Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick almost returned to the gridiron this year, just not in the National Football League. The 31 year old was approached by the Alliance of American Football (AAF) and its CEO Charlie Ebersol about a possible return according to The Athletic.
Kaepernick became the subject of controversy when he began taking a knee during the national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality and racial injustice. It became a polarizing issue as some approved of the action, while others expressed displeasure.
The AAF is a new spring league consisting of eight centrally owned and operated football teams. It was founded by former Indianapolis Colts general manager Bill Polian and The Ebersol Family. The league began its inaugural season last weekend with all eight teams seeing action.
The new league offers an alternative for fans and a chance for players to get in front of a national audience and potentially impress coaches at the next level. Former collegiate standouts like Trent Richardson, Jalin Marshall, and Garrett Graham are just some of the players you will see competing.
Unfortunately it doesn't look like Kaepernick will join the league as negotiations didn't go according to plan. AAF co-founder Bill Polian didn't offer much information during an interview with The Athletic.
"I don't know what transpired, but he's obviously not playing," he said.
The Associated Press reports the former quarterback sought a contract in the neighborhood of $20 million. This far surpasses what traditional players make in the AAF with players earning a non-guaranteed $250,000 contract, but could earn more if performance goals are reached.
The Milwaukee, Wisconsin, native had a productive NFL career, throwing for over 12,000 yards and 72 touchdowns during his six season in the Bay Area.
He hasn't been on an NFL roster since 2017 and is in a continuing legal battle against the league, claiming collusion between owners in an effort to prevent him from being signed to a club.