Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid, one of Colin Kaepernick's best friends, said Wednesday he isn't sure what to make of Kaepernick's impending workout for NFL teams.
"If it's a real process, I'm excited," Reid said. "The strange thing is that it's on a Saturday and it remains to be seen who is going to be able to make that workout, being that it's a day before a game, but we'll see what happens.
Should the Carolina Panthers sign Colin Kaepernick
"I spoke to him last night. He had the same concerns that I just mentioned, wondering why it's a Saturday. But he's ready. He's been training like I've been telling y'all ever since I got here. For three years now he's been training, so he's ready."
The NFL informed clubs Tuesday that it would hold a private workout for the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback this Saturday in Atlanta. Specific details about workout are still outstanding, but all teams have been invited to attend. There will be on-field and interview portions of the workout, each of which will reportedly be made available to teams.
Kaepernick, who kneeled during the national anthem to protest social injustice and racial inequality during his time in San Francisco, was released by the 49ers following the 2016 season. He has not played in the NFL since.
As for whether the Panthers will be in attendance Saturday? Coach Ron Rivera declined to comment, noting it was a personnel decision that needed to be asked to general manager Marty Hurney.
For his part, Reid said he spoke to team owner David Tepper about Kaepernick last week when the team placed starting quarterback Cam Newton on injured reserve.
"I spoke to David Tepper last week when Cam was put on IR. He communicated to me that they weren't looking to add a veteran quarterback, but if they were, they'd be interested. So we'll see if they'll send somebody to be there," Reid said. "(Tepper) said that if they were looking to add a veteran quarterback, that he would be evaluated.
"I told him I'd hold him to that."
Reid played with Kaepernick in San Francisco and was the first player to kneel alongside him to also protest social injustices. After Reid, a Pro Bowler as a rookie, saw his contract with the 49ers expire, he struggled to find work until the Panthers signed him after Week 2 last season.
He and Kaepernick then filed a collusion grievance against the NFL, alleging that the league and its 32 team owners -- influenced by President Donald Trump's inflammatory remarks about kneeling players -- colluded to prevent the pair's employment.
Reid and Kaepernick reached a confidential settlement with the NFL in February.
In the year since Reid first signed with Carolina, he has continued to be an outspoken advocate for Kaepernick.
Asked if this workout signified progress, Reid said: "I'll quote Malcolm X: If you stick a knife nine inches in my back and pull it out six, it's not progress; it's still a knife in my back."
Reid said he was "speechless" when he first heard about the workout, but that he's still skeptical about the legitimacy of the NFL's efforts. To his knowledge, Reid said that Kaepernick only was informed Tuesday morning that the NFL would hold the workout and that the quarterback was given 2-3 hours to accept the NFL's offer. He also said when Kaepernick's team responded and asked if the workout could be moved away from Saturday, when NFL teams and executives will be traveling for Sunday's game, they were told "it's Saturday or no-go."
"At this point, I'll believe it when I see it. At this point, it feels like a PR stunt," Reid said about the workout. "Being that it's on a Saturday, what decision makers are going to be able to attend that workout? The other strange thing is, I saw it was reported that teams were interested in Colin, but they reached out to the league about it? That's strange."
Reid also said he found it unusual that potentially interested teams had reached out to the NFL before reaching out to Kaepernick or his agents.
"As far as I know, if you're a free agent and a team is interested in you, they call you or your agent," Reid said. "I think it's unprecedented to have an event like this for a player, basically a combine for a single player. The other thing that is strange -- there's that 'C' word that y'all can probably think that I'm thinking of -- that when a team is interested, but they reach out to the league for approval."
More than half of the NFL's 32 teams, including the Panthers, have already started multiple quarterbacks this season. In Kaepernick's final season, he threw for 2,241 yards and 16 touchdowns in 12 games, compared to just four interceptions. He also ran for 468 yards and two more scores in 2016.
Reid said that Kaepernick still has a rocket for an arm, the height to see over defenses and a valuable sense of mobility.
"He was Lamar Jackson before Lamar Jackson," Reid said. "He can still throw the ball."
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