CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Hue Jackson might have been interested in former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a draft prospect or even last year.
But that interest has faded – at least for now.
Speaking at the AFC coaches breakfast in Phoenix, Arizona during the NFL owners meetings Tuesday morning, Jackson didn’t rule out the possibility of bringing in Kaepernick, but they haven’t reached that point.
“We haven’t really discussed Colin,” Jackson told reporters via NFL Network. “There’s other players at this point that we’ve really had a lot of conversation about to see if we could put on our team. [I’m] Not saying that it won’t come up later on, I mean I think you have to exhaust everything you’re doing, but at this point he hasn’t come up.
Translation: the Browns have other plans for the immediate future and if they don’t work out, then maybe they’ll take a look at Kaepernick despite Jackson’s previous interest in him.
“When I was in Oakland, I did,” Jackson said. “There’s no question and I’m not saying that I don’t now. I just think the situation we’re in right now, the players we’ve evaluated thus far to this point, those are the guys that we’re really going to spend our time with first and foremost and then if that doesn’t fall right we know there’s other players to still evaluate.”
Kaepernick made headlines last year for kneeling during the national anthem in protest of the shooting deaths of unarmed African-Americans by police across the country. His protest drew criticism and anger from those who felt he was disrespecting the flag and country.
Because he remains unsigned, there are those that have suggested that it is because of his protest and not because of a legitimate evaluation of his football talent.
On Monday, Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam told reporters that they would not stand in the way of signing Kaepernick should the football operations department want to do so.
“Right now that’s premature to discuss just because we haven’t come up that way,” Jackson said. “I think if we do go down that road, we’ll have to discuss all of those variables as we go through it but that hasn’t been part of our thought process right now.”
The Browns have started 26 quarterbacks since 1999 – including 3 last season alone – and the search for a solution remains a work in progress for the franchise.
“My conversations with Sashi are, ‘How can we continue to get the [quarterback] room better?’ And until we have the guy that we feel comfortable with that will be the face of our franchise, we’re going to keep searching,” Jackson said. “It doesn’t always mean that you’re going to get it. We’re going to keep on trying until we we can get that guy but if we can’t then we have to continue to coach the guys that we have.
“There’s all kinds of ways we can do this, we all know. There’s the draft that’s coming up, there’s trade opportunities hopefully. I think we’ll exhaust every opportunity as we move forward.”