"Absolutely. It would be hard to say that he's not getting any calls just on talent alone," Jenkins told ESPN. "I think any team that is considering him is going to weigh his political views and the strong stance that he's taken the last couple years, and that's unfortunate, but it's just kind of what it is. So hopefully, teams will look past that and evaluate him as a player, and I think as a player he deserves a spot in this league. But I'd be kidding myself if I said that his stance isn't playing a role in him not having a call yet."
Reid was the first player to kneel alongside Colin Kaepernick while they were teammates with the San Francisco 49ers, and he continued to demonstrate for social equality last season in Kaepernick's absence. Reid said recently that he plans to stand during the national anthem this season.
He was part of the Players Coalition co-founded by Jenkins and Anquan Boldin but broke from the group just before an accord was struck with the league in October that would contribute $89 million to causes considered important to African-American communities. While no quid pro quo was part of the agreement, the hope was that the league's commitment would create an environment in which players would no longer want to protest. Jenkins was among those who has not demonstrated since that accord was reached.
Reid cited a lack of transparency on Jenkins' behalf and a difference of opinion as part of the reason why he decided to split from the coalition.
The owners are set to vote on a key part of that pact this week at the league meetings in Orlando, Florida. If it passes, each team would create a fund for about $250,000 that would be dedicated to grants that players would be able to issue to causes that focus on police accountability, community/police relations, criminal justice reform and economic and educational advancement. Per league sources, around $73 million of the original $89 million agreement has been approved, and the rest is on the line this week.
"I think it's very significant, something that we're hoping the league upholds their commitment to," Jenkins said, "because it allows players in every market to engage in their own specific communities. ... It's a way for every team to have that kind of footprint in their market who can have players kind of leading that drive. Hopefully, they vote yes on that, because I think it's a great opportunity for the league to do something that is unprecedented for the NFL to really kind of carve out its space in making our communities better."
The Players Coalition was active this past week. Over four days in four states, 15 members were involved with advocacy and education work around key issues including bail reform, police misconduct and juvenile criminal justice. A social justice summit at Harvard Law School capped the week with participation from key criminal justice advocates along with Jenkins, Boldin and the New England Patriots' Devin McCourty, among others.
Jenkins says the absence of players such as Kaepernick and -- for the time being -- Reid on NFL rosters heightens his sense of responsibility to continue the conversation Kaepernick helped start.
"Me having a little bit more security on my team and being in a situation that we are in Philly ... I think we have the opportunity to get the most done," he said.
"I also think we have to recognize that this work shouldn't stop whether you're on a team or not. We've committed to our communities, to social justice and these issues, not contingent on whether we have a job; these are things that we've committed to. And so for me, I'll continue to speak up and do what I need to do. If that at some point runs the risk of me not having a job, then so be it. But right now, being in Philadelphia and having Mr. [Jeffrey] Lurie support my efforts and the efforts of my teammates and kind of what we've been able to build, I feel like it's my responsibility to take it as far as I can."