The 2017 season ended without the Browns winning a game. It began with Browns coach Hue Jackson wanting to sign quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Appearing on ESPN Radio in Cleveland, Jackson said that he wanted to sign Kaepernick after Kaepernick became a free agent in March 2017.
“I wanted him,” Jackson said Friday. “It just didn’t work out. Obviously, those things do have to work from a finance, draft, whatever all that is. And that wasn’t my decision.”
That’s not what Jackson said in 2017, however. Multiple weeks into free agency that year, Jackson talked about Kaepernick without ever saying, “I want him.”
“We haven’t really discussed Colin,” Jackson said at the time. “There’s other players at this point that we’ve had a lot of conversations about to see if we can put them on our team. Not saying it won’t come up later on. You have to exhaust everything. But at this point he hasn’t come up.”
The Browns eventually selected DeShone Kizer in round two that year, after passing on Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson with the first overall pick in the draft. There were no reports of any interest in Kaepernick by the Browns in 2017, or at any time thereafter.
Then there’s this: In August 2017, Jackson made it clear that he wanted no anthem protests on his team. So even if Jackson actually had any interest in Kaepernick, the fact that he had launched the protests in 2016 would have made it hard to reconcile that viewpoint with Jackson’s desire to not have any protests.
Of course, the truth ultimately may be that Jackson wanted Kaepernick (Jackson wanted to draft Kaepernick in 2011, when Jackson was with the Raiders), that Jackson has no issues with players protesting during the anthem, but that people higher in the organization, possibly all the way to the top, wanted nothing to do with Kaepernick, perhaps due to the potential impact of his presence on the bottom line.