BY Art Thiel 03:38PM 05/16/2017

Kap training hard; Bennett sees a Seahawks fit

DE Michael Bennett sees QB Colin Kaepernick’s social activism as an asset in Seahawks locker room; meanwhile, in New York, trainer says his five-day-a-week regimen has Kap up to 230 pounds.

As 49ers QB, Kaepernick was 1-7 against the Seahawks and LB Bobby Wagner. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

Since he defended Colin Kaepernick’s outspokenness last season when he was employed by a rival, it was no surprise Tuesday when DE Michael Bennett supported the idea of hiring the free agent, at least from the standpoint of a locker-room fit.

Bennett wasn’t playing general manager, nor was there further news on whether Kaepernick and the Seahawks have had talk about coming to Seattle as a minimum-pay backup to QB Russell Wilson.

Bennett told ESPN 710 radio Tuesday that he foresaw no issues with Kaepernick’s social activism, since he and several veterans already doing some similar things.

“A person that’s dedicating their life to creating change, why wouldn’t you want that type of leadership in your locker room?” he said. “Why wouldn’t you want to give (a chance to) a person that’s dealt with issues, dealt with people calling him wanting to kill him, because of his choices in life? So I don’t know why people feel like that is a problem.”

The decision of the former 49ers star to kneel during the pre-game national anthem to protest racial injustice and a spate of deaths of unarmed African-American men at the hands of police, made him a figure of national controversy that extended beyond sports.

Numerous high school football programs nationwide, including Seattle’s Garfield High School, made similar gestures in support of Kaepernick’s stand. But ESPN reported March 1, a week ahead of NFL free agency, that Kaepernick let it be known that he would not continue the kneel-down. That too drew criticism over apparent hypocrisy.

Kaepernick made the cover of Time magazine. / Time

He started 11 games last season for the 2-14 Niners. His quarterback rating of 90.7 was 17th in the NFL, and he emerged from the season uninjured. Since then, he reportedly has gone off his vegan diet and is in heavy training.

SI.com’s Peter King posted a transcript Tuesday after interviewing Kaepernick’s trainer, Josh Hidalgo, at a gym in New York City:

I would just ask any team wondering anything about Colin: Come and see him. Come to the gym. Talk to him. They’ll see he’s in as good shape as a quarterback can be in. He’s ready to lead a team.
Colin has been there since January, training with me five days a week. We have been getting ready for football as if he was a starting quarterback for an NFL team. When I read that people don’t know if Colin wants to play football . . .  this guy’s been doing it five hours a day, five days a week, like he has a starting NFL job. And we don’t take days off.
“This isn’t a normal off-season, obviously. We are leaving no stone unturned. Working out, sleeping, eating, massages, getting ready to do it again the next day. Colin is not a guy at the clubs . . . he is in the gym. We knew any chink in the armor was going to be dissected, so there are no chinks in the armor. We knew this was the be-all, end-all for us.
Colin came in around 220 pounds; he lost all that weight last year because he was recovering from three surgeries. And now he’s 230, a solid 230, and he’s eating perfectly. He is putting extremely clean nutrients in his body.”

Monday, NFL.com’s Mike Silver reported that GM John Schneider made contact with Kaepernick’s agent the previous Friday.  On ESPN 710 Monday, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll answered a question by saying the Seahawks were looking at all available backup quarterbacks, but mentioned none by name.

Trevone Boykin, a rookie last year who played little, is the incumbent backup. But he was a passenger in a vehicle that injured seven people outside a bar in Dallas. He was charged with public intoxication and possession of marijuana. Both charges are misdemeanors, but are apparently a probation violation from an earlier episode in San Antonio when he struck a police officer. The Dallas situation is still pending.

Bennett said the Seahawks were the right place for Kaepernick — if he’s willing to accept far less play and pay.

“I think Kaepernick getting an opportunity to be on our team would be really cool, really a good space for him,” Bennett said, “because you have a coach like Coach Carroll, who’s up for challenges like that. You have an owner (Paul Allen) who understands and gives to homeless. You’ve got players on your team that give back in the community. You’ve got Russell Wilson, who shows our team is built around community. So this is a perfect place for him.

“We all talk about the same issues. It’s just that he had the courage to be able to step up.”

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio Tuesday speculated that the Seahawks’ alleged interest was something the NFL, sensitive to the claims by many that Kaepernick was being blacklisted, “wants it out there that someone/anyone is talking to Kaepernick about a job.”

He cited a quote from Carroll in March at the owners’ meeting in Phoenix that didn’t sound like Kaepernick was a fit.

“Well, we’ll see,” Carroll said then. “We’ll see about the quarterback position. Colin has been an effective player, and he’s had some ups and downs in his playing career. I hope he finds a spot. I don’t know if it’s going to be with us.”

