Voormalig NFL-speler Colin Kaepernick hoopt via een brief een plek in het trainingsteam van New York Jets te krijgen. De quarterback zit al zeven jaar zonder club, nadat hij na aanhoudende kritiek zijn contract liet ontbinden bij de San Francisco 49ers.
In 2016 was Kaepernick de eerste sporter die knielde bij het Amerikaanse volkslied. Dat zorgde destijds voor woede bij president Donald Trump, die eiste dat knielende spelers ontslagen moesten worden, omdat hij het respectloos vond. Later, na de dood van George Floyd in 2020, volgden veel sporters met het stille protest tegen racisme.
Kaepernick koos uiteindelijk eieren voor zijn geld, maar daarna is hij nooit meer ergens aan de bak gekomen. Nu hoopt de inmiddels 35-jarige quarterback op een plekje in de selectie bij de Jets, omdat bij die club de ervaren Aaron Rodgers geblesseerd is geraakt. "Ik zou vereerd en zeer dankbaar zijn voor de kans om het trainingsteam te komen leiden. Ik zou dit doen met als enige missie om jullie verdediging elke week klaar te stomen", zo schrijft hij in de brief, gericht aan New York Jets-directeur Joe Douglas.
Ondanks dat Kaepernick al zeven jaar geen wedstrijden meer heeft gespeeld, is hij nog altijd fit, zo beweert hij. "Ik ben nooit met pensioen gegaan of gestopt met trainen. Mijn trainingsschema is al zes jaar hetzelfde en heb ik zonder falen volgehouden."
Lees hieronder de volledige brief van Kaepernick:
I hope this letter finds you in great spirits, despite the less-than-ideal start to a big season,” he said in the letter. “I’m wishing you, your staff, and the players a great game this weekend as you look to bounce back.
I’m writing, of course, in response to the unfortunate loss of Aaron Rodgers. I know the aspirations this season were, and still are, to win a championship, and so that Hall of Fame sized hole will need to be filled as best as possible to keep the team on a Super Bowl track. As of right now, Zach Wilson is charged with that task, and I wish him and the rest of the team the best moving forward.
However, I know that there are currently depth issues at the position, and I’ve heard that the back-up spot is likely to be filled by a veteran Quarterback. As much as I would love the opportunity to fill that spot, I’m writing you in hopes that you can imagine a much different approach involving me; I would be honored and extremely grateful for the opportunity to come in and lead the practice squad. I would do this with the sole mission of getting your defense ready each week. If I were able to fill this role for the team, I believe this allows for multiple things.
1. It gives your Defense the advantage of getting a truer read on the more mobile/athletic/versatile quarterbacks it will face when in weeks 4, 5 and 6 (Mahomes, Wilson, and Hurts). I would consider it a privilege to be able to do this and would take on this responsibility with the dedication and passion as if it were the QB1 position.
2. This would also allow you guys as an organization to take a real look at where I’m at football wise, in game-like situations against an elite defense, while also not putting any competitive pressure on Zach. I understand the importance of keeping him confident and focused as QB1, and I would only look to boost that confidence in any interactions that we may have if I was given this role within the team.
In a perfect world for the Jets, Zach Wilson finds his stride and shows that he is able to lead this championship caliber team that you’ve put together to the Super Bowl. I believe a confident Zach Wilson has the tools to do this. However, in the event that this is not the case, I would love to offer you a risk-free contingency plan.
I am sure of my ability to provide you with an elite QB option if, God forbid, QB1 goes down. However, I know that there may naturally be uncertainties from you and possibly from others about my playing abilities. This plan, I believe, allows me to be of great service to the team as a practice squad QB, while also giving you a low-commitment chance to assess my capabilities to help in any other capacity you may see fit.
Worst case scenario, you see what I have to offer and you’re not that impressed. Best case scenario, you realize you have a real weapon at your disposal in the event you ever need to use it. In either of these scenarios, I would be committed to getting your defense ready week in and week out, all season long, and I would wear that responsibility like a badge of honor.
As a final point, I would like to add this. Unlike many of the veteran QB’s that have been named in the media, I’ve never retired or stopped training. My training schedule has remained the same for 6 years; Monday through Friday, 5am-8am training on the field and in the weight room. I’ve kept this training schedule without failure for the past 6 years, in hopes that an opportunity will present itself. I say this to give you some perspective on where I’m at physically.
I have also attached a list of my references within the league that will vouch for my character, work ethic and ability.
Thanks so much for your time.