By: Patrik Walker | CBS Sports
November 20, 2019
Things didn't go as planned for the NFL and Colin Kaepernick in Atlanta, after the league reached out to the quarterback and teams to organize a formal workout so he could put his talents on display. It's been nearly three calendar years since Kaepernick has taken an NFL snap, and his feels his absence is due to collusion by NFL owners due to his silent protest for civil rights during the performance of the national anthem -- leading to a lawsuit that was eventually settled out of court by the league.
Initially mulling the possibility of attending Kaepernick's workout at the Atlanta Falcons practice facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia, owner Jerry Jones made the decision none of his personnel would be sent, but that they would instead "watch the tape" from the workout if they found themselves "in need" of help at the quarterback position. As the witching hour approached for 24 other clubs committed to sending a scout to evaluate Kaepernick, things went horribly awry, with Kaepernick changing the location of his workout due to disagreements on media permission and his unwillingness to sign a waiver that reportedly was far from standard.
In the end, the workout was held at a local high school an hour away -- reset to the new location less than an hour before the original scheduled start time in Flowery Branch -- leading reps from only eight teams showing, and former Cleveland Browns coach Hue Jackson, who was set to lead the workout, walking away from it altogether.
When asked by 105.3FM the Fan on Tuesday if he felt the end result was a "circus," Jones was unequivocal.
"I think so," he said. "... That situation from the get-go probably had a lot more that wasn't about football involved in it, and consequently we got the results of that dynamic."
That explains one reason the Cowboys never committed to showing in the first place, but Jones says there's a more prominent one, and it's based on their current depth chart.
"We aren't in the QB business," he made clear, before doubling down on his feelings about the workout being more about politics than actual need from respective teams. "I think it's unfortunate that you can't just zero in on the business at hand, and that is evaluating a player that might or might not help you win a football game or move the chains within a football game."
Many will cite a third, more poignant, reason Jones is and has continued to be ironclad on his disinterest in Kaepernick.
It's well known the Cowboys have an edict regarding the national anthem, in that all players must "toe the line" during its performance, as required by Jones. Many forget, but Jones was also one of the first owners deposed in Kaepernick's collusion lawsuit, the Cowboys well-pronounced anthem rule helping to fuel the subpoena, and it's justifiably assumed there's still a thorn present from that situation.
"I'm not interested in him as a quarterback with the Cowboys," Jones said in Oct. 2017 of Kaepernick's chances in Dallas.
It's as true now as it was then.
Michael Bennett, a player who's been known to demonstrate silently during the anthem, has taken to standing in his short time with the Cowboys -- stating the change is not due to his view on social injustices. Bennett says he's standing because, simply put, his teammates are asking him too. Just because Bennett is honoring the request doesn't mean Kaepernick would, and that inherently wouldn't sit well with Jones, who can thank the MVP-caliber play of Dak Prescott for the absence of a pressing need at the QB position -- which would lead to justifiable questions as to why he'd continue to ignore Kaepernick.
"We are rewarded [Prescott] is having the type of year he has had," Jones said. "He has risen to the occasion. For a lot of reasons it is good for him to have the year he is having."
As for his belief in backup Cooper Rush? Well, Jones simply doesn't feel Kaepernick is an upgrade.
"We believe we are in great shape relative to our position," he noted. "We are fortunate right now our quarterbacking is real good."