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Colin Kaepernick took a major step toward an NFL return Wednesday, working out for the Las Vegas Raiders.
It was the 34-year-old Kaepernick's first workout with an NFL team since his time out of the league began following the 2016 season. It was during the 2016 preseason that Kaepernick started kneeling during the national anthem before games as a way to protest police brutality and racial inequality.
Recently, Kaepernick put on a public showcase of his skills at the University of Michigan's spring game. Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh was Kaepernick's coach with the San Francisco 49ers.
"I can help make you a better team," Kaepernick said at the workout at Michigan Stadium. "I can help you win games."
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Here is what we know about Kaepernick's possible NFL future:
Why would the Las Vegas Raiders give Colin Kaepernick a tryout?
Last month, Raiders owner Mark Davis said that Kaepernick "deserves every chance in the world to become a quarterback in the National Football League."
"If our coaches and general manager want to bring him in or want him to be the quarterback on this team, I would welcome him with open arms," Davis added.
Kaepernick and the Raiders make sense from a football perspective.
Behind Derek Carr, the Raiders' quarterback depth chart is unimpressive. Las Vegas let Marcus Mariota – the team's backup during the 2020 and 2021 seasons – leave via free agency. On May 12, the Raiders traded with the New England Patriots to acquire Jarrett Stidham. Journeyman backup Nick Mullens and Chase Garbers – an undrafted rookie free agent from California – also are on the team's depth chart. Mullens brings the most experience, having started 17 games in his four-year NFL career.
Have other NFL teams been interested in Colin Kaepernick?
"Our conversations have not progressed since the early connection that we made," Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said. "I’ve watched a bunch of his workouts ... to kind of keep me up with what’s going on. He’s really working hard. He’s all over the country, traveling around, getting his workouts in. So he’s still competing for it."
Geno Smith, Drew Lock and Jacob Eason currently are the Seahawks' quarterbacks.
How long has it been since Colin Kaepernick played in an NFL game?
It's been five and a half years since Kaepernick last appeared in an NFL game. Kaepernick started in the 49ers' season-ending 25-23 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Jan. 1, 2017. In that game, Kaepernick completed 17 of 22 passes for 215 yards and a touchdown. Kaepernick played in 12 games (making 11 starts) during the 2016 season, throwing for 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions with a 90.7 passer rating. The 49ers finished a dismal 2-14 in 2016, which resulted in the firing of Chip Kelly after his only season as San Francisco's head coach.
In six seasons with the 49ers, Kaepernick started 58 games. He threw for a total of 12,271 yards, 72 touchdowns with 30 interceptions for a career passer rating of 88.9. During the 2012 season, Kaepernick took over as starter for Alex Smith and helped the 49ers reach Super Bowl 47, where the team lost to the Baltimore Ravens.
What has Colin Kaepernick been up to all this time?
In October 2017, Kaepernick filed a collusion grievance against the league, alleging that owners were conspiring to keep him out of the league. Kaepernick settled that grievance 16 months later.
Kaepernick focused much of his off-field energy on civil rights activism. He is also the author of a best-selling children's book. "I Color Myself Different" is based in part on his life. In 2019, Kaepernick founded his own publishing company, which "strives to elevate a new generation of writers with diverse views and voices through the creation of powerful works of all genres that can build a better and more just world." He also has a production company, Ra Vision Media, which created the Netflix series, "Colin in Black & White."
Contributing: Mary Cadden, Tyler Dragon, Tom Schad
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Colin Kaepernick works out for Las Vegas Raiders: What we know.