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NFL insider floats Colin Kaepernick’s potential return as Jim Harbaugh takes Chargers job

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Jim Harbaugh agreed to become the Los Angeles Chargers head coach on Wednesday, and while it brings about many questions about the future of the team, an interesting question about his coaching staff arose.

NFL insider Mike Florio wondered whether Colin Kaepernick could join Harbaugh’s coaching staff in Los Angeles. Florio pointed to the pair’s history with each other with the San Francisco 49ers and Kaepernick’s 2022 appearance during the Wolverines’ spring game.

Harbaugh also considered bringing Kaepernick onto his staff as the quarterbacks coach if he got the Minnesota Vikings head coaching job, according to Pro Football Talk in April 2022. It involved the free-agent quarterback abandoning his pursuit of returning to the NFL as a player.

Kaepernick recently endorsed his former coach before he decided to take the Chargers job.

“Harbaugh is the one coach you call when you want to compete for a championship. Period,” he told USA Today.

In 2020, Harbaugh told The Athletic it was “absurd” Kaepernick did not have a job.


Colin Kaepernick signs autographs
Colin Kaepernick and Jim Harbaugh

“I love Colin, did then, do now, always will,” Harbaugh said. “I hope he gets a shot. I hope that he has a chance to play again and that he does play. Just my personal view on it.”

Kaepernick has maintained that he stays ready if an NFL team does come calling. It is unclear whether he would want to become a coach in the league.

He played under Harbaugh from 2011 to 2014. The two got to two NFC Championships and won one. The team nearly defeated the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII. He sought to join the New York Jets earlier in the 2023 season after Aaron Rodgers went down with an Achilles injury.

Kaepernick has not played since the 2016 season. His final appearance came on Jan. 1, 2017 against the Seattle Seahawks. He finished the year with 2,241 passing yards, 16 touchdown passes and four interceptions. The 49ers were 1-10 in 11 Kaepernick starts.

Since then, Kaepernick has been at the forefront of social activism, calling for the abolishment of the police and prisons as well as likening the NFL Draft to a slave auction. He accused NFL owners of blackballing him from the league, and after the two sides settled, his two tryouts in front of scouts failed to yield a contract with a team.

He also told NPR in May he has not seen any “substantial change” in the NFL when it comes to the league addressing social injustice.

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