Colin Kaepernick may not need a haircut after all.
As NFL training camps open, the Ravens have emerged as a logical landing spot for the polarizing quarterback following comments made Thursday by Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh.
Harbaugh told reporters he’s been in contact with Kaepernick throughout the summer and there is interest in making him a Raven, fueling speculation that the wait might be over. Many players believe Kaepernick, who has been without a contract since he opted out of his 49ers deal in March, is being blackballed for protesting the national anthem last season as a way to bring attention to racial injustice.
Amid news they may be without starter Joe Flacco for an extended period, the Ravens have emerged as the most logical spot for Kaepernick. According to reports, Flacco, 32, could miss 3-6 weeks this year with a back injury. Baltimore’s other QBs are Ryan Mallett and Dustin Vaughan.
As recently as last week, former QB Mike Vick advised Kaepernick to cut his hair and try to repair his image if he was serious about playing in the NFL again. With the Ravens in search of a QB, it appears Kaepernick might just be able to get a job with his hair — and his identity — intact.
“I’ve known Colin through my brother for many years,” Harbaugh said. “And we talked and then got to know him very well when he scrimmaged here. He and I have been talking throughout the summer a number of times. We had some great conversations on the phone and it’s really been a pleasure to talk to him and get to know him.
“I like history and politics, too, and we’ve had some debates, and it’s been fun. He’s a guy right now that’s being talked about. We’ll just see what happens with that. Only speculation right now. He’s a really good football player and like I said, I do believe he’ll be playing in the National Football League this year.”
Harbaugh’s brother and current Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh coached Kaepernick for four years in San Francisco.
John Harbaugh said earlier this year, “It’s intellectually lazy” to say Kaepernick is being blackballed. He has spoken favorably about Kaepernick for months.
“I absolutely think he’s going to get signed,” Harbaugh said in March. “He’ll probably be starting somewhere next year at some point in time during the season.”
Jim Harbaugh has also been a vocal Kaepernick supporter.
“I think he’s an outstanding player and I think he’s a great competitor who has proven it in games and has the ability to be not only an NFL starter but a great NFL player,” Jim Harbaugh told PFT Live earlier this year. “He’ll have a great career and be a great quarterback, win championships.”
There is yet another layer of familiarity with Greg Roman, the Ravens’ senior offensive assistant and tight ends coach who worked with Kaepernick when he was among the most dangerous quarterbacks in the league and guided the 49ers to the Super Bowl.
Kaepernick’s anthem protest ranked as the No. 1 reason fans watched fewer games last season at 26%, according to a new survey released by J.D. Power, beating out off-the-field issues such as domestic violence (24%).