Updated May 25, 2022 - 5:43 pm
After essentially being banished by the NFL for five years, controversial quarterback Colin Kaepernick could be on the verge of a return.
And that opportunity could come with the Raiders, who brought Kaepernick to Las Vegas for a tryout Wednesday, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed.
No decision has been made on whether the Raiders, who began Phase 3 of their offseason program this week, will sign him.
Kaepernick, 34, has not played in the NFL since the 2016 season, when he began taking a knee during the national anthem to shed light on social injustice, specifically the treatment by police of minorities.
It long has been assumed that NFL teams have shied away from him as a result of his stance.
The decision by Kaepernick to peacefully protest during the national anthem — and the controversy it created publicly and politically — caught the NFL off guard and led to decisions it later conceded it regretted.
Kaepernick’s movement led to other players joining him in protest. The movement waned by the start of the 2017 season, but then-President Donald Trump fanned the fires by asking the NFL to punish any player who knelt during the anthem.
Kaepernick was out of the league by that time, but Trump’s words motivated hundreds of players to take a knee during the anthem the following week. The NFL eventually responded by making it mandatory that all players on the field stand during the anthem during the 2018 season.
In between, Kaepernick filed a grievance that accused NFL owners of colluding to keep him out of the league. The sides agreed to a settlement in 2019.
By 2020, though, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell essentially admitted the NFL mishandled the situation
“We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest,” Goodell said. “We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter.”
The admittance did little to pave the way for Kaepernick to return. As the years waned, it grew more and more doubtful that he would play in the NFL again.
But when word began circulating this year that Kaepernick was eager to return, even as a backup, momentum began to pick up. That led to a workout for NFL scouts in April.
Raiders owner Mark Davis has maintained over the years he would be open to Kaepernick playing for them if his coach and general manager were in favor of it.
That time might be now. Derek Carr is firmly entrenched as the starting quarterback, with Jarrett Stidham and Nick Mullens competing for the backup role.
Kaepernick starred at UNR before being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the second round in 2011. He played six seasons with the 49ers and led them to the Super Bowl in 2012. He has thrown for 12,271 yards, 72 touchdowns and 30 interceptions.
One member of the Raiders’ coaching staff is familiar with Kaepernick. Offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi was a 49ers assistant from 2013 to 2016.