By Casey Egan
Colin Kaepernick would be a great fit in Seattle.
Both as a backup quarterback on the Seahawks and as a resident of the Emerald City. As an organization, the Seattle Seahawks have become well known for bringing in players who are less than afraid to be outspoken on and off the field.
When he’s not schooling rookie offensive tackles, Michael Bennett routinely criticizes politicians, media personalities, and opposing quarterbacks.
When he’s not advising opposing receivers to get their “weak asses off the field,” Richard Sherman frequently speaks out on social issues and hot cultural topics.
Even the team’s punter, Jon Ryan, got into it with a fan who made an anti-LGBT comment on his Instagram page last year.
And for an organization that has created a big enough tent to fit all these characters, the Seahawks have enough room to fit a guy who has spoken loudest when he’s sat in silence.
But the Seahawks aren’t some missionaries out at sea looking to throw a life vest to the most hopeless, lost souls. The Seahawks only bring in people that offer a practical football skill the team needs. And in the case of Colin Kaepernick, he fills a very important personnel void for the team: backup quarterback.
Trevone Boykin, the Seahawks’ current backup quarterback, saw limited action in his rookie campaign, attempting just 18 passes in largely meaningless minutes. His prospects…haven’t been buoyed by his two off-season arrests.
In swapping out Boykin for Kaepernick, the Seahawks would be getting a proven veteran who has led a team to a Super Bowl, and been within five yards of winning one.
Kaepernick’s playing style would also benefit the team. As a mobile, athletic quarterback who can also pass from the pocket, Kaepernick’s play mirrors Wilson’s far better than Boykin’s. While Boykin is unproven as a passer, Kaepernick threw for nearly 3,400 yards in 2014, and threw for 21 touchdowns in 2013.
Notably, in the wake of his viral activism last year, Kaepernick’s production suffered a pitfall. Maybe it was because his mind was somewhere else. Maybe it was because he was playing in his first year under a new coach. There isn’t one single explanation for his disastrous season. One thing is for sure: It wasn’t because his athletic skills have decayed. At 29, Kaepernick is still in his athletic prime.
A theory was put out by Peter King of Sports Illustrated that members of the 49ers organization felt that Kaepernick “might actually rather do social justice work full-time than play quarterback.” Recent reports suggest that this is not at all the case. In fact, Dave Zirin of The Nation reported that Kaepernick is working out every day in the hopes of getting a training camp invite.
If this is the case, Kaepernick may just need the right coach and situation. We’ve seen what he can do before under a great coach. Now, as a more complicated person and player, he needs a coach who understands that. That coach is Pete Carroll.
Fearless. Abrasive. Nonconforming. These words have been used to describe the Seahawks’ style of play during the Carroll era – and that’s true – but they’re also apt descriptors of the culture that Carroll has created for his players in Seattle.
“It’s the old saying, it’s different strokes for different folks. He allows you to find yourself, he allows you to own your specific role,” Earl Thomas told the Everett Herald back in 2014.
The culture Carroll has created is one that matches the political attitudes of Seattle, almost unanimously the most progressive city in America. Kaepernick’s politics would be welcomed there. Kshama Sawant, a highly criticized and controversial member of the Seattle City Council, has already penned a letter to Pete Carroll and owner Paul Allen, encouraging them to sign Kaepernick.
“In Seattle, we know our communities will only benefit from his activism as well as his talents on the field,” Sawant wrote.
Whether Carroll and Allen agree with Sawant remains to be seen. But one thing is already settled: the city and team would welcome him with open arms.