Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden weighed in on the fact that national anthem protest inventor Colin Kaepernick, is still unsigned by any NFL team.
Gruden said he is “surprised” Kaepernick is not signed and said he “probably will be” sooner or later.
Gruden spoke out at the coaches breakfast at the NFL owners meetings and hinted that he thinks there is some behind the scenes scheming to keep Kaepernick off the field after he spent the entirety of the 2016 football season protesting against the United States by taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem, according to Sports Illustrated.
“I think there’s a lot of intrigue there,” Gruden said somewhat cryptically. “His performance on the field wasn’t very good, on tape. I think, Robert Griffin, a rookie of the year, surprised he’s out there. Tim Tebow takes a team to the playoffs, there’s some surprise that he never came back. You know, Johnny Manziel, he’s out there.”
But Gruden went on to say he thinks whatever “intrigue” is out there may die down soon enough and Kaepernick will be back in a locker room somewhere.
“Back to Kaepernick,” Gruden said, “he got beat out by [Blaine] Gabbert, to start the  season. I think that says something. (But) I am surprised he’s not in camp with somebody. He probably will be soon.”
In the meantime, Kaepernick is still pursuing a grievance case against the NFL claiming that the owners are “colluding” to keep him out of football. He filed the case through the players union last October.
It seems unlikely that any owner or coach would want to give Kaepernick a workout if he is in the middle of filing cases against the league.
Kaepernick’s protests spread like wildfire across the league and by 2017 every team had some players who joined the demonstrations. The protests were widely believed to have contributed to the nearly 10 percent drop in the NFL’s TV ratings and caused the league to pledge to spend $89 million on social justice causes to try and get the players to stop the ratings-killing protests.
But Kapernick was not around to see his protests grow as after he turned free agent at the end of the 2016 season, no team has given him a shot since.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.