Last week marked the five-year anniversary of Colin Kaepernick first being noticed not standing for the national anthem. I considered writing about it, but ultimately decided not to do so. It’s an old story. There’s nothing new to add, and nothing is going to change. He’s been out of the league for four full seasons, he’s never gotten a workout with any team, and no one ever has shown a serious inclination to add him to a roster of any size (53 or 90 or anywhere in between) since his final game with the 49ers on January 1, 2017.
But then I noticed something very strange last night. In the NFL.com fantasy game, Kaepernick remains available to be drafted or added to a team.
At this point, it fairly can be wondered whether someone is trolling him.
Beyond the quarterbacks who were drafted in our 12-team PFT barn league, 105 free agents are available. Philip Rivers (who has left the door open on a potential return) is included. Drew Brees (who has said he won’t be coming back) is in there, too.
Alex Smith, who has retired and taken a job at ESPN, is in the game. Robert Griffin III, who has taken a job at ESPN but who made it clear he still wants to play, is not in the game.
Eli Manning, who retired after the 2019 season, is not in the game. Sam Bradford, who was in the NFL two seasons after Kaepernick, is not in the game. Andrew Luck, who retired in August 2019 and who is still young enough to come back, is not in the game.
Kaepernick hasn’t been employed by an NFL team for four full seasons. He’s not coming back now. He barely even gets mentioned. Indeed, the only reason he’s being mentioned today is because the NFL inexplicably has included him as a potential roster option in its fantasy game.
It’s one thing for Kaepernick to be in the Madden game, where users can actually add him and play him. There’s no reason for anyone to give a second of thought to the possibility of drafting or adding Kaepernick to a fantasy team. It would require quite a fantasy to become reality for him to ever be on an NFL football field again.