The Seahawks still may "have a place" for Colin Kaepernick on their team.
And the exiled, free-agent quarterback's plans for protesting in the future are not as much an issue for Seattle as has been portrayed.
That was what Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said on Monday. That was 11 days after national reports said the team canceled a tryout for and visit with Kaepernick because he didn't give them the answer they wanted about whether he would continue kneeling in protest during the national anthem before games.
“Well let me say it this way: We’re still battling on all fronts, on all guys. We’re still at guys and evaluating," Carroll said Monday. "There’s free agents that we continue to look at. In that, the process just continues. At this point, we’ve gone through the information gathering and we have a pretty good feel for where we are. It’s ongoing.
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"We’re not done with that decision, at all," Carroll said of Kaepernick possibly coming to the team and backing up Russell Wilson. "We’re still watching him.”
Asked if the Seahawks indeed wanted to hear something from Kaepernick about his plans about whether he would protest in uniform in the future should he sign with an NFL team, Carroll said: "I think that kind of — that got blown up, you know, like that was a big marker. I think we’ve been working at this for some time now, so I don’t think that’s really as telling as it came across.
"So we’re real aware of him and he’s a fine football player and there may be a place we’re not sure about where that fits yet.”
Kaepernick has been out of the NFL since January 2017, when he decided to opt out of his contract with San Francisco before the 49ers would have cut him.
Seattle remains the only team to have him on for a free-agent visit. That was in the spring of 2017. Carroll said after that visit the reason the Seahawks didn't sign Kaepernick then was because the team saw him as an NFL starting quarterback, and that it already has one, Wilson.
The Seahawks signed Austin Davis, a former Cleveland Browns and St. Louis Rams starter, instead to be the backup to Wilson. The Seahawks recently re-signed Davis and also signed Stephen Morris, a former University of Miami quarterback and Indianapolis Colts backup. Davis and Morris have played for Brian Schottenheimer, the former Rams offensive coordinator and Colts quarterbacks coach Carroll hired this offseason to be the Seahawks' new play caller.
Carroll referenced Kaepernick earning the human-rights group Amnesty International's highest honor, the 2018 Ambassador of Conscience Award, in Amsterdam on Saturday. Kaepernick joined former South Africa president Nelson Mandela, Malala Yousafzai, an activist from Pakistan the Taliban tried to assassinate, and rock band U2 as winners of the award that celebrates those "who speak out for justice."
As Kaepernick remains blackballed from the NFL, other less-accomplished quarterbacks sign all over the league. Mike Glennon got a $45 million contract from the Chicago Bears last year. The Bears ended up paying him $18.5 million for four starts before they cut him and then signed journeyman Chase Daniel this spring. Daniel, 31, is older than Kaepernick. In eight NFL seasons Daniel has started as many playoff games as you have, let alone a Super Bowl like Kaepernick.
Meanwhile, Kaepernick gets international, Nelson Mandela-esque human-rights awards. And he stays under Seahawks consideration, according to Carroll.
“I think he’s continuing to work on the stuff that’s really important to his heart. That’s what it looks like," Carroll said of Kaepernick. "He’s been recognized with an award just recently."
One issue no one has broached through all the Kaepernick unemployment controversy: How much does he want to be paid to be a backup at this point in his career? No one knows.
Except maybe the Seahawks. And that is assuredly another consideration here.
"Everything’s important," Carroll said. "We take everything into account to make the decisions that we make."
This consideration of Kaepernick — or at least the perception the Seahawks are pushing that they are considering him — is likely to continue for a while. General manager John Schneider, seated next to Carroll on Monday, referenced the fact the Seahawks acquired Mike Davis in June before he became a starting running back last season.
"It’s no different for the quarterback spot than any other spot we’re considering," Carroll said.