It’s also possible that Kaepernick will decide to pass on any interest by Seattle for now and wait until the inevitable injuries occur in training camp and preseason that would open up a starting QB job.

It is harder to imagine the Seahawks wanting to do the NFL a PR favor than it is to see the Seahawks fearing another Wilson injury that would force the use of an inexperienced backup — especially one whose off-field troubles may keep him off the field.

 


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YourThoughts

  • 1coolguy

    The Hawks do not need yet another off the field issue maker and Kap is prone to be such. How many guys does the owner need to read about in the paper? It would seem Sherm and Bennett fill that role, with however many more ready to chip in.
    it’s about football and Kap brings many more things out side of football with him – what organization needs that?

    • John M

      I was dubious about Kap fitting here, but if Mike B and Art want him I’ll acquiesce, though as the article suggested Kap may drag his feet now in hopes for a chance to start . ..

      • art thiel

        It’s good to hear, John, that there remain people open-minded enough to change some thinking upon presentation of reasons. I thought that may have gone out of fashion.

        • John M

          I have some reasonable moments, and there’s no arguing Kap’s probably the best value available . . .

    • tor5

      I appreciate this perspective to a degree, but would respectfully disagree. I’m not necessarily a fan of the kneeling, but it was a social/political protest bigger than Kap himself. He did it for a belief, and had to pay a huge price in reputation and salary. Don’t conflate this with Sherm’s attacks on the coaching staff, or other goofballs crashing cars or sending out misogynist tweets. Kap’s actions are kind of the opposite of that. Actually, I’m not aware of any off-field issues with Kap.

      • art thiel

        Good perspective, tor. Each guy is a different case. It’s unwise to lump players together. But it’s fair to say Carroll’s openness to individuality is a great recruiting tool. And he’s willing to invest time in each guy. I think Kap would flourish under a wise hand.

    • art thiel

      If I had to guess, Kap has learned some lessons that he is unlikely to repeat. He’s unlikely to change his beliefs, but I suspect his methods would be different. It’s a risk, sure, but so was trading for Lynch. I think Beast was way more of a load on the staff than Kap would be.

  • jafabian

    I’d be surprised if he comes here. He was paid $19 million last year and I doubt the club would make any sort of comparable offer for a backup QB. That would be a big drop off in salary for Kap. With players like Bennett and Sherman, and to an extent Wilson among others, who can be a distraction themselves to the team. Why add to that? IIRC, Ryan Fitzpatrick is available. He’s starter material but mature enough to know his role.

    • art thiel

      As I wrote the day before, he’s eligible for the 7-year vet minimum of $900K. The Seahawks might go to $1.5M, but that’s it. As I wrote here, Kap may choose to wait out the inevitable preseason injuries rather than sign with SEA. On the other hand, if he has a low-controversy year and shows he can play, he might be in for a free agent payday in a year.

      As far as distractions, this team self-generates and self-policies.

      Fitzpatrick is 34 and the complete opposite in playing style from Wilson.

  • DB

    Ok, how about some conspiratorial BS? Kap didn’t kneel during the first game and didn’t site any protest until has was criticized for just sitting on the bench during the anthem. Then, after getting called out for being on the bench, came the protest, which was actually pretty vague initially, followed by the kneeling next game. Please correct me if these appear to be alternative facts. I admit to being cynical, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, but was I the only one who thought that maybe the ‘protest’ was simply a convenient excuse he came up with to justify what was actually just poor behavior? I do think he believes what he said his protest was about, and I respect that, but I do wonder if that was really the intent to begin with.

    • art thiel

      I think if you read the initial reporting, Kap called no attention to himself sitting on the bench the first time. Only when a reporter spotted spotted him in the second game did it become public. But he spoke up about the social issues then and now.

      So your first remark was right — conspiratorial BS.

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    • Stephen Pitell

      On the other hand, when it became perceived that Kap’s sitting on the bench was “disrespectful” of the flag, Kap was man enough to alter his style enough to incorporate kneeling as a way to be more respectful. I agree that this becoming much more than he was prepared for originally opened his eyes to a lot, and spurred on his education on the issue he took on. That’s normal for young people.

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  • Stephen Pitell

    Both propositions could be true regarding Kaep – that Seattle is doing the league a favor AND is seriously considering the possibility of signing Kaep.

    Bennett is wise beyond his age. Or his wife is, LOL. Though, he speaks too well off the cuff for it to ALL be his wife’s doing. My misogyny aside, I see more and more empathy for Bennett and his social commentary. He’s putting his money where his mouth is, and he is giving his TIME to real acts of LOVE. We as a community are lucky to have this proud black man on our team. And there are others…..amazingly, lots of others on this team.

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