No one knows if Colin Kaepernick will ever play another down of professional football, but the possibility seems to grow with each passing day now, writes CBSSports.com's Cody Benjamin. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback hasn't taken the field since 2016, and his impromptu NFL-endorsed workout in 2019 didn't unfold as planned.
Suddenly, however, there's arguably never been more momentum for Kaepernick's potential return to the league.
Like countless others in the wake of George Floyd's killing in Minneapolis and a renewed national fervor for racial justice, the NFL has reversed course from Kaepernick's days as a player, openly encouraging the kind of peaceful protests he famously started in 2016 and committing big money to some of the causes he championed, Benjamin observes.
Former NFL coaches are now claiming they wanted to sign the veteran years ago. Current ones are taking calls about him. Hall of Famers are identifying potential landing spots. Super agent Drew Rosenhaus thinks it's only a matter of time before a team signs Kaepernick for 2020.
And Kaepernick himself is apparently "more motivated than ever" to resume his playing career.
What may be the biggest domino to fall in that regard came when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he encourages teams to sign Kaepernick and would welcome him back to the league.
"Well, listen, if he wants to resume his career in the NFL, then obviously it's gonna take a team to make that decision," Goodell told ESPN. "But I welcome that, support a club making that decision, and encourage them to do that."
Goodell didn't say what the league would do if President Trump continued to criticize it if players kneeled for the national anthem. But Goodell said he wants Kaepernick's input on the league's approach to social issues.
The NFL released a video June 5 in which Goodell apologized for the league's failure to do a good job of listening to players' concerns about racial inequality. Goodell was roundly criticized, though, because the apology didn't mention Kaepernick.
That video came out a day after many players released one criticizing the league for not condemning racism following the May 25 death of George Floyd.
Meantime, a new Harris Poll found 61% of Americans think Goodell should apologize to Kaepernick, Forbes magazine reports.