Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll revisited the team’s history with Colin Kaepernick on Thursday and expressed regret for not signing Kaepernick when given the opportunity.
Seattle brought Kaepernick in for a workout during the 2017 offseason and had another visit a year later canceled. At that time, Carroll said Seattle chose not to bring Kaepernick aboard because he was viewed as a starter, not a backup.
Carroll is reiterating that stance but says that in hindsight, he wishes he would have given Kaepernick a shot even if it meant a potentially awkward role as Russell Wilson's backup. Carroll indicated that he believed Seattle passing on Kaepernick gave him a shot to be a starter elsewhere.
“I regret that we weren’t the one way back when that just did it, just to do it even though I thought that it wasn’t the right fit necessarily for us at the time,” Carroll said. “The reason that wasn’t the right fit is because I held him in such high regard I didn’t see him as a backup quarterback and I didn’t want to put him in that situation with Russ. And it just didn’t feel like the fit right so that’s the way I felt about it.
“I just wish it would happen. I wish we would have been a part of it when the time was available then.”
Seattle is believed to be the only team to have brought Kaepernick in for meetings and a workout since he last played in the league in 2016.
Carroll said the first call he received from another team about his conversations with Kaepernick happened earlier Thursday.
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“After all of the time, the years that have passed, I never received a phone call, I never talked to another head coach about it, never talked to anybody about it until today. I got a phone call today,” Carroll said. “I’m not going to tell you who it was. I got a phone call today asking and inquiring about the situation. So somebody’s interested, you know, and we’ll see what happens with that.”
Kaepernick’s kneeling protests have come back into the forefront following the death in police custody of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd’s death has sparked protests worldwide focused on racism and police brutality, issues Kaepernick was trying to highlight when he knelt during the national anthem four years ago.
Carroll praised Kaepernick for his willingness to speak out and draw attention to the topics being discussed now.
“He was right on the subject matter at the time,” Carroll said. “That’s so obvious now, where maybe all of the flack that flew about not honoring the flag, and all those other things that were not even a part of the demonstration, or what his intent was at all, skewed the whole discussion. I don’t think that’s around now. It’s different in this time frame.”
Carroll said he’s welcomed the deep conversations that have taken place during team meetings in the wake of the protests. Players have been open about sharing their experiences, listening to others, and he believes that will lead to a more cohesive locker room.
“This is a growing experience for all of them. It will enhance their entire perspective of the world and I think that all adds to them being better with what they’re focusing on,” Carroll said.
NOTES: Carroll said new CB Quinton Dunbar took a few days away from the team following his arrest in Florida on armed robbery charges but has been part of the team’s virtual meetings for the past few weeks. Carroll declined to discuss details of his conversations with Dunbar. “We’ve been very open in the discussions of what’s taking place. There’s a whole process going on,” Carroll said.