Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll says that he regret not signing free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick back in 2017 while speaking with reporters during a conference all on Thursday, according to ESPN’s Brady Henderson.
Carroll also denied that a second meeting with the quarterback was scuttled in 2018 because the team was uncertain about Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem.
Additionally, the coach said that he received a phone call earlier that day from another NFL team asking him about Kaepernick, which Carroll says did not happen until now.
“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 it wasn’t the right fit is because I held him in such a high regard I didn’t see him as a backup quarterback and I didn’t want to put him in that situation with Russ. It just didn’t feel like it would fit right. That’s the way I felt about it. So I just wish it would happen, and I wish we would have been a part of it when the time was available then. We’re kind of set up right now, so football-wise, it doesn’t seem to fit us like I said. But there’s a lot of time here. We’ll see what happens.”
Carroll said it’s clear now that Kaepernick was “right on point” with what he was protesting when he was kneeling during the national anthem.
Carroll also talked about conversations he had with Kaepernick, who was then still a member of the division rival San Francisco 49ers, during the 2016 season, when the signal caller was seeking “advice about where he would go next.”:
“We had great meetings,” Carroll said. “I don’t know if I had ever explained it in as much depth, but we spent half a day together and he spent time with our people throughout the building and almost a full day, and he was awesome. He just backed up even more of the play that we had seen and the character and his smarts and his togetherness and his competitiveness to the point where it was so obvious that he’s a starter in the NFL. That’s what I think I eventually wound up … saying to you guys, that he was a dominant figure as a football player and that’s how we saw him.
“The fact that it didn’t work out for us, I figured he was going to wind up starting somewhere for sure, and it just didn’t happen. So the rest of that story is one that I regret that that didn’t happen in some fashion. I wish we would have contributed to it because the guy deserved to play. I thought at the time, just our situation, as a backup, man, I didn’t feel it was right at that time. So I had to make that football decision. It was about our team and the situation. We had our starting quarterback and all of that, and it wasn’t going to be the open competitive situation that I like to think all of our spots are because Russ was such a dominant figure and all that.”
Carroll then shifted to the Seahawks current quarterback room, where they just re-signed backup quarterback Geno Smith. With Smith staying in the fold, it is very unlikely there is a fit for Kaepernick in Seattle.
“I like our setup right now,” Carroll said.
“I love the way Geno fits together in our role and all that, so it’s not really available at this time for us. But I wouldn’t hesitate — I’ve said this ongoing for years — if Russ ever got tangled up and couldn’t play or something, Kap would have been an extraordinary candidate to take over because of the dynamics of his play. We’ve always really cherished the unique qualities that players bring, and he had a unique style that we couldn’t [have] respected more. But as the backup, I hope he’s going to get a chance to do that because really he deserves to be playing.”
Kaepernick’s name coming up in conversation in NFL circles is a good thing for his career, and at least shows that teams are considering kicking the tires on the former 49er.
“After all of the time, the years that have passed, I never received a phone call about it,” Carroll said. “I never talked to another head coach about it. I never talked to anyone about it until today. I got a phone call today. I won’t tell you who it was but I got a phone call today asking inquiring about the situation, so I know somebody is interested. So we’ll see what happens with that.”
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