NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent always believed Colin Kaepernick was talented enough to continue playing in the NFL. Vincent isn’t the only member of the league’s front office to feel that way either, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Vincent, 50, appeared on Schefter’s podcast Monday. On the show, Vincent reveals many in the league office believed Kaepernick had the talent to play in the NFL after 2016, but it was on teams to sign Kaepernick.
In his full answer, Vincent makes sure to point out the NFL league office can’t hire Kaepernick for an on-the-field job.
“We can’t hire. We don’t hire. That will be a decision that is made by a head coach, general manager and an owner. That’s a club decision. But this young man is talented enough to play in the National Football League. I believed that in … 2016 or ‘17, and I still believe that today. And just hasn’t had the opportunity to display his talents once again whether it was in camp or in preseason. That’s always been my position, that’s been many of my colleagues’ position, frankly, the commissioner’s office’s position. But we can’t hire.
“And again, Adam, my comments that I just made have been documented, on the record, in front of a judge, about the work and the efforts that many of us were working on the behalf of looking for Colin to land a spot.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell didn’t go that far with his comments Monday, but indicated the league would like Kaepernick to return in 2020.
Given how the NFL has acted with regards to Kaepernick, it’s tough to take Goodell and Vincent completely at their word. Vincent’s comments feel like revisionist history, especially considering the league waited until 2019 to set up a workout for Kaepernick, which the NFL promptly mishandled.
The fact that Goodell is openly lobbying for Kaepernick feels like a positive step, though it’s also a reminder Goodell could have done this much sooner. By choosing to remain silent, or not address the issue, Goodell likely contributed to teams staying away from Kaepernick over the past couple years.
After years of ignoring Kaepernick, it’s worth wondering whether the league’s sudden change of heart is in good faith. Is the league really pushing for Kaepernick to sign now because it feels terrible about destroying his career, or is the NFL just looking for a PR win?
While Kaepernick is on the tongue of seemingly every NFL executive, he’s been curiously silent. Kaepernick has made it clear returning to the league is his goal. But if Kaepernick believes the league is being disingenuous about giving him another shot, he’ll have a difficult decision to make.