Chargers coach: Teams 'crazy' not to have Colin Kaepernick on workout lists

Los Angeles Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said NFL teams "would be crazy" not to add Colin Kaepernick to their list of players to work out in preparation for the upcoming season.

When asked Wednesday if he considered having Kaepernick work out for his team, Lynn said that he had not connected with the free-agent quarterback.

"I haven't spoken with Colin, not sure where he's at as far as in his career, what he wants to do," Lynn said. "But Colin definitely fits the style of quarterback for the system that we're going to be running. I'm very confident and happy with the three quarterbacks that I have, but you can never have too many people waiting on the runway."

Kaepernick, 32, spent six seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. He has not played in the NFL since 2016, when he started kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice in the United States.

The Chargers parted this offseason with veteran quarterback Philip Rivers, who signed a one-year, free-agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts. Tyrod Taylor, a nine-year pro who spent last season as Rivers' backup, is expected to take over as starter. Lynn has repeatedly expressed confidence in Taylor, whom he coached for two seasons with the Buffalo Bills.

The Chargers used the No. 6 overall pick in the NFL draft in April to select Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, who is expected to eventually develop into their franchise quarterback. Easton Stick, a 2019 fifth-round pick, also is on the roster.

Though the Chargers have not scheduled a workout with Kaepernick, Lynn left open the possibility that one could happen in the future. Lynn has voiced concern about roster depth, given the coronavirus pandemic and the likelihood that one or several players could test positive for the virus ahead of scheduled games.

"It would be something that -- I think any team right now would have to explore," Lynn said of bringing in Kaepernick to work out. "A talent of that caliber that's available, under these circumstances that we're in right now, I would think most teams would explore that."

Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis told ESPN's Paul Gutierrez that he was more than willing not only to entertain the thought of talking with Kaepernick, but actually signing him.

"Since 2017, when he became a free agent, I've told the coaches and general managers that if they want to hire Colin Kaepernick, they have my blessing," Davis said.

But neither former coach Jack Del Rio and general manager Reggie McKenzie, nor current coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock, have pursued Kaepernick. The Raiders have three quarterbacks on their 90-man offseason roster: starter and franchise passing leader Derek Carr; newly signed Marcus Mariota; and Nathan Peterman, who spent last season on injured reserve.

The Chargers are the first team to mention Kaepernick as a workout candidate amid the widespread social unrest that started last month after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

Lynn, who attended a protest against racism and police brutality in Huntington Beach earlier this month, said that he would not oppose any Chargers players kneeling during the national anthem this season, but emphasized his preference to advance the conversation.

"For me, I respect that Colin took the knee and brought more awareness to this, and now I want to do something," Lynn said. "I want to honor what he did. I don't want to just keep taking a knee -- this is from talking to me personally. I want to go do something. I want action."

The Chargers' virtual team meetings have recently included in-depth conversations about social justice. Lynn invited a judge to speak to players, which he said prompted players and even himself to understand the importance of voting in local elections.

"I think our players will vote locally this time around because those people are making decisions here in our community that are directly affecting us," Lynn said.

Lynn also said he has engaged in dialogue with several police officers who tracked down his number after reading in a Los Angeles Times column about the coach's personal experience with the police and social injustice. He also has spent time recently talking with Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey.

According to Lynn, Chargers owner Dean Spanos has offered his support for players' opinions and their stances on the protests.

"He's very anxious to make a move and do something, but at the same time, he wants to do something that's going to make a difference," Lynn said. "He cares about this process, he wants to create a platform for our players to be a part of it and so he's very much involved."

As for the possibility of Kaepernick working out for a team more than three years after he last played in the NFL, Lynn said teams would need to have conversations with him just as they do with any other prospective player.

"I just think you bring a guy in, you work him out, sit down and talk and pick his brain," Lynn said. "Colin's been a football player his whole life. He played in the Super Bowl. I know he's got a high IQ at the position. So I just think it just comes down to the physical shape and his ability to do what he does. I believe you can figure out real quick where he's at in his career after an intense workout."

President Donald Trump, a critic of players kneeling during the national anthem, reiterated Wednesday that he supports Kaepernick getting a second chance in the NFL, provided he deserves it with his play on the field.

"If he has the playing ability, he started off great and then he didn't end up very great," Trump said. "He was terrific in his rookie year, I think he was very good in his second year and then something happened, so his playing wasn't up to snuff. The answer is absolutely I would.

"Now, kneeling: I don't want to kneel. I don't want to see people kneel for the national anthem, for the American flag. You stand, be proud, put your hand on your heart, salute if you'd like to do that -- but you have to show respect. There are plenty of places and plenty of things you can protest."

In a conversation Monday with Mike Greenberg for ESPN's The Return of Sports special, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he supports and encourages teams to sign Kaepernick.

Patriots safety Devin McCourty said Wednesday on ESPN First Take that he believes Kaepernick and the NFL "need to have a sit-down."

"They need to bring him in there and need to tell him face-to-face everything they said vocally and publicly -- tell that to him directly," McCourty said. "Then I think it's moving forward and getting him a real opportunity to be in this league. Last year, I was one of the guys that, when he had that workout [in November], I thought it was bogus. I didn't think it was a real opportunity for him.

"But I think he needs to be heard now, even more than back in 2016. We all kind of cut him off and didn't really embrace him the way we should have. I think it's time now to bring him into the fold. If the NFL wants to really be involved in this, they need to make sure they elevate his platform, and let him speak, and let him do the work he has been doing."

ESPN's Mike Reiss contributed to this report.