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Seahawks' Baldwin says NFL is sending a message over Kaepernick

RENTON, Wash. -- In the spring, Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin said he didn't think free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick's social activism was the reason for his unemployment.

But with the start of the 2017 season approaching, Baldwin has changed his mind. He said Saturday that he believes NFL owners are trying to send a message by not signing Kaepernick.

"My original position was I thought that the situation last year with him taking a knee didn't have anything to do with it," Baldwin said. "After viewing what's going on, I've got to take that back. I definitely think that the league, the owners are trying to send a message of, 'Stay in between the lines.' It's frustrating because you want to have guys who are willing to speak out about things that they believe in, whether you agree with it or not. But I think that's definitely playing a role now moreso than I thought it was going to."

The Seahawks remain the only team that even brought Kaepernick in for a free-agent visit, but the team elected not to sign him.

Baldwin said Kaepernick's play is worthy of a job in the NFL.

"If you take a step back and you look at the overall picture, there's a lot of teams in this league that could use a quarterback of Colin Kaepernick's ability," Baldwin said. "And why he doesn't have a job, it's very telling to me. He's a very capable player. There's a lot of teams out there that need quarterbacks -- whether they're a starting quarterback or a backup-caliber quarterback. The fact that he hasn't been brought into camp yet is questionable."

Baldwin said he did not seek answers from coach Pete Carroll or general manager John Schneider when the Seahawks opted not to sign Kaepernick.

"I'm focused on the receiving corps and myself," Baldwin said. "I'm trying to do the best I can in serving my team in that regard. Pete and John have their own job to do. And that's not my job. So I'm sticking to what I have to do in order for us to be successful this season right now."