadium at the last minute. Kaepernick, while commenting on the change, had stated that it was done so that the media could be present. Reports state that Kaepernick's team decided to move the location of his workout after they accused the NFL of not acting rightfully.