WASHINGTON (AP) — The possibility of bringing in Colin Kaepernick for a tryout was “discussed” by the quarterback-needy NFL Washington team, according to coach Jay Gruden, who said Tuesday the team made a “strictly football” decision to look elsewhere.
“Isn’t it obvious what the real reason is?” Kaepernick’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, wrote in an email to The Associated Press.
Kaepernick, who led the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance, hasn’t played since the 2016 season, when he began kneeling during the national anthem as a way to protest police brutality and social and racial injustice. He filed a grievance against the NFL last year, saying team owners colluded to keep him off rosters.
Gruden told reporters during a conference call that there would have been “a greater possibility” of considering Kaepernick for a roster spot if the team were in need of a QB in Week 1 rather than at this stage of the season.
“Not a lot of time to really get a brand new quarterback and new system installed and taught in a couple of days of practice,” Gruden said. “So he’s been talked about and discussed, but we’ll probably go a different direction.”
Added Gruden: “You want to have somebody with a similar skillset to the quarterback you have. Not that Colin can’t do some of the things that I’m talking about, but somebody with a little bit of familiarity.”
Washington quarterback Colt McCoy had surgery Tuesday after fracturing his right fibula in a 28-13 loss at the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night. McCoy had replaced Alex Smith as the starting quarterback after Smith broke his right leg in a game last month and was ruled out for the season.
Gruden said McCoy would not go on injured reserve immediately because there is a slight chance he might be able to return to action by Week 17.
Now Washington will turn to Mark Sanchez, who starts at QB next Sunday for the team (6-6) against the visiting New York Giants (4-8).
Against the Eagles, the 32-year-old Sanchez compiled a passer rating of 53.7, going 13 for 21 for only 100 yards with one interception and one fumble that he managed to recover.
“For me to go in and play was in an emergency situation and those things happen. Now it goes from contingency plan to game plan,” Sanchez said. “Listen, I’ve seen just about everything in this league except for, I don’t know, a Super Bowl game.”
He hasn’t started a regular-season NFL game since going 0-2 in the 2015 season